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
1answer
2k views

How can I replace a light fixture?

I need someone to sort out this wiring question for me. I'm trying to hang a flourenscent light in the garage, however, when I took the old garage light out (one of those round, single light ...
5
votes
5answers
11k views

Is this an adequate junction box wire job using a standard electric box? (pic included)

I needed to splice a wire to repair nicked wire insulation, but I didn't feel like running to Lowe's just for a junction box. Instead, I used a regular electrical box. The wire comes up from the ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

When I turn on my light switch, there is a delay before the light comes on

We have a ceiling fan light. One swith controls the fan, the other the light. When I turn on the light switch, there is a noticable delay (like a full second) before the light comes on. Is it a ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there a minimum, NEC-compliant distance that an electrical outlet can be off the floor in my home?

If I am able to lower an electrical box by a few inches, I will have enough wire to avoid having to use a junction box to splice a nick I made in the insulation of the neutral wire. It's only a ...
2
votes
4answers
18k views

Why does the main circuit breaker trip but not the smaller branch circuit breakers?

We have one circuit breaker (40 ampere) in entry point of electricity line in our house, than we divided it into two separate line in two levels and put one circuit breaker( 32 ampere) in level one ...
3
votes
1answer
226 views

Can I add two motion lights to an existing circuit?

Can I use an exsisting line that feeds an outlet, and can I cut that line from the attic and use a junction box to feed power to new lights. I will be placing the ligts about 30 feet from each other.
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Can a low voltage light switch be located in a closet as opposed to outside the closet?

Okay you guys I have next question. And like all good questions this one begins with a story. I was reading the post about a nick in a wire and read a couple of you mention that light switch in a ...
6
votes
6answers
20k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

How to measure voltage in a duplex (three-way) wired switch?

Consider a light with two duplex switches. The switches work as I can turn light on/off from either switch. However, I'm not getting any voltage reading on my meter. The meter does work as I can get a ...
7
votes
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, ...
6
votes
1answer
9k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
21k 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

What could cause a circuit breaker to trip when an exhaust fan is turned off?

In my bathroom, I have a switch for the light and a switch for the exhaust fan. It seems that on occasion, not all the time, the power will trip when I turn the fan off, not on. It also seems to be ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does my ceiling lights require some other outlet in the room to be turned on and off again before it works?

Picture the scene: I walk into a room and flick the light switch. Nothing happens. I grobble around in the dark to where a baby bottle warmer is plugged into a normal outlet and turn the warmer on. ...
8
votes
8answers
20k views

How can I get a shock from a circuit when the breaker is off?

While I was replacing an old outlet, I received a shock from something in the box. I think it was the metal box itself. Before I started, I performed the following to ensure the power was out: ...
36
votes
8answers
29k views

When I turn down the dimmer switch on my lights, do I actually use less electricity?

My wife and I have several lights on dimmer switches throughout our home. We generally prefer the ambient lighting provided by dimmed lights. I am curious, though, if we are saving any electricity by ...
5
votes
1answer
476 views

Can I have two main panels from a single service drop?

Can I run 2 main panels both with separate circuits and main disconnects all off of 1 electrical service from the street? basically separate 1st floor 2nd floor with different boxes and only one ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I cap the wires in this electric smoke alarm?

I want to cap these wires with a wire nut so that I can stuff them back up in the ceiling and install a regular, battery-powered smoke alarm. What wires get capped and do I need to do anything with ...
2
votes
2answers
15k views

What size breaker and wire do I need for a 220 volt circuit to an electric fireplace and an electric heater?

I want to run a 220 volt circuit from panel to an electric fireplace (12 amps) and an electric heater (15 amps). What size breaker should I use and what size wire?
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is this a valid way to add an electrical outlet?

I've got a feed from my electrical panel in the garage to a single outlet inside the house (for the entertainment center). This was installed by an electrician back in 2009. Through the garage, the ...
23
votes
1answer
22k views

What does a “1 Gang” mean when talking about electrical boxes?

What does a "1 Gang" mean when talking about electrical boxes? Example: CARLON 1-Gang Metal Adjustable Electrical Box (Lowes.com)
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I create a “ground”

I live in a old house (built in 1918), and because their was no electricity back then, all electricity was added after, and weird enough, nothing has a ground. So, I'm having problem with my ...
12
votes
3answers
20k views

What's the minimum depth that an electrical box can recess into a finished wall? Does it have to be flush?

Do electrical boxes have to be flush to the finished surface? Can they recess any depth into the wall by as much as 1/8" or 1/4"? Edit: I appreciate everyone offering alternative solutions to ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
21k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
8
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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: ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What happens if I shave a little sliver off electrical wire with a utility knife?

I needed to replace an electrical wire with a longer one so I could move an electrical outlet. When I went to cut away the outer rubber cover of one of the wires with a utility knife (yes, dumb, I ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Trying to wire a 240v line-voltage thermostat

I am trying to replace my old 240v line-voltage thermostat with a modern version. The problem is that after wiring the new version in like the old it doesn't work. I have (2) 12-2 wires coming out of ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

How can I detect reverse polarity on an ungrounded receptacle?

Recently moved into a 1950s-built house and am swapping out some of the older receptacles. On one particular ungrounded circuit there are four receptacles. The first two are as expected - the two ...
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
2answers
749 views

How can I add a second light to a circuit?

I have recessed lights that are controlled by two switches. They used a black, red and white wire for each switch to a junction box then used a 14-2 wire to the recessed lights. My question is how do ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

Splitting a circuit breaker into multiple lines

I recently found out that several rooms in my house are apparently connected to one circuit breaker. Setup: My wife was in the bathroom drying her hair and I decided it was time to nuke lunch in the ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

How to add GFCI to a box with one outlet controlled by a switch?

I'm pretty inexperienced when it comes to electrical work, though I do know my way around a circuit diagram, thanks to some EE courses in college. I think this is one I can do myself, I just would ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it ever safe to have 14 gauge wire anywhere on a circuit protected by a 30 amp breaker?

I was doing some work in an old house I recently moved into, and found that my dishwasher and garbage disposal (and some outlets near them) are on a 30 amp breaker. However, some of the electrical ...
6
votes
1answer
5k 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Are T12 fluorescent lamps still available?

My '70s house is chock full of fluorescent tubes. the T12s look the best with the architecture. those pansy T8s are way too small. Anybody have a lead on where to get 48" 32W T12? PS. can we add ...
10
votes
2answers
578 views

Where can I get a switch for a 30A circuit?

I would like to add a switch to a 30A plug, but I am having trouble finding one (they are all rated at 15a/20a). Is there a reason you can't buy 30A switches or is it called something different? To ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I solder a wire onto a piece of metal?

I am replacing the antenna on my radio. I removed the old antenna to find that a wire had been soldered directly onto the bottom of the antenna. I attempted to solder the wire onto the new antenna ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What's involved in upgrading a circuit?

I have a LOT of computer equipment in my bonus room. Additionally, during the summer, our HVAC system has difficulty keeping it cool (as a side note, the HVAC was replaced recently, so it is not ...
4
votes
1answer
214 views

What's wrong with an electrical outlet that will power a lamp but not a space heater?

Thought my space heater had died when I plugged it in and it wouldn't turn on, not even the "on" indicator light, so I went out and bought a new one. When the new one wouldn't work either, I tested ...
23
votes
7answers
26k views

Would you ever wire white and ground together?

I was replacing some outlets in my house with tamper-resistant ones, and came across one where the white and ground were wired together, as seen in this picture. Why? Is that okay or appropriate ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Can my apartment's electricity harm my computer? Is there an easy way to test the electricity?

I live in a (rented, 1980 built) row townhouse in the USA with slightly suspect electricity: A few of the outlets and light switches in the house (in various rooms) don't work at all. (Even ...
5
votes
1answer
510 views

What should I do with a 3-way light switch that is no longer needed?

How do I get rid of a 3-way switch? I am rewiring some lights in an older home and found that one of the switches is a 3-way. However, the light it was originally for was removed years ago. So we ...
2
votes
1answer
335 views

Where can I find a Powerline Internet Adapter with DIN Rail Mounting?

There are several products in the market to create a home LAN using the existing electrical wiring at home. In all of them the point of entry(or the emitter) is a device that is connected to a wall ...
3
votes
1answer
596 views

How can I wire a panel heater?

Bought my Mum a Dimplex Panel Heater for Christmas. My plan was to plug it into the single socket beside where I am mounting it however it did not come with a plug and look like it should be wired ...
2
votes
2answers
313 views

What is the proper installation of a dimmer switch?

I have a wall light that has 18 gauge wire. I want to hard wire this lamp in and put it on a dimmer switch that calls for 14-2 or 12-2 wire. Can this be done? I tried to hook it up but it keeps ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I install r-max insulation on the interior side of a cinderblock wall?

I am planning on insulating the lower level of my house with R-Max in a method similar to this: I have a few question about it though: Can I use something other than Treated wood as this is ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What could be causing strange voltage readings?

My wife bought some new wall sconces for the house and asked me to install them. I'm not an electrician (obviously) but this seemed like something I could handle. So I switched them out, following ...
8
votes
1answer
641 views

Can I have multiple GFCIs on one circuit?

I have a 70s kitchen with a very long countertop. I understand that I only need one GFCI to protect the downstream outlets (for example near the sink). However, I decided instead to install 3 separate ...