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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10
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4answers
3k views

Would running a new subpanel in parallel meet NEC requirements? If not, what should I do?

Background U.S.A. Voltages/power present. My house has a 125A Power Mains breaker at the street. A buried line runs from the street breaker to my main panel on exterior wall outside of house. The ...
3
votes
3answers
918 views

Is there a way to mark/label a special use switch?

I'm going to be rewiring my front porch light, and in the process I've decided to pull cable for a switched receptacle for Christmas lights. I'm going to install a 2 gang box for both switches ...
1
vote
1answer
839 views

Why does my GFCI periodically trip, especially after a few days' rain?

I have a GFCI in my living room bath that controls a couple of lights in the basement and bedroom upstairs (weird, thats what it seems to control). Now, every 2 or 3 weeks or so, it seems to trip and ...
2
votes
1answer
384 views

Can I convert a European washing machine to work with a North American outlet?

I'm looking to hook up a European washing machine I got my hands on to either a standard North American outlet (unlikely) or a 220 V appliance outlet. Here's the info I have right now: 230V ...
0
votes
1answer
501 views

How to run electircal wire underground? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I run a wire underground to an outdoor post lamp? I need to run power to an automatic gate operator at the entrance to my driveway. I have 2 questions: 1) What ...
7
votes
1answer
14k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Does a grounding wire from a breaker panel to an outside grounding rod need to be in conduit?

I've got a breaker panel in my detached garage (it is not a sub-panel, but is a primary forked off just past the meter). The panel seems to be wired correctly- the neutral and ground bars are tied ...
2
votes
2answers
296 views

Can I use a GFCI on an ungrounded 2-wire circuit at the terminus?

I mistakenly ran 18ga twin lead through plastic conduit out to power 12 volt lights. Never hooked up. Now I want to power a .68 amp 120V pump on a water feature. Too many 90 degree elbows to be able ...
13
votes
3answers
34k views

Which Kitchen outlets do NOT need GFCI?

I have the 2 circuits in the kitchen with GFCI outlets, but I'm not quite sure which other ones do NOT need GFCI. Other circuits in the kitchen include Microwave, Fridge, and Dishwasher. It makes ...
10
votes
3answers
15k views

Do all wires on basement walls have to be in conduit?

I need to know if, when a basement is unfinished and an outlet is on the wall, is it required to put all wires in conduit?
6
votes
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 ...
12
votes
5answers
77k views

How do I install a GFCI receptacle with two hot wires and common neutral?

In my kitchen, I want to replace a regular 120V receptacle with a GFCI-protected receptacle. The instructions describe what to do with a regular 2-wire + ground feed, with and without daisy chaining ...
7
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I install a ceiling fan without creating holes in the ceiling?

I wanted to install ceiling fans in my house but there there were no existing outlets in the ceiling so I got an electrician to do it. He created 2 holes in the ceiling and 2 in the wall to run the ...
5
votes
5answers
8k views

Can the socket in my recessed light be replaced without replacing the entire framing kit?

I have recessed lighting in my living room. One of the bulbs went out. I tried replacing it with a fresh one, but no luck. There is electricity flowing to the socket, but the socket appears to have ...
3
votes
2answers
695 views

How can I convert an exterior light junction box to an exterior duplex outlet?

I have two dedicated circuits that were supposed to be set up with exterior outlets, high up on the wall to run Christmas lights. What I got was two circuits terminated with wire nuts in junction ...
4
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What voltage/amperage garage circuits should I install for welding tools and an air compressor?

As a part of renovating my garage this fall, much of the wiring is being re-done. Since doing the work before putting up walls will be much easier now than adding circuits in the future, I'd like to ...
2
votes
1answer
286 views

Is there a UL listed relay for a line voltage device?

I once saw a device with full UL listing that was effectively a relay that could switch on or off a line voltage device. It looked something like a short extension cord but then had a low voltage wire ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Is my dimmer switch failing or is it bad wiring?

A few days ago my wife mentioned that there was a "burning smell" near the kitchen, but it went away before I could investigate. Today I turned on the dimmer switch in my kitchen, and the lights began ...
6
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
277 views

Why does power loss leave my split/ductless AC unit inoperable for hours or days? [closed]

I've got an LG Ductless 12000 BTU unit that does the most annoying thing.. It is wired into a semi-standard (one of the prongs is sideways) 15A or 20A (can't recall) GFCI outlet inside - and if the ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Is connecting a 16A plug to 10A sockets for an electric water heater a problem?

I had an electric water heater installed in my bathroom this morning. It uses a 16A plug but I only have 10A sockets in the bathroom (the only 16A in the apartment is high on the bedroom wall for an ...
7
votes
9answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the difference between a childproof outlet and a normal one?

I was reading the latest entry on this blog and I saw that she'd mentioned that they'd installed some child-proof outlets. But they don't look any different from normal outlets to me! What's the ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

What's the appropriate cable type along exposed rafters?

This is a followup to my previous, more general question. I installed (exposed) 2"x4" studs at strategic locations. These provide a mounting point for metal boxes, and EMT carries the wire up from ...
2
votes
2answers
887 views

What should I consider when replacing an outlet serving two kitchen circuits?

I have an outlet underneath my kitchen sink that serves my dishwasher and my garbage disposal. The latter's circuit is toggled by a switch above the countertop. I need to replace the outlet, and was ...
2
votes
2answers
144 views

Do I need a voltage converter to run an imported bandsaw?

I just bought a 220 VAC 50 Hz bandsaw and dust collector from someone who brought them back from Australia. Can I use my home 220 VAC circuit or will I need some type of converter?
3
votes
1answer
7k views

How can I get a standby generator with GFI to work with a 2-pole transfer switch?

I have a home standby generator that is equipped with a GFI, and my original electrician (who has long since flaked out on me leaving me in a lurch with this) installed a standard 2-pole transfer ...
7
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Is there a safe way to splice multiple lamp fixtures on the same cord?

I'd like to hang a string of paper lanterns. One web site sells a lamp cord spliced for multiple bulb sockets: http://www.paperlanternstore.com/bldosocokitf.html It looks like SPT-2 lamp cord, ...
7
votes
2answers
518 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
631 views

What are the tabs on this face-plate for?

The Steel City RS-6 4" face plate has metal tabs that break-off easily. What is their purpose? (click for full-size) As you can see, they are cut and bent to leave a gap/slot.
4
votes
2answers
611 views

Triple switch plate size issue

I have a plate of 3 light switches that's just taking up too much real-estate. See picture below: As you can see, I've got a bookcase right next to it, and I could use a little more room there. The ...
2
votes
1answer
382 views

Why do old toggle switch leads read 40VAC?

Tonight I removed an old switch from one of the walls in my living room. We recently bought our house, and there were two holes in the wall where the old thermostat and humidity controller were. I ...
3
votes
3answers
24k views

My wall outlet is making a hissing noise, should I be concerned?

My wife leaves her laptop charger plugged into a wall outlet. As soon as she connects the other end to the laptop (meaning AC is actively flowing through the plug to the laptop), it makes a strange ...
6
votes
2answers
9k 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does my fan switch sometimes turn the lights off?

I recently undertook a small project replacing a single toggle light switch with a Z-wave enabled dimmer switch, which is also wired to a fan toggle (a knob with 3 speed settings) in a 2-gang case. ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What can I use to manage the wires when replacing a looped ceiling rose light fixture with one that just has loose wires?

I'm changing a looped ceiling rose (LCR) light for a light that only has 3 connections, Live, Neutral and Earth. The looped ceiling rose has 3 different metal parts that the wires go into, like this: ...
3
votes
2answers
14k views

What height should bathroom receptacle be off the ground?

I am doing the rough-in electrical in my bathroom gut. I want to put a few receptacles (outlets) above the vanity. Is there a standard height I should be installing the receptacle? I don't have a ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I join two cables outside so that they're safe and kept dry?

I have a new pond with a pump but the cable on the pump is far too short. I have some similar cable which will do the job to extend the length. My only concern is the junction outside. I need to make ...
17
votes
3answers
60k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
32
votes
9answers
10k views

Which way is up? (electric outlet)

My house has electric outlets in both orientations. Which one is correct? Should the ground hole be at the bottom or the top? OR
2
votes
1answer
391 views

How do I recognize which socket cover (fused or 3-pin) connects to which outlet?

I have two power outlets in this room, one is a normal 3-pin (UK) plate cover and the other is a fused (switched) plate cover (much like the one below). I've know removed them and wish to put them ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

How to prevent static electricity build up?

I have an office desk with a computer on it. After sitting in front of my computer for some period, if I get up and touch metal, I always get a spark. In order to avoid surprises, I habitually touch ...
4
votes
1answer
461 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
24k views

When to use holes instead of side terminals to wire an outlet

This question comes from Shirlock's comment on this GFCI wiring question. When and why should you use the holes on the back of an outlet rather than the side terminals? I always assumed the holes on ...
1
vote
1answer
937 views

Proper wiring for GFCI given switched circuit

So I've added the 3-prong plug to my garbage disposal, and now I'm on to the GFCI outlet installation. The breaker was not GFCI protected, nor is there a GFCI outlet on the loop. I've gotten to the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the best way to label a double gang box with two circuits

I'm installing some lights in my basement, and will be replacing the single gang box in the hall (currently only for hall light) with a double gang box. The idea is to accommodate the hall light ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...