Distribution and use of electricity throughout the home. Electrical standards vary greatly worldwide, so providing your location in your question or your profile helps ensure you get answers that are relevant to you.

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6
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it okay to run a switched and unswitched hot on the same neutral?

I have a room where I need to toggle the lights by a switch and the outlets in the room to not be affected by the switch. As they are on the same circuit, am I able to run a 3 wire cable from the ...
6
votes
1answer
525 views

Is it reasonable to create a 30amp branch circuit for the purpose of feeding the panel from a generator?

I recently purchased an 8kW generator (Briggs and Stratton). It has a 4-wire twist lock outlet that can handle 30 amps. Suppose I were to: Run a 10/3 NM cable from the panel in the basement out to ...
6
votes
2answers
985 views

Is there a name for a duplex outlet that takes eight wires, plus ground?

In my home (built around 1970), I found a bizarre outlet when replacing the dated old ones. The front is your standard duplex, but on the back there are holes for 8 wires (4 hot, 4 neutral) plus the ...
6
votes
4answers
19k views

Will an existing 10-3 w/ground electrical wire handle a 50 amp 220 volt welder?

I am wondering if my current electric service wiring can handle a welder. The welder documentation recommends a 50 amp breaker on a 220 v line. Currently I have a 60 amp breaker on a 220 line going ...
6
votes
1answer
7k views

Would there be a problem installing 20A switches on a 15A circuit?

I've installed 20A switches on 15A circuits before, namely on the circuit supplying my kitchen lights. It was primarily to take advantage of the side-clamp wiring available on these beefier switches ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

Can a mix of receptacles and light fixtures be installed on a single circuit?

A while ago we had some renovations done in our house. After the electrician was done, we realized we now had one light switch in our kitchen that was no longer connected to anything. It is in a ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is a ring main?

What is a ring main and why are they used in the UK but not elsewhere?
5
votes
0answers
144 views

Can I use metal masonry device (switch) boxes in a stud wall?

I am installing new wiring and need to place 5 lighting switches in one location (yes, I understand the problems/issues of confusion, etc.). These will all be 3-way switches, non-dimmable. I plan on ...
5
votes
4answers
277 views

What is the proper 'per code' method for running nonmetallic sheathed cable above a ceiling in the attic?

Can the wiring be run over the top of the ceiling joist, or must it be run through bored holes when running perpendicular to the joists? This is a non-habitable space, will have an attic entrance ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What does a surge protector do that a breaker doesn't?

The circuit breakers in my home are 120VAC, 15A or 20A breakers. What would a surge protector (e.g. this or a power strip with surge protection) do that a breaker wouldn't do already?
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Can I wire a refrigerator and dishwasher on the same circuit?

Can I wire a refrigerator and dishwasher on the same 20 amp circuit?
5
votes
1answer
4k views

What type of wire should I run when updating a ceiling fan?

I started to change out my ceiling fan and noticed the support brace is actually laying on the drywall and not firmly attached to a beam. I also noticed the new fan has a blue wire where the wiring in ...
5
votes
1answer
760 views

How can I plug my 3 prong dryer into a 4 prong receptacle?

My dryer blew up and there is no chance of repair — it was pretty old anyway. I found a used dryer and brought it home. Unfortunately, the cord don't match the receptacle. I Need to know if ...
5
votes
2answers
373 views

Why do my appliances show two sets of power consumption ratings and which one applies to my house?

Aptos, CA, USA I'm trying to determine how much power my electric oven is using (as part of a larger project to possibly upgrade our electrical service (with help from a licensed electrician of ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I connect a 120V washer to a 240V circuit?

So we got a new washing machine to go in a house built in the late 50s. When the appliance installer came to deliver the appliance, we ran into a snag with connecting the washer...the washer appears ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side?

Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side? If those non-GFCI downstream outlets were not fed from the GFCI ...
5
votes
5answers
29k views

Can different gauge wiring be used in the same circuit?

I am extending a lighting and outlet circuit in a basement. The current setup has the following characteristics 15 amp. circuit breaker (200 amp service) 4 existing lighting fixtures using CFL bulbs ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

How do I wire a duplex outlet from a switch/outlet combo?

The power comes first through a switch/outlet combo and I need to it take further down to a duplex outlet. The switch will control half the outlet and the other half will always be hot. This is ...
5
votes
1answer
644 views

Do I need to attach a wire fished through a ceiling?

I have a finished basement and am mounting a flat-screen TV on the wall and I want to put an electrical box behind the TV. The two existing outlets are both two joists over and each separated with a ...
5
votes
3answers
11k views

What is involved in installing a free-standing electric oven range?

My current oven just plugs into a big outlet in the wall. It's a giant three-pronged outlet. But all I need to do to get the oven to work (when it works) is to plug it into the outlet. I am now ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Risk from installing a “Nest” thermometer without shutting off home power?

I'm trying to install a new Nest-brand thermometer in my parents' house (unscrewing a thermometer from the wall and screwing on the new one. The first instruction in the manual is to shut off power ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Can I split the direct wire to dishwasher to handle a garbage disposal as well?

I've just plumbed in a new garbage disposal unit under my sink. The plumbing appears to be fine - nothing is leaking so far. Now I need to wire it in. It's next to a dishwasher, but the dish-washer ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it safe to install a sconce light box inside a return air space?

In my finished basement, the space between one section of studs is being used as a return air duct for my furnace and central air. Here is a picture, looking up from the vent at the floor level: ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Can re-closing a circuit-breaker be dangerous?

I have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. When i try to reset (close) it, it immediately jumps back to the open position with a noise that sounds a little scary. I have now stopped trying to do ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Parallel Fluorescent Wiring

I've got a few ceiling lighting 'boxes' that have one capacitor, two ballast, two starters, and two fluorescent lamps in each. Everything seems to be nicely wired up internally and I just need to ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I convert ceiling mounted octagon box to electrical receptacle?

I've installed a number of strip lights in my garage to replace the single incandescent fixture on the ceiling. They all use a 3-prong plug, not hardwired. I want to replace the incandescent fixture ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Should I bond a water softener's in/out pipes?

Our house was built in 1997. The pipes are copper (including the city water supply pipe). Some time after the house was built, the previous owners installed a water softener. The softener parts are ...
5
votes
1answer
14k views

Is it ok to wire light switches and lights with 12/2 cable?

It sounds like light switches and lights are usually wired with 14/2 cable. Is it okay to use 12/2 cable instead? Would I need special switches?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Are receptacle surge protectors a practical solution?

After mounting my television on the wall, I would like to put a receptacle behind it so the power cord will be hidden. While planning this I was trying to figure how to get a surge protector to be ...
4
votes
3answers
784 views

What should I do if my vacuum trips my AFCI device?

I have a vacuum that trips the AFCI device of the circuit that services my bedroom. The vacuum has some age on it, and there is some wear on the motor's commutator. This wear causes electrical ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Concerns about replacing a worn out light switch

Our home is about 3 years old. New construction. New parts. The main lights in the kitchen are a 4-way circuit (3 switches, + lights). Since we primarily come into the room from one side, one ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I connect to a short ground wire in a metal box?

I live in a 50's era house that has breakers and a ground wire in every metal box of the house. The problem is they only used 2 prong outlets. They cut the ground wire short and wrapped it around the ...
4
votes
4answers
11k views

Can I use indoor Romex in buried outdoor conduit?

Or should I use outdoor Romex? I heard that outdoor Romex doesn't need conduit as you are just supposed to bury it. Edit: Ack, I should have mentioned I have existing conduit that I want to pull the ...
4
votes
1answer
9k views

Is it okay to have an ungrounded light fixture?

I recently moved into an older home (built in 1968) and have been replacing some of the older light fixtures. We pulled down one of the lights and found that there is a ground running into the box but ...
4
votes
2answers
29k views

How do I extend outlets after installing a backsplash?

I have installed a back splash in my kitchen, if I use the plastic spacers how many should I use or is there a limit? I understand that this can cause to much air space around the receptacle or light ...
4
votes
4answers
11k views

Can I cover junction boxes in the attic with insulation?

This may be a duplicate of What are the codes for electrical wiring in attics? I have an attic which is accessible via a ladder through an access panel in the garage and in a bedroom. The trusses ...
4
votes
1answer
8k views

How to tell if a ceiling junction box is braced to hold the weight of a ceiling fan?

My new home is almost done being built, and one of the extras I asked for was for two of the rooms to have junction boxes in the ceiling suitable for hanging a ceiling fan in the future. The light ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I raise light switches so my kids can't keep toggling the light?

My flat at the moment has all the switches at about 1 meter off the floor. Naturally my growing kids are starting to toggle the lighting now that they are tall enough. Is it possible to raise the ...
4
votes
3answers
41k views

How do I connect a dryer with a four prong plug to a three prong socket?

I've just moved house and my clothes dryer has a four prong plug but on the wall there's a three prong socket. Do adapters exist for this? Or do I need to get a new cord for my dryer? Or is there ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Convert Light Switch to Light Switch + Outlet Combination

I have a serious lack of outlets in my garage and that is a problem for a beginner carpenter. I have a light switch by my workbench and was curious if I could change it to a combination outlet + ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is permissible for a breaker box cover?

We're doing some remodeling in our kitchen and unfortunately the breaker box is right in the middle of a wall we are going to cover with tile. My current thought is to replace the existing metal ...
4
votes
1answer
429 views

How should I wire up a yurt?

This yurt 30 ft. diameter; area is 700 sq. ft. ; circumference is 90 ft. The walls are lath lattice covered with canvas. There's no interior wall space to run Romex like a regular house. You can't ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What should I do with wires that are too large for back-stab terminals on a receptacles?

I am replacing all my electicial outlets and only one has wires that are too big to put into the back of the new outlet. Any suggestions?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I trace the cabling in a “Ring Main”

I have a "ring main" with many sockets on it, it is clear that it has been extended over the years. How do I trace the cabling to. Check that it is a single ring That only one socket is on each ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

Can you have a GFCI breaker protecting a GFCI receptacle?

We have electrical outlets in two bathrooms on the same GFCI breaker. I would like to put a GFCI outlet for the only outlet in the guest bathroom so it can be easily reset if tripped. Can this be ...
3
votes
2answers
461 views

How can I hang a ceiling fan on a cathedral ceiling without wiring or an electrial box?

How do I install a ceiling fan on a cathedral ceiling that has no wiring and electrical box? I don't really want to cut into ceiling drywall. I'm worried about support for the fan.
3
votes
1answer
387 views

When replacing non-grounding type receptacles is a GFCI receptacle required, or can any GFCI device be used?

Under the NEC (it was 210(7)(d)(3), but appears to have moved around some), it is permissible to replace an ungrounded receptacle with a GFCI receptacle, then wire further ungrounded or non-grounded ...
3
votes
5answers
296 views

Is this too many items on a 20 AMP Breaker?

I live in a 2 bedroom 2 bath duplex, where we have issue's with the light's flickering, often causing mini power surges, and at times kicking a breaker. One 20 ampere circuit supplies 3 ...
3
votes
3answers
763 views

Why would a circuit breaker not trip if I accidentally shorted hot to neutral?

I am installing a set of recessed lights in a closet, replacing the existing fixtures one at a time. I removed power to the lights while installing each one by using the light switch, not the circuit ...
3
votes
3answers
372 views

How do you remove a wire from a push-in fitting when there is no release opening?

How do you remove a wire from a push-in fitting when there is no release opening? Note: “What could cause two of my receptacles to stop working?” is my post. Note: My home is a 1980 manufactured ...