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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1answer
1k views

How to trace mystery switches

Since I moved into my house last year there are a couple of wall switches that remain a mystery to me. I don't know what they do, if anything. What are my options for tracing these switches? I'm ...
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1answer
498 views

How can I get my thermostat C wire connected? [duplicate]

I have an older furnace, on the switch block I have Y,C.W,R and an unlabeled screw that connects to the shut off it looks like. I need to hook up a thermostat that needs the C wire. I have a spare ...
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1answer
2k views

Why won't my clothing iron work in one outlet but works in others?

I've been using my clothing iron in the same outlet in my laundry room for the past 6 months since I moved into my house, but all of a sudden the iron won't work in that outlet anymore. I plugged an ...
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2answers
729 views

Why isn't my mini fridge staying cold?

My mini fridge has full power, but I come home after a couple of days to find that the compressor has shut off and everything has defrosted and the fridge isn't cold anymore. I can turn the knob and ...
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3answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
987 views

What does the inspector mean by “Hot and Neutral are not separated”?

In an inspection report on my house, the inspector said "hot and neutral" are not separated. I think he meant "neutral and ground" are not separated. I've attached the picture, is that the case?
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2answers
559 views

Any way to monitor load on a power outlet and receive notifications of usage? [closed]

My sump pump float sometimes sticks. This is an issue because the pump can easily run dry and burn out, especially if we are away for an extended period of time. Ideally I'm looking for something ...
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2answers
17k views

Can I feed a sub-panel from a sub-panel?

here is what I have. On the corner of my house, I have the main breaker box. I also have a 2nd sub panel that was installed later on the other side of the house which has 240V ac running to it. This ...
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2answers
1k views

Is this switch properly grounded?

I replaced a standard single pole switch with an Intermatic ST01 timer switch, into a metal electrical box with three other switches. The switch I was replacing had no ground connection, but some of ...
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4answers
26k views

Why do light bulbs all over the house burn out disconcertingly fast?

I've found a couple answers to this question. This generally revolve around the scenario where it's bulbs in a general area such as a fan. My issue is that light bulbs all over the house burn out ...
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2answers
5k views

Why does turning on one light turn off a different light?

I have a ceiling fan with a light and another light with switches on opposite sides of the wall. One side has a double switch which goes to the fan with a light and the other a single three way switch ...
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1answer
1k views

Can I use my old service panel as a sub-panel when I install a new one?

The main panel in my building is 100 feet from the where the feed wire comes in from the outside meter. Can I install a new 200 amp panel where the feed line comes in and use the existing wire to feed ...
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3answers
2k views

How can I turn off the power to an outlet if a water alarm is triggered?

I'm installing a dishwasher on a second floor, and after having 3x dishwashers leak during their run cycle during my life, I'm understandably hesitant. I will definitely be installing a water alarm. ...
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2answers
4k views

Can you terminate more than one common on the furnace C terminal?

TL;DR: Can you terminate more than one common on the furnace C terminal? Background: I've linked a diagram of how my non-programmable thermostat is currently hooked up. I want to replace it with a ...
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1answer
232 views

Why won't the GFCI-protected devices in my kitchen work even though they seem to have power?

I have a GFCI receptacle that will not reset, and all of the switches -- which are to my garbage disposal, dishwasher, and over-sink light -- will not work. I checked it with a voltage detector after ...
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1answer
1k views

What are switches activated by a closet door called?

My father-in-law set up all of his closet lights to turn on and off when the door opens. He used a switch that was apparently designed for that purpose, with a largish contact switch that turned on ...
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1answer
251 views

Is it legal to just replace an existing extractor fan in a shower room with a similar model?

The existing ceiling mounted fan is not working correctly now. It is wired via an isolating switch high up in the room away from the shower. The fan has a built-in pull cord: pull for on, pull again ...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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1answer
8k views

Is it safe to cut and put a compression end on a live cable TV wire?

Just moving into a new US location. The location has both Verizon and Comcast available. I am trying to use Comcast. The Verizon installer appears to have cut the Comcast cable that went to an ...
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2answers
4k views

Why does my GFCI receptacle trip when I connect the load wires?

I was trying to install a GFCI outlet and when I install it with the five wire setup with the line on top and load on bottom, the outlet continually trips. I made sure which wire was the hot-line and ...
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4answers
28k views

Is it safe to install a three pronged wire into a four pronged dryer?

I just moved into an old home that has a three pronged wall jack as shown below: I have a newer dryer that has a four pronged wire. Please see the back of the dryer, I've removed the four pronged ...
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1answer
2k views

Can I steal a neutral wire from another circuit?

I have some Z-wave light switches that I want to install; below is a link to the diagram for the light switches. Basically I can have all the wiring completed minus the neutral wire for the switch at ...
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1answer
5k views

How can I safely remove one baseboard heater out of a set of two?

I have two baseboard heaters on either side of my living room. They are both on the same breaker and connected to the same thermostat. The breaker looks like it takes up two spots and has a 20 on the ...
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4answers
12k views

How can I use a separate transformer to provide a C wire to my thermostat?

I Purchased the Honeywell WiFi Prog Thermostat to replace my Round Digital Honeywell Thermostat. I have separate Heating and Cooling (Heating is a Weil McLain Boiler for Hot water baseboard and Hot ...
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3answers
4k views

Why is it OK to use a 50 A receptacle on a 40 A circuit?

NEC's Table 210.24 " Summary of Branch-Circuit Requirements" shows required condudcor and outlet requirements for different circuit ratings: Why is it permitted to put a 50 A receptacle on a 40 A ...
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1answer
1k views

What are “termination points” and why do I need them on my electrical supply?

An inspection of my electric supply service on the outside of my home in Maryland said I need 3 termination points and two grounding rods. The grounding rods I can get but I have no clue about these ...
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5answers
45k views

Should I put a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?

I have a ceiling fan on our bedroom's vaulted ceiling. Since we don't want 7' pull-cords, the speed is stuck at full-tilt, which is no good. The fan has separate switches on the wall for lights and ...
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1answer
5k views

What are the codes for electrical wiring in attics?

What is the typical code for wiring in attics? I understand these vary but what's best practice? Can you just have electrical wires exposed with all the junctions, in junction boxes, provided all the ...
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4answers
3k views

How can I wire this three-way circuit between two buildings with only 3 conductors?

I am rewiring my entire house after a major malfunction of two antique knob and tube circuits. I'm up against a challenge with some outdoor lights. Here's the situation: I have a detached garage. It ...
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1answer
7k views

Why is my electric hot water heater producing lukewarm/cold water?

Yesterday after returning home from work I discovered my hot water is not working. When you turn on the faucet (any in the house) just a little warm water comes out and then it turns cold. I checked ...
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5answers
65k views

Can different gauge wiring be used in the same circuit?

I am extending a lighting and outlet circuit in a basement. The current setup has the following characteristics 15 amp. circuit breaker (200 amp service) 4 existing lighting fixtures using CFL bulbs ...
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1answer
447 views

Can I connect wall sconces to an existing switched circuit?

My den has four outlets tied to one wall switch (top receptacle at each outlet). I am looking to install four sconces (two per wall on two walls) and was wondering if I can tie these into the existing ...
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2answers
356 views

Where does the excess electricity from my solar panels go?

When my excess electricity goes back into the grid, where does it go after it has passed through my meter? Does it go to the next closest house needing power?
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1answer
183 views

How do I select the right generator?

I'm looking for advice on what kind of generator I should get for my mobile home. We have had 3 pretty bad storms (2 hurricanes, 1 blizzard) and am looking to give my home backup power. Now I have ...
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1answer
553 views

How can I wire multiple recessed lights and multiple dimmers?

How do I wire recessed Zinc Alloy ceiling lights. There are eight lights and eight dimmers. Can I run all wires and the feed into a junction box?
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1answer
2k views

What is causing my light bulbs to burn out so quickly?

I have some 12-volt outdoor lighting that is quickly blowing through light bulbs (couple weeks at a time.) I just measured the voltage and it read 13.4 volts. Could this be the culprit? The other ...
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2answers
13k views

Should I use 3 wire or 4 wire for a range?

I am trying to do a little work and have an electrician check it. I have a range that is a 3 prong 50amp 125/250 (looks like the 10-50R). List of materials purchased: 50 amp Siemens Circuit ...
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2answers
417 views

How do I rewire this circuit controlling several lights and receptacles?

The wiring is suspended on the ceiling inside a metal tube that connects to each light socket and set of outlets at independent metal junction boxes. The first light in the chain finally stopped ...
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3answers
3k views

Why is an AFCI tripping when a particular light on a different circuit is turned on?

I have 4 GE AFCIs in a GE subpanel in my basement. Occasionally, when I turn on a bank of dimmable CFL lights via a CFL-rated dimmer switch, I get a trip in a particular AFCI breaker that's on the ...
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1answer
2k views

Can I replace a single light switch with a 3-way switch that can individually control 2 lights in a fixture?

I have a ceiling light fixture with 2 bulb sockets. Right now it's controlled by a single 2-way switch (on/off). My idea was to install a 3-way (or possible 4 but not necessary) switch that can ...
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1answer
8k views

What could cause a ceiling fan to lose rotation speed?

I have two identical ceiling fans in my house that were installed around 4 years ago. One no longer rotates as fast as it used to at top speed. At a guess I would say it has lost 30 or 40% of its ...
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1answer
3k views

What are possibilities of balancing 3-phase consumption?

A lot of homes have a 3-phase electric connection. Each of the phases has some appliances connected to it. That implies power consumption in any moment on each phase is different, so we have an ...
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2answers
473 views

Can I replace an old closet light with multiple electrical outlets?

I have asked a family member to replace an old light fixture in a large walk in closet with an actual electrical strip. The house is an 101 year old craftsman. There aren't any electrical outlets in ...
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1answer
20k views

How can I install this programmable switch where a neutral is not present?

I'm trying install this programmable switch but the instructions do not match reality. The instructions refer to the existence of a black (load) cable and a white (neutral) cable supposedly coming out ...
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3answers
5k views

Is it OK to have ground wire connected to breaker box wall instead of neutral bus?

After having issues with lights flickering, I noticed the main 100A breaker was warm and arcing slightly. Instead of just replacing the breaker, I decided to call in a electrician to install a larger ...
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1answer
379 views

How can I install this automatic transfer switch?

I currently have a Gentran 3028 subpanel connected to a 12,000 watt generator over a 30 AMP branch and the utility/main panel over a 60 AMP branch. I want to replace the Gentran with a APC UTS10BI. ...
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1answer
3k views

How can I install this programmable switch?

I just had our house re-wired (by a professional, not myself). I'm looking into replacing a light switch with a fancy programmable version (Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B). The location for the ...
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2answers
1k views

How can I install 3 way switches that cut power to several 2 way switches?

I'm rewiring my unfinished basement. It has two entrances - a cellar door to the outside and the normal staircase in the house. Even though it is unfinished, the basement is kind of divided into ...
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3answers
2k views

How can I shut off circuits when I have a generator with an automatic transfer switch?

We had professionals install a generator with an automatic transfer switch. I showed them our circuit-breaker box and told them which circuit numbers should be on generator power. Okay, everything's ...
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1answer
6k 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) ...