A contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug.

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34
votes
4answers
26k views

How can I fix electrical outlets that don't “hold” plugs that are plugged in to them?

In short, most of the outlets in my house have one working receptacle and one that any cord plugged in will immediately slip out of. Some of my outlets don't have any working receptacles (I hope I'm ...
21
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the best way to cut receptacle holes when hanging drywall?

I will be installing drywall in a 10x10 room this weekend, walls only. I'm planning to use the longer sheets so there is only a single horizontal seam on each wall and install the top sheet first, ...
13
votes
3answers
21k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
49k views

What is a GFI outlet used for, and where should I install them?

What purpose does a GFI serve? Where should they be used?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there ever a reason for reversing hot and neutral on a receptacle?

I moved into a new home and several receptacles have the hot and neutral reversed. I confirmed this with a basic receptacle tester. I opened one up and found the white wire on the brass terminal, ...
12
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

I have a 3-pronged receptacle but no ground wire connected to it. Is this ok?

I removed the plates from outlets to paint walls and noticed that some of my electric boxes have ground wires connected to outlets while others do not have a green wire at all. Is this ok? I know ...
11
votes
4answers
33k views

How do I properly wire GFCI outlets in parallel?

I have two countertop outlets in my kitchen that I am in the process of replacing with new, GFCI-protected outlets. These two outlets are on a circuit together, and they are the only loads on that ...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Can I add a standard receptacle on a GFCI circuit

So, I want to add a receptacle in the bathroom (I tend to run out of batteries on my phone while crapping at the end of the day). There's a GFCI outlet on the other side of the crapper wall that ...
10
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the correct way to wire a 4 prong oven receptacle?

I think I wired this the right way but I can't find an online reference that I trust enough to flip the breaker back on. This is how I wired it. Is this correct?
10
votes
1answer
4k views

How many wires is too many for an outlet?

I keep finding outlets in my house that are wired in ways I've never seen. Today's find is an outlet in a bedroom with 4 hots and 4 neutrals. All connected to one outlet using the push-in connectors. ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Do USB sockets draw power when not in use?

I would like to replace a couple of electrical outlets in my house with ones that have USB sockets. My concern is that they will continually draw power, even when I don't have a phone plugged in to ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
31k views

What's the standard height for an outlet?

I am installing outlets in my patio room. What is the standard height recommended above the ground for these to be installed?
8
votes
3answers
954 views

Can I replace my ungrounded / two prong outlets, or should I have a professional do this type of a thing?

They're all two prong except a select few in the kitchen. Is this a project I could take on with NO electrical experience other than minor soldering, or is this something I should not attempt? ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of electrical outlet is this, and how do I replace it?

I have an electrical outlet which hasn't been reliable (the bottom one doesn't always have power unless you jiggle the plug), so I want to change it. I've changed a few plain outlets, but I found ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there an average number of outlets that are wired off of one circuit breaker?

I recently demolished my basement to start a reconstruction/improvement project. My first horror was the electrical layout. I've got hidden junctions, mismatched wire sizes, improper junctions and ...
7
votes
11answers
19k views

When wiring outlets should I use pigtails or both sets of outlet screws?

I'm replacing the outlets in our house and pulled out one that had two black and two white cables. My first thought was that it was two circuits, one of them being switched, but then realized the tab ...
7
votes
4answers
16k views

How do I install an outdoor receptacle box on vinyl siding?

Any tips for adding an outdoor receptacle box onto a house with vinyl siding? Shouldn't the box be attached to a stud? How do I seal around it? J Channel? How can I accomplish this without tearing off ...
7
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

How do I troubleshoot power receptacles?

I just bought a recently renovated house and the house inspector said that all the plugs in the basement worked. Well... I plugged in several devices into the plugs and they don't power on. If I use ...
7
votes
2answers
683 views

How can I ground old 2-prong receptacles? (120V)

I have several old receptacles that are 2-prong. There is armored cable running from the breaker panel to each receptacle. What do I need to do in order to install and properly ground new 3-prong ...
7
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I go about fixing a faulty 240 V Electrical Outlet

This afternoon, my wife and I noticed a peculiar smell coming from the garage. We localized it to a faulty 3-wire 240 V outlet. Something got really hot resulting in part of the rubber melting on ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I test network and coax jacks?

We bought new house and I need to test network (RJ45) and coax jacks to see which ones are working. How can I do that without actually connecting computers/cable boxes?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I install a new exterior GFI outlet?

I have an interior outlet. I would like to place an exterior (GFI) outlet in approximately the same position on the outside wall. How should I do that? approx. loc. of desired outlet-| ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Can I replace this receptacle that has four wires connected to it?

I'm in the process of replacing all of the electrical outlets in our kitchen to match the color of a new backsplash. Three of them were straightforward. The fourth and fifth, however, were wired ...
6
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
388 views

What type of outlet is in the picture?

I recently purchased a early 1970's home that has this interesting outlet installed in the master bedroom. It is the only outlet in the entire house like this and I'm not real sure what it is for and ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it OK to have a 20 Amp receptacle on a circuit with 12 AWG wiring and a 15 Amp breaker?

I have a hypothetical question: If you have a 15 Amp breaker connected to a 20 Amp T type outlet with (20 Amp) 12 AWG wire, is it within code, below code, or above code, where code means the National ...
6
votes
2answers
804 views

How to use grounded European plug of coffee maker correctly in middle east countries?

I have bought a coffee maker with a European plug which doesn't have a grounding pin like our plugs here in Israel have. Here is a picture of the splitter I use and the European power plug: As seen ...
6
votes
1answer
614 views

How do I connect the wires to this USB receptacle?

I am replacing a wall outlet with a Cooper Wiring USB outlet (TR7745). The new outlet has 3 wires coming out of it--a black, a white, and a green. Each one needs to be attached with a wire nut to ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

How should I wire a GFCI outlet and a switch to isolate the switch but provide GFCI protection further in the series?

I am replacing the outlets for my garbage disposal/dishwasher circuit in my kitchen. Currently on that breaker there is one non-GFCI outlet with a pigtailed switch controlling the garbage disposal and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What to do with an apartment with only 2-pronged outlets

I just rented an apartment (Colorado, for what it's worth RE code) that has 2-pronged outlets throughout the place except for two GFCI's, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. I bought the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
750 views

Is there a name for a duplex outlet that takes eight wires, plus ground?

In my home (built around 1970), I found a bizarre outlet when replacing the dated old ones. The front is your standard duplex, but on the back there are holes for 8 wires (4 hot, 4 neutral) plus the ...
5
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
732 views

What are some tips for working with inaccessible power receptacles?

When a power receptacle is blocked by large or unwieldy furniture, but there is a small amount of clearance available, what are some good techniques for plugging in? I'm looking for ways to solve ...
5
votes
3answers
181 views

Provisioning for a hypothetical electric car

I'm doing a remodel on my house which involves building a new garage. I have no plans to get a new car soon but presumably will in 1-5 years. How should I wire for an undetermined electric vehicle ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I remove a receptacle and abandon the electrical outlet?

We are trying to remove an electrical outlet. We turned the power off and disconnected the wires from the outlet. Then we twisted the + wires and tapped them and did the same with the - wires. Then we ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I extend a wall outlet?

I have a interior brick wall, with wall outlet in it, I am covering the wall with 1/2" sheet rock. But I am ancoring 1x2's on the brick so I can hang the sheetrock. How would I extend the wall outlet ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I make outlet wall plates mount flush after removing wood paneling?

I recently removed some old wood panelling in my basement that was up against drywall. I refinished the walls and painted but now the outlet covers don't mount flush against the wall anymore because ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I rewire my bathroom fan, light, and receptacle?

My bathroom has one switch that powers the fan and light. In that electrical box, there is also a hard wired electrical outlet that sits in the bathroom. Since I don't have room for a 2 gang box in ...
5
votes
6answers
601 views

WR outlets; is it trying to tell you which way is up?

I know about this question (I posted an answer to it), but this one's a little more specific. Consider a weather-resistant outlet, like the ones below: Notice the first picture has the plug in ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I extend electrical boxes 3 inches or more?

I am hanging a new wall using Genie Clips. After the clips, hat track, and two layers of drywall, we're talking about an added distance from the electrical boxes of over 3 inches. Quick research has ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the minimum required distance from a shower to an electrical outlet?

In Fairfax County Virginia, what is the minimum distance that an outlet must be from a shower in the bathroom? Does the minimum distance change if it is GFI outlet?
5
votes
1answer
160 views

Should I install tamper resistant receptacles

When changing out receptacles should I be installing tamper resistant receptacles? It seems that the 2008 NEC requires these devices to be installed for any new install, should I be installing them ...