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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7
votes
2answers
370 views

Why only a few volts between the legs of a 240 V 3-wire dryer outlet?

I installed a new dryer in our house. It runs but won't heat. It has a 240V 3 wire connection. There is a 30 amp double pole breaker installed in the breaker box. (the box is very old) I've read ...
7
votes
1answer
328 views

How should this circuit be properly grounded?

I am hiring an electrician to do the work so my question is more for my education and helping me ask the proper questions to the perspective contractors. Purchased a condo recently and want to put in ...
7
votes
2answers
362 views

Do I need junction boxes where conduit containing data cables terminates?

I'm going to be running 1" blue PVC conduit from all my low voltage boxes to a structured wiring panel. My wiring panel will chase to the attic where necessary and I was wondering what the best ...
7
votes
2answers
417 views

What is the best short-term solution for fused neutrals?

I have inherited a house that has been in my wife's family since 1860. I do not know when it was electrified, but it seems to have skipped knob and tube. There is a lot of fabric-covered wire, and ...
6
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
7k 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. ...
6
votes
7answers
281 views

Projects to Pursue while Studs are Bare?

I'm stripping my small 950 sq. ft. 1950's-era home to the studs -- walls and ceiling -- so that I can install a vapor barrier and insulation in the walls and ceiling. While I have the studs available ...
6
votes
5answers
10k views

Is there an NEC-compliant method of repairing minor damage to electrical wire insulation without a junction box?

While trying to pry loose a stubborn cable staple that fastens a 14-gauge electrical cable to a stud, I accidentally tore a very small hole through both the outer jacket and the insulation around the ...
6
votes
3answers
397 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are my downlights constantly blowing?

I have a strip of 3 downlights in my living room, and I am constantly changing globes. Usually two of the globes blow in the first day or two of use, but the third globe will last much longer (at ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I install this flush-mount ceiling light?

I bought a new flush-mount ceiling light and am having a tough time figuring out how to get it installed. The instructions that came with it are completely useless. Here are all of the pieces that ...
6
votes
2answers
419 views

Does lamp maximum wattage matter for CF bulbs? [duplicate]

Say I have a table lamp that states (via a slightly scary sticker) that it takes a 60W max bulb. Of course, that was based around incandescent wattages. Is there any risk with putting in a CF bulb ...
6
votes
7answers
37k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

GFCI outlet won't come on

I have a couple recently installed (By a professional licensed electrician) GFCI outlets outside a barn, both on their own circuit. Both have water trough heaters plugged into them - 1500 watts each. ...
6
votes
1answer
490 views

What do I need to replace 4 light switches on the same circuit?

So we have a single light in our living room that can be turned on/off from four different switches at various entrances to the living room. We're currently replacing all the switches in our house as ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

What could be causing GFCI breakers and receptacles to trip?

I have a two wire system and after installing GFCI outlet in kitchen I realized there is a problem with some type of inconsistancy causing the GFCI to trip as soon as power is sent to it. Thinking the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I run a ground wire of a single circuit to the panel outside the house?

This is a follow-up to this question. I am adding (outlets) on to a 2-wire 12AWG (no ground) circuit and I want the new outlets grounded. Can I run a ground wire to the panel along the outside of ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

How important is circuit breaker breaking capacity?

All else being equal circuit breakers can have different "breaking capacity" - it's the maximum current which the breaker can disconnect and it's typically several thousand amperes. The idea is that ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does using a dimmer with this ceiling fan and lights cause energy saving bulbs to flicker?

At a hotel I manage we purchased 34 ceiling fans with two integrated light sockets that operate on a dimmer all controlled by a remote control. Obviously using a dimmer with fluorescent bulbs won't ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I install a new exterior GFI outlet?

I have an interior outlet. I would like to place an exterior (GFI) outlet in approximately the same position on the outside wall. How should I do that? approx. loc. of desired outlet-| ...
6
votes
2answers
863 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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) ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I fix my double tapped outside electric panel?

I recently had a 4 point inspection and the inspector detected an electric hazard. As shown on the picture the power line goes from the meter to the panel with the main switch and from there into the ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Blown fuse replaced, still no power

Yesterday a contractor was doing work in our bedroom. At one point he plugged in a hammering drill and when he used it it blew the fuse. We confirmed the 15amp fuse was dead but I didn't have a ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Are electrical outlets usually positioned on studs?

I lack a studfinder at the moment, and I'm considering getting a wall lamp that I think is just too chic. However, I live in an apartment, meaning any holes that I drilled would need to be filled in. ...
6
votes
1answer
837 views

What causes a partial blackout?

Last night, my neighborhood had a blackout, but for some reason, only half of the electrical circuits in my house went out. I was under the impression that there was only one main electrical feed ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a ring main?

What is a ring main and why are they used in the UK but not elsewhere?
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Is it okay two breakers are controlling the same outlets and appliances?

To be specific, we recently had some electrical work done. The electrician added a second panel. He left without labeling anything. So today I've been testing outlets and switches trying to figure out ...
6
votes
2answers
982 views

Is a special outlet or wiring needed when replacing an electrical outlet under a gas fireplace.?

The outlet under our gas fireplace that runs the blower fan has a short in it, and needs to be replaced. I have replaced a few standard wall outlets and was thinking of doing this one myself too, but ...
6
votes
1answer
8k views

Why doesn't my GFI receptacle reset?

I have a GFI receptacle in my kitchen that feeds four other receptacles. It tripped the other day and I cannot get it to reset. All of the other receptables on the circuit are not functioning which ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Insufficient voltage to dryer receptacle; what next?

I just moved into a home and I am hooking up a used dryer (which I'm told works). The dryer spins, but I get no heat. I bought a multimeter, and it tells me that the receptacle provides insufficient ...
6
votes
3answers
174 views

Are two circuits allowed to have a common neutral?

Don't know if the title makes sense so I'll explain what I'm doing. I'm trying to wire two adjacent fridges that each require a dedicated 15A circuit. I'm just wondering instead of running two wires ...
6
votes
1answer
492 views

Why is my light switch leaking electricity?

I have a home built in 1950 and a laundry room added sometime in the unknown future. There is a light switch that seems to be emitting electricity according to my Fluke voltage tester. I noticed it ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I replace this receptacle that has four wires connected to it?

I'm in the process of replacing all of the electrical outlets in our kitchen to match the color of a new backsplash. Three of them were straightforward. The fourth and fifth, however, were wired ...
6
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
718 views

Is there a tool designed for holding multiple electrical wires together to keep them in place for wire nut?

I am trying to wire three hot wires together with a pigtail which means I need to twist four 14-gage wires into a nut (I am using a tan nut which I believe is suitable for this). The problem I'm ...
6
votes
3answers
881 views

Can an external light fixture and an external receptacle share a circuit?

I have to get power to provide an outlet for an awning at high level. The nearest power source is an external light fixture. Can I wire into this? If so is there anything special I should know?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does my GFCI outlet trip as soon as the breaker is turned on?

I have an outlet feeding other outlets about 50 feet away. All the outlets are outdoor enclosed in a protective weather cover. Today I wanted to replace one of the receptacles with a GFCI so all the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I troubleshoot a water-heater?

Lately our hot water has been running out very quickly, a lot quicker than it used to. I have an Whirlpool electric water heater with 2 elements with the top element has a reset switch. I followed ...
6
votes
9answers
17k views

How do I put a fluorescent light on a motion sensor?

I have a couple closets in my basement that I have outfitted with a fluorescent light attached to a motion sensor (this one). The idea was that when you open the closet door, the light comes on ...
6
votes
2answers
238 views

Can an electrical subpanel go underneath plumbing?

I was about to wire up my new basement subpanel when I realized I had put it directly under a toilet. I don't think this is a code violation. I can relocate it with some difficulty. I'm also ...
6
votes
2answers
294 views

Why am I measuring decreased voltage between my dryer's neutral and hot conductors?

At the outlet: 40V - red to neutral (white) 40V - black to neutral (white) 230V - red to black 110V - red to ground 110V - black to ground At the circuit breaker: 230V - red to ...
6
votes
2answers
358 views

What type of outlet is in the picture?

I recently purchased a early 1970's home that has this interesting outlet installed in the master bedroom. It is the only outlet in the entire house like this and I'm not real sure what it is for and ...
6
votes
2answers
603 views

Can I use 22/4 wire instead of 20/2 wire?

My central vacuum system needs 20/2 stranded low voltage wire (24 volts I think). Can I use 22/4 wire and pair-up two each to equal or better 20/2? I could save some money by using surplus 22/4 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it OK to have a 20 Amp receptacle on a circuit with 12 AWG wiring and a 15 Amp breaker?

I have a hypothetical question: If you have a 15 Amp breaker connected to a 20 Amp T type outlet with (20 Amp) 12 AWG wire, is it within code, below code, or above code, where code means the National ...