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. Posting photographs of wiring junctions or drawing a wiring diagram and posting ...

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Is there an average number of outlets that are wired off of one circuit breaker?

I recently demolished my basement to start a reconstruction/improvement project. My first horror was the electrical layout. I've got hidden junctions, mismatched wire sizes, improper junctions and ...
8
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3answers
181 views

Why can the connections of a recessed light be buried in drywall, but not junction boxes?

I'm redoing lights in our kitchen and have to splice some lines. I have read numerous threads that all say you cannot bury the junction box in the drywall, it has to be accessible. The recessed lights ...
8
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1answer
707 views

What is this thing with wires found on wall inside closet, and how do I remove it?

My 1950's-ish home in Pennsylvania has an addition built off of the kitchen (no idea when the addition was built). In this addition there is a closet I am remodeling. While taking down the wood ...
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3answers
211k views

How to connect multiple light fixtures to one switch?

I am remodeling my basement, currently I have 5 light fixtures and each one has its own switch. I would like to make it so when I turn on the switch at the bottom of the stairs all the lights turn on....
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2answers
3k views

Why do my lights dim, when my neighbor's central AC turns on?

I understand that the lights would dim with a dryer or large AC on my own circuit system, but is it normal for that to happen when my neighbor's central AC turns on? I validated the timing (hearing ...
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1answer
5k views

How can I trace cable through floors and walls?

How can I work out where an electrical cable runs through walls/floors? I am building a circuit map of a 1941 house with unfinished basement. I shut off all circuits at the main service panel, switch ...
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1answer
6k views

Can I extend an electrical ground wire with a copper wire crimp?

I am working with an electrical socket and I need extra length on the ground wire. It doesn't seem unreasonable that I can attach an extra three inches to the existing one and attach it with a copper ...
8
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1answer
134k views

What wire gauge should I use with a 30 amp breaker for a 220V welder?

I am installing an outlet in my garage for a 220v mig welder. The welder specs call for 30A breaker. The outlet for the welder is only 2 feet from the garage sub panel. The wiring refernece charts I'...
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2answers
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Large voltage swing on incoming main hot line- definitely outside?

So for much of last fall, I had an issue of flickering lights in my house (half of the house seemed to flicker in unison). Back in December, I called the electric company, who came out, and claimed ...
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1answer
3k views

What wire and conduit is required for an attached-garage subpanel?

To make my garage more usable as a workshop, I'm planning to add a subpanel which can feed a number of additional outlets. 60 amps would be plenty for my current needs, but I'd like to go with 100 so ...
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1answer
9k views

How can I mount an 12V transformer for LED lighting inside a wall?

The stairs to my basement has one light fixture at the bottom, and that casts a shadow on the rest of the stairs. I want to run a strip of LED lights up the crown molding or on top of the upstairs ...
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3answers
18k views

Are generator interlock kits permitted in residential applications?

There have been some questions on the site lately, that reference using interlock kits with portable generators. This has inspired me to read through article 702 Optional Standby Systems of the ...
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9answers
26k views

Does one need to be certified in order to do residential electrical work?

I have a Bachelor in electrical engineering, a lot of hands-on experience with electrical work, and I'm very familiar with NEC 2011 and electrical codes. Can I do residential electrical work without ...
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5answers
2k views

Is it possible to convert a switched light into an unswitched outlet?

I am installing an overhead automatic garage door opener. My only power source close to where I will be hanging the motor is an overhead light socket that is operated by a switch on the wall next to ...
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3answers
7k views

I modified a nail-in electrical box to use screws instead of nails. Is there some code that prevents that?

Ever since I dove into the electrical side of things with my project, I've encountered a bunch of code restrictions. One thing that wouldn't surprise me if it was a violation of code is what I've ...
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4answers
41k views

How can I tell if a circuit breaker is worn out?

I was installing a light and tripped the breaker (in retrospect, should have turned the breaker off before starting). When I finished installing it I reset the breaker and tried the light switch. ...
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6answers
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Can two circuits' neutrals be tied together (not a single neutral wire, but two that have been connected)?

Related to but different from this question, I have two three-way switches in my house, which are in multi-gang boxes at the top and bottom of the staircase and control lights at the top and bottom ...
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9answers
10k views

Why does my smoke detector chirp when my bathroom lights are turned on?

We have an wired smoke detector that is right outside a bathroom. Often, when we turn on the lights in the bathroom, the smoke alarm will chirp. The bathroom used to have a fixture with 4 40-watt ...
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4answers
1k views

Reverse polarity on outlets, any negative side-effects?

I've lived in a variety of different places where polarities have been different on a per-outlet basis, ie the neutral is where the hot should be. I've never noticed any ill effects from this. Are ...
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3answers
10k views

Does turning circuit breakers off cause wear?

A comment over on another SE got me thinking. With screw-in fuses, unscrewing it and then later screwing it back in causes negligible wear on either part of the installation. But what about modern "...
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4answers
776 views

Is Ground plug replacement necessary?

The ground prong on my backpack vacuum came off and stuck inside a wall outlet. Should I replace the plug or does the ground not matter much? The plug itself gets really hot now when I use the ...
7
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2answers
241 views

Is it a good idea to chisel out the edge of rafters for wires?

I am wondering if it is a good idea to chisel out the edge of rafters for wires? We want to floor our garage attic, and there are wires criss-crossing on top of the rafters. Update: These are regular ...
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5answers
71k 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 ...
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6answers
7k views

Nice looking on-wall wiring

I need to run some standard AC wiring for wall lights etc. in the living room and some telephone/broadband wiring too. The problem is I can't do it in-wall for various reasons. The only option I am ...
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3answers
2k views

Why am I getting strange results when using a power meter to measure CFLs?

Over the years we have replaced just about every bulb in the house with a CFL. But here is the problem. Our electric bill is going up and not down. When I moved here 3 years ago we spent about $140-...
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2answers
916 views

How do I upgrade a conventional switch to a dimmer?

I have a single pole light switch (I guess that means 1 switch controls the light?). The top switch turns the light on, the bottom switch turns the fan on. I bought a dimmer, that has a black screw, ...
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8answers
11k views

How is it that two breaker switches control the same things?

Forewarning: I don't know that much about electrical terms, so please excuse any mistakes I've possibly made. I recently moved the TV in my living room and ran a new line for the electricity to the ...
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4answers
10k views

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet?

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet? Obviously the best choice would be to replace the old wiring. Is there a standard way to ground these outlets? Do I need ...
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7answers
116k views

How to detect whether there is a signal on TV cable

I'm not receiving TV in my room and the cable guy has determined that there is no signal on my coax outlet in the wall. There is a signal in other rooms, so there must be a broken or disconnected ...
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4answers
3k views

What should I do with a double gang box if I no longer need two separate switches?

We're relocating our TV to a side of our living room that has a power outlet controlled by a wall switch. The switch is part of a double gang box (1 switch controls the porch light, the other ...
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4answers
4k views

How Do I Plan for an Intrusion Detection System?

I would like to plan for an intrusion detection system in a home that is currently under construction. The home has a walkout basement that is sloping, shown in the rear elevation picture shown below....
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4answers
2k views

Is a timed electrical switch causing vent fan to run slower / with less power?

I bought this timed electrical switch and used it to replace a standard switch that turned on my bathroom vent fan (I'm always forgetting to turn it off and it often will run all day.) after the ...
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2answers
12k views

Is it unsafe if some three prong outlets don't properly test as grounded?

It's me again -- the pest ;-) On the general inspection report for the house we're looking at buying, there's a note about the house's electrical: Some three prong outlets did not test properly ...
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2answers
758 views

Are two prong metal space heaters safe?

I've had this electric space heater for probably about twenty years. Its one of those long and thin ones that does not have a fan. It is a convectron by slant fin model cve 1500. The plug is two ...
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6answers
47k views

Why energy saving bulb flashes when the switch is off?

I have a energy saving spiral light bulb in my kitchen. In exactly every 27 seconds, the first segment of the bulb faintly flashes when the switch is off. And not once, repeatedly every 27 seconds. ...
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3answers
3k views

What do volts and amps imply for angle grinders?

I have several home improvement projects that would be made enormously easier if I had a decent angle grinder with both grinding and cutting wheels to attach to it. But I've never used or bought one ...
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5answers
33k views

Why would my TV image turn black when electrical appliances turn on?

I have my computer connected to my TV via HDMI. Every time something electrical happens (fridge turns on, stove sparks, etc), the image on the TV goes black for a second and then comes back on. And ...
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1answer
6k views

How to open NM box knockouts?

I've found the knockouts in NM boxes hard to fully open. I've had trouble with both Carlon boxes and Madison Smart Boxes. The plastic molded to make the knockout is very resistant to actually being ...
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2answers
1k views

Is a negative reading from a non-contact voltage detector sufficient?

I'm a beginner at doing electrical work, and I want to make sure I'm not taking unnecessary risks. Let's say that I'm preparing to work on some wiring. I have a non-contact voltage detector that ...
7
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3answers
3k views

What can I do about electric code violations in a rental unit?

My fiance and I are currently renting an apartment in Baltimore, MD and recently we have become alarmed by much of the house's wiring. Things we have seen included: countless wires that are spliced ...
7
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2answers
3k views

Why would turning on one breaker trip another?

Before rearranging the main living room, I replaced two 15A outlets that were previously hidden. (The new outlets are the kind that are hard for kids to jam things into.) After doing this I discovered,...
7
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1answer
4k views

What's wrong with my wiring?

I purchased a Hampton Bay remote for our bedroom fan this weekend. I have it installed and mostly working correctly, but there is one nuisance that still remains. We have two switches on the wall, ...
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2answers
1k views

What does the inspector mean by “Hot and Neutral are not separated”?

In an inspection report on my house, the inspector said "hot and neutral" are not separated. I think he meant "neutral and ground" are not separated. I've attached the picture, is that the case?
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2answers
6k views

Why is there an arc when I pull a plug out of an outlet?

I notice that, on some of my (self-installed) power outlets, when I pull an appliance plug out of it, there is a small arc. This most frequently happens with an iron, which has no switch of its own ...
7
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1answer
7k views

What is a split bus panel, and how do I recognize it in the field?

I'm having trouble identifying a split bus panel. I design and install Solar systems, and lately (after Mr Wiley gave a few seminars to local inspectors) the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) ...
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2answers
15k views

AC/DC adapters making strange buzzing crackling noise in all house, what causes it?

Yesterday all of my AC/DC power supplies began making strange buzzing, crackling noise (quickly and intermittently repeated pops). First I thought that my computer's power supply is dying. So I ...
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3answers
3k views

How should I go about fixing a faulty 240 V Electrical Outlet

This afternoon, my wife and I noticed a peculiar smell coming from the garage. We localized it to a faulty 3-wire 240 V outlet. Something got really hot resulting in part of the rubber melting on ...
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3answers
6k views

How can I improve the wiring under the sink for a garbage disposal?

My vegetable sprayer line broke yesterday, which led me underneath my sink. It wasn't until I was kneeling in a large puddle of water with the line draining on me and the floor that I realized how bad ...
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9answers
39k views

How do I uninstall a receptacle when the wires are stuck?

I just installed a receptacle in my basement and I realized I need to reinstall it someplace else. The leads are inserted into the holes behind the receptacle and I can't get them out! The ...
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4answers
4k views

How to hang modern fixture over old square recessed box?

I purchased a home built in 1958 and a few rooms have these square recessed light boxes. I would like to hang a larger diameter modern flush-mount fixture over them, but I'm not sure what the way to ...