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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2answers
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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 ...
7
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2answers
102k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What is a 'grounded neutral' and how bad is it?

I bought an electrical device a few months ago. A few weeks ago, it failed, complete with the release of magic smoke. I contacted the company, and they've had me mail it to them and have been ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Should switches in a kitchen area have GFCI protection?

Do the switches on the wall and over the counter areas have to be on a GFCI protected circuit? As there is live power at the switch all the time, I would think this to be true, but I'm not sure.
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1answer
4k views

How can I remove a switch and terminate a circuit in its place?

I have a switch that used to control outdoor lighting. It no longer does any more and I'd like to just leave it off permanently. Is there an easy way I can terminate it from within the gang box? ...
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1answer
2k views

How can I replace 2-prong receptacles in a code compliant way?

I have some 2-prong non-grounding type receptacles, and I'd like to replace them with 3-prong grounding type receptacles. According to National Electrical Code, what are my options?
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1answer
2k views

What is the difference between an electronic and a magnetic ballast?

The ballast in my bathroom burned out (brand new bulb won't light up). Looking online, it seems that there are two different types of ballasts: electronic and magnetic. I recently replaced my ...
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6answers
41k views

Can I connect ground to neutral in a 3 wire outlet?

I have a 3 wire outlet with the entrances for hot, neutral and ground. But I know that the ground entrance is not really grounded, so in effect useless. Now, since the neutral is grounded, could I ...
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2answers
398 views

What should I consider with new electrical lines in an old house?

When I had our breaker box rewired, I had the electrician run a few extra lines (disconnected in the panel into the attic). I now need to run one of them downstairs through a wall. Two questions: 1) ...
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3answers
8k views

How do I install a one-way switch w/ pilot light?

I am trying to replace a very old one-way switch with a pilot light (light comes on when the switch is on). The original switch was extremely old, and used quick-install terminals ONLY. Even worse, ...
7
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2answers
2k views

How can I determine if my outlets can easily be grounded?

I'm not sure what to do here. I just moved into a building and my outlets are all 2 prong outlets. Here is what I know of for sure: All the outlets are 2 prong outlets The bathroom outlet has the ...
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2answers
519 views

What is the correct way to attach a receptacle to a metal face plate?

4" metal face plates and box are very common for exposed wiring. Receptacles connect to the face plate instead of to the box, which is different than in a house. The face plate comes with a few screws ...
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1answer
382 views

What are these clips on the wires in my junction box?

Are these clips just for protection? or are they connectors for something?
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3answers
3k views

What should I do about a receptacle with 2 circuits going through it where white wires are hot?

I have a receptacle that has 3 white wires and 1 black. The black wire is hot and 2 of the white wires are hot but on a separate circuit than the black one (2 bedroom's outlets on separate circuits ...
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2answers
1k views

Are tamper resistant outlets required in a cabinet with child proof latches?

Like many people, I have a dishwasher and a disposer, which are plugged into an outlet in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Also like many, this is where I keep a whole host of cleaning products and ...
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1answer
82k 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 ...
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2answers
6k views

How much should it cost to add a circuit breaker?

In this question, I asked about problems between my circuit breaker for a circuit shared by my microwave and sump pump. The conclusion was that another circuit should be added to support the microwave ...
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4answers
4k views

How can I fill gaps in wall plates on an uneven backsplash?

We're having a new house built, and the kitchen backsplash that was just installed is a tumbled stone, which looks great, but isn't a flat surface. As a result, the wall plates for electrical outlets, ...
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1answer
2k views

Any reason not to ground the sheathing of MX wire?

Having recently bought an older house (c1943) I am doing a little work on the place. While rewiring a light switch I noted that there is newer Romex wiring from the distribution panel to the switch, ...
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2answers
1k views

Ceiling fan switch replacements

I have 2 ceiling fans that were in my house when I moved in. Both fans have recently had the pull strings torn out of the switch. I took the fans apart, and wrote down the information on the switch, ...
7
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2answers
2k views

How can two different breakers both turn off the same circuit?

I have a 40 yr old home with circuit breakers. While looking for the breaker to turn off a circuit (I was replacing a light switch), I found that two breakers, on the same side of the bus, but ...
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2answers
465 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 ...
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2answers
439 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 ...
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1answer
480 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Are there energy saving lamps which work with touch/electronic dimmers, timers, etc.?

Dimmable energy saving bulbs are usually labeled as "Use only with standard dimmers. Not to be used with touch dimmers, electronic dimmers, timers, ..." After reading ...
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5answers
8k views

What could be causing AFCI breaker and GFCI receptacle nuisance tripping?

I have a very unusual set of electrical issues that have proven difficult to troubleshoot. I live in a newly constructed house. Each bedroom has AFCI breakers. In the past 3 years living there, the ...
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2answers
515 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
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5answers
16k views

What types of electrical outlets are found in a typical home in the USA?

I do not live in the USA. If I were to buy a home in the USA, what are the key facts I should know about USA household electrical supply at outlets in homes? E.g. when buying a clothes dryer or other ...
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8answers
7k 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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2answers
2k views

How do I run a 3 Phase/1hp TEFC motor off of a regular household outlet?

I recently bought a brand new TECO-Westinghouse Electric motor . 3 phase HP: 1 Volts : 208-230/460 RPM: 1750 HZ: 60 Fr: 56 Cat no: ZA.0014TE2/56 Type : AEFAZA Enclosure : TEFC I would like to run ...
6
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4answers
19k 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
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7answers
305 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 ...
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6answers
18k 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
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3answers
930 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
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Outdoor electrical outlet exposed to the rain

Besides tripping a circuit breaker, is there any risk created by a 120V electrical outlet getting wet from the rain? The outlet was installed on an outdoor patio by the builder, so it was intended to ...
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4answers
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 ...
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2answers
6k 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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3answers
2k views

Why is my power flickering across multiple circuits?

I woke up this morning and went downstairs to find that none of the lights would come on (lights were working fine upstairs). My first instinct was thinking that a breaker had tripped, so I went to ...
6
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2answers
6k 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
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4answers
3k 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
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7answers
72k 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
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2answers
655 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
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6answers
17k views

What type of electric heating system is the most energy efficient?

I am about to buy a flat that hasn't got any central heating system. There's no way to use gas heating. The only way to produce heat is by converting Electricity. The flat at the moment has some ...
6
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3answers
12k 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 ...
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1answer
4k 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
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1answer
669 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
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7answers
6k 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
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1answer
684 views

How is power to an entire room restored by plugging something into an outlet in an adjacent room?

We lost power to an entire room about a week ago. All outlets and ceiling light are dead and no breakers were tripped. Unplugged everything in the room, reset all breakers anyway and checked the only ...
6
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3answers
6k views

Are extension cords safe for permanent use?

I recently learned (via a rant from an electrician's son and some internet research) that the standard buy-anywhere cheapo extension cords are a big cause of electrical fires and are not recommended ...