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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3
votes
1answer
479 views

Service mast too short

I've read that the service mast on the roof should be 12-18 inches high. The one we have is a lot shorter than that. Does that pose any safety issues? We recently purchased the house, and the previous ...
3
votes
1answer
224 views

Identify type of switch

Can anyone identify the type of switch this is? There are 4 connectors at the bottom and 3 at the top. I've already purchased a 2 gang 2 way switch which turned out to be the wrong one (it only has ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Running electric cables in basement shop

I am setting up a workshop in the unfinished area of my basement. I need to run a couple of electrical outlets and would like to run them along the block walls through grey PVC. Will this be a ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the correct way to pass wire to exterior electrical box?

I'm doing some remodeling in our basement, and came across the following (see pictures). It looks like the contractor simply wrapped tape around the conduit to secure the box to the wall. How are ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

How do I install an electrical outlet on a live circuit?

In my dorm room closet, there is a junction box with a blank plate (no outlet). Inside there are three wirenuts (hot, neutral, ground). I know it is generally unsafe to do any work on a live ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Does the code inspector look at preexisting work, or only at recent work?

I would like to have my service panel upgraded from 50 to 200 amps by licensed electrician, but am worried about preexisting code violations. If I had it upgraded and a building code inspector came ...
1
vote
3answers
504 views

How to install 230V Light with Light-activated-resistor?

I am trying to set up light-activated-resistors that activate a light during dark hours. I have bought a ready Chinese thing that apparently contain a driver to change from AC to proper DC output for ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Parallel Fluorescent Wiring

I've got a few ceiling lighting 'boxes' that have one capacitor, two ballast, two starters, and two fluorescent lamps in each. Everything seems to be nicely wired up internally and I just need to ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

When wiring two circuits through the same conduit, what wire coloring is required?

Problem I am wiring a septic control/alarm box to a subpanel. They are on the same post, so the wire run is through a short stretch of 3/4" flex conduit. There are two circuits required: a 240V for ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

Is it safe to replace a switch with a dimmer on halogen spots?

I live in Europe (so we're on 220V), and in the house we've got two halogen spots (on a transformer) on a plain switch. Is it safe to replace the switch with a dimmer (like these)? Do the transformer ...
7
votes
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, ...
17
votes
11answers
4k views

What should we look for when buying a fixer-upper house?

My fiance and I are considering buying a fixer-upper house rather than an apartment when we get married. Obviously things like location, neighbors etc. are important, but; what should we be looking ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

There's a difference between hot/neutral AC lines in a plug, but does it matter?

Saw the good answer to this question: Is there a difference between the two conductors in 120VAC wiring? But I'm wondering as a followup, since the two primary prongs in an AC mains plug are ...
4
votes
1answer
575 views

What do you call a DIY AC plug?

This may the dumbest question ever, but I'm trying to replace the AC plug on a small appliance (it's European but voltage-switchable and I'm using it in the US), and I don't know what to call those ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What should I do about this fixture brace?

I'm preparing to hang a ceiling fan fixture in a bedroom. I need to remove an old ceiling light's electrical box and brace first, however I don't see how I can remove them. The brace has limbs which ...
1
vote
2answers
651 views

What's the best/easiest way to install and wire a wall light?

I would like to add a wall light to a wall, but I'm not sure the best way to go about doing this. I'm thinking it will be easiest to wire it up to a ceiling light (directly above proposed placement ...
3
votes
2answers
380 views

Should I run 2 regular circuits or a subpanel to my septic site?

We're installing a septic system on otherwise undeveloped land. Eventually there will be a house near the septic system, but that could easily be years away. The electric service entrance is on a post ...
2
votes
1answer
964 views

How do I test circuit breakers?

Suppose I need new circuit breakers and buy some at a local shop. How do I test them to be sure they haven't been damaged on their way from factory and will do their job when time comes?
6
votes
4answers
23k 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
1answer
5k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I convert ceiling mounted octagon box to electrical receptacle?

I've installed a number of strip lights in my garage to replace the single incandescent fixture on the ceiling. They all use a 3-prong plug, not hardwired. I want to replace the incandescent fixture ...
6
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
849 views

Fix intermittent connection problem in a monorail low voltage light fixture

I have a WAC low-voltage monorail (probably a SOLORAIL model) that is about 7 years old. The rail is about 12 ft long and has four fixtures attached. For the past 2 years, one of the fixtures has ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
5answers
534 views

Light fixture inside knee-wall storage

We framed knee walls in our attic and want to use the areas behind them for storage. These areas are triangular in cross-section, about 3' high at the knee wall, and of course the ceiling hits the ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How to tidily integrate power into an island

I'm currently running the ducts for wiring into my gutted kitchen and was wondering how best to integrate power into my island. I've seen pop-up products like this and this that fit nicely into the ...
2
votes
2answers
296 views

Where should I place a stove master switch on an island?

We're having our kitchen redone and I would like to integrate our free-standing stove into the island unit. Where would be decent place to put the stove master switch within this island as there are ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Electrical - How to power 12V LEDs from a 12V AC power supply

I have a 12V power supply that I am using to power some lights in my garden. I want to also power (in parallel) a set of 12V LED lights which (of course) require a 12V DC supply. Is there a simple ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do my bulbs glow brighter when the microwave is running?

When I run the microwave oven in my rented apartment, the incandescent lights nearby glow much brighter. What sort of mis-wiring could cause this? EDIT: Suspecting a bad neutral connection, I ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

low voltage from circuit - bad breaker?

Background: I'm doing some rewiring work in the kitchen. There were three circuits coming into a junction box that controlled the sink disposal, dishwasher, a few receptacles and a light. So I got ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

How do I replace a condenser fan motor in a central air unit?

The condenser fan motor on my central air unit has seized up (tried like crazy to turn it it, but no go). I'm not sure how old the motor is but I'm guessing it's original, so about 12 years old. I ...
4
votes
1answer
840 views

Replacing Halogen with LED bulbs

I've just purchased some 12V LED MR-16 bulbs, intending to use them to replace the existing 12V Halogen MR-16 bulbs in my bathroom. I have found, much to my chagrin, that the LED bulbs seem to have ...
5
votes
1answer
8k views

Replace two-wire thermostat

I'm replacing an old mercury thermostat with a digital one. The new unit has 7-8 connections (labeled w1,wh,r1,rh,y,c, etc.) and a bunch of instructions about how to connect similarly labeled ...
7
votes
2answers
484 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
60k views

Can I backfeed a portable generator into my house's electrical system?

Is there a safe way to power my house using a portable generator? The power rating for the generator is 6kW, and I want to run my electric water heater (4.5kW) and my refrigerator (0.5kW) and possibly ...
-1
votes
1answer
520 views

What are some good resources books/websites for learning basic home wiring?

As part of Home maintenance, I need some electrification work. Looking for some basics of home electrification like phase, neutral things, how to connect a fan regulator ....
10
votes
1answer
819 views

Humming Ceiling Fans

I have two Harbor Breeze 52in. Builders Series Ceiling Fans. Under normal operation these fans are smooth and quiet. However, during power outages like we've had recently, I use a Devilbiss 6000 ...
2
votes
1answer
184 views

oven not igniting

(Updated.) I have a gas stove and oven with no pilot light (so they ignite using electricity). The stove and broiler (at the top of the oven cavity) are lighting fine, but the oven is not (at the ...
5
votes
3answers
24k views

Should I use 12/2 or 12/3 to wire a 220V electric baseboard heater and thermostat?

When I bought my baseboard heaters, thermostats and 220V breakers I was advised to get 12/3 wire. When I attempted to install the heaters I found that the thermostats, heaters, and even breakers have ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

What should I do with wires that are too large for back-stab terminals on a receptacles?

I am replacing all my electicial outlets and only one has wires that are too big to put into the back of the new outlet. Any suggestions?
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What types of flooring can be used with electric radiant heat?

I am considering converting an old enclosed sleeping porch into a usable room year round (in Ohio). Currently the floor is a big slope to allow for drainage when it was still open, obviously I want ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

DIYer to skilled tradesperson

What is the process a DIYer has to go through to become a skilled tradesperson? Are the only options apprenticeships, or are there other paths to follow to learn a trade/become licensed? What type ...
4
votes
1answer
743 views

Control home's electricity sockets via PC

I'd like to control some of my home's electricity sockets via my PC. I was thinking about WiFi sockets (couldn't find any product for that), or sockets which are controlled by the electric network ...
8
votes
4answers
21k views

Why are homes wired using solid wire rather than stranded?

If stranded wire can carry more power for a given wire gauge, why are homes typically wired using solid? If solid wire is less expensive to make, that provides a compelling reason why solid is used, ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

Can I tap into an exterior light in order to power a security camera?

I have an exterior light (shown below) that I was wondering if I could tap into, in order to power an outdoor IP cam. I understand I would have to pull appart some cables and potentially purchase ...
4
votes
1answer
497 views

What is the silver on the end of copper wire?

I am connecting a power cable to my dishwasher and I noticed the end of the copper wire looks like it has been dipped in solder. It is silver and very stiff. Should I be putting the wire nut on over ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are there multiple receptacles by amperage?

I could imagine the various receptacle shapes being a tool to protect you from making a mistake about what you plug in. Consider a 15A breaker with 14ga wiring to NEMA 5-15R receptacles. The circuit ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

electric main rings of the house

How do I know if my two floor house has one or two electric rings, one downstairs and one upstairs, or just one for all the house.
5
votes
2answers
7k views

How do I convert a light circuit with a single pole switch to use two 3-way switches?

I have a box in the hall which includes a 3-way switch (with another switch at the other end of the hall), a single pole switch to the garage lights and a single pole switch to the exterior lights on ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Why GFCI clicks, even when turned off?

I have a GFCI receptacle that is clicking. Every 5-10 minutes it clicks repeatedly for 1-2 seconds. The GFCI is turned off (the RESET button is sticking out) but it still clicks! What does this mean? ...