Hot answers tagged

41

Electricity doesn't care about color. But electricians (both pros and amateurs) do. The color is meant to inform both you and any future worker which wires are hot (usually black or red, but occasionally other colors, such as blue), neutral (white or sometimes grey), ground (bare, green or green/yellow striped). If it is not bare, white or green, it is ...


34

Yes. And here's why. Rheostat dimmers Old dimmers, used a variable resister to dim the light. Lets look at a simple example. We can find total resistance (RT), by adding up all the resistance. RT = R1 + R2 = 0 Ohms + 144 Ohms = 144 Ohms Then we can find the total current (IT). IT = ET / RT = 120V / 144 Ohms = .83A We'll then calculate the voltage ...


28

I had this EXACT issue when I moved into my new (to me) house. The original owner was a bit of a handyman and had done several small (and big) projects all over. In many cases regarding electrical work he'd done, I had to go back in and clean up. Here's a fail-safe process to fix a three way setup that isn't working: Turn off the breaker controlling this ...


21

Here's a diagram. On the left the hot wire comes in and is switched to one of two wires going to the othe switch. The right switch selects eithe the on or off wire from the other switch. So either switch can be toggled to turn the light on or off.


19

The sockets I've been using for the last 15 years have standard screw connection, holes behind that location where the screw pulls a plate against straight stripped wires and the push-in holes. After you've encountered a few burnt sockets from using the push-in connection in the first couple outlets in a daisy chain, you start to realize something. The ...


17

It can depend on the dimmer type - older ones just used to drop the load across a resistor, so you ended up dissipating the same power, just converting it to heat in a resistor rather than heat and light in a bulb. Modern ones should save some power, they switch on and off rapidly, and just change the duty cycle to give more or less 'on' time.


16

Yes, this is normal. There are two ways to wire a two-way switch with 2-core cable like you have: one where the switch is between the supply and the light fixture(s). This is how your switches are wired. As you can see from the diagram, the white wire is used -- it completes the circuit back to the electrical supply's neutral line. one where the ...


15

Short answer is yes, you will save in electrical cost. Probably any dimmer made in the past 20 year has the technology to save you money. This is from Lutron, one of the largest dimmer manufactures in the world. As you see, not only will you save electricity but your lamps will last longer. Thats why 130 volt lamps last longer than 120 volt lamps. ...


14

Here is a diagram. You'll need 2 3-way and 2 4-way switches. [North America] (Note: This is North American terminology) [Europe]


14

Yes, the first switch in the circuit from the panel would be a three-way switch. The last switch in the circuit before the pump would also be a three-way switch. Then the other 10 switches would all be four-way switches.


13

Most motion detectors have a built-in override: Normally the switch is kept on all the time. The motion detector monitors ambient light (daylight) and then activates when it's dark enough, and motion is detected. If you turn the switch off and on within a second or so, the light will stay on, and this overrides motion detection. To go back to normal ...


13

You've probably connected one of the 2 power wires to the incorrect traveler terminal on the switch. This switch can be used as both a standard two-way switch as well as a three-way switch. (A three-way switch is used when there are 2 switches controlling the same device.) In standard two-way arrangement, one of the power wires should be attached to the ...


11

Check the fine print To find out if the dimmer can work with the fan, you'll have to inspect the dimmer. For this, you'll have to remove the cover plate and possibly pull the switch out of the box (in which case, make sure you shut off the power at the breaker). If you see the text "For Incandescent Only"; or something similar, you should not use this ...


11

Yes, you use 4-way switches. Here is an animation that shows how they work. You can have as many 4-way switches as you want, in the middle. http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/misc/switches/4WayAnimation.html Changing the switch causes the pump to change. If it was on, it will be off, or vice versa. The switch position will not tell the user whether it's on ...


10

Take a look at the diagrams in the Wikipedia article you linked to. These will tell you what you're dealing with. There are some big red flags that are easy to look for: First, kill the power to this circuit at the panel. This will allow you to poke around in the wiring safely. Use a non-contact voltage tester to make absolutely sure there's nothing live ...


10

I was not able to find any sections in NEC that prohibit switches from being installed in closets, so until somebody can point to a specific section I'd say it's not a problem. There may be adaptations to the code in your local area, so you'll have to check with the local Electrical Inspector to be absolutely sure. The NEC does, however, have a section on ...


10

If it's an apartment, meaning you are renting, then this should be a request to the landlord, and they may or may not have it done for you. I'd instead consider an alternative...namely the wireless switches they now sell. You plug it in-between your lamp and any outlet, and then you mount the switch (which is wireless) next to your regular wall switch with ...


10

They make various types of "child proof" switch guards, which might be a more practical approach than moving all the switches.


10

"Switch Loop" is what you're asking about and very common. Mark the white wire with black tape to indicate it's a loop. No codes violated. If that's all you're asking about, then by all means do it. But please don't get creative and use a green wire for hot, blue for neutral and red for ground or something crazy like that. If you search this site for ...


9

I'm surprised that the switch controls the entire outlet -- generally in that setup (in North America at least), the switch only controls one plug, and the other plug is constant power. In that case of course, the answer is to use a power bar. It may even be worth checking in the plug to see if there is constant power available. You may be able to fix the ...


9

Never, ever, work on live electrical wires. Turn the power off at the breaker/fuse. You should have a voltage detector to verify the power really is off, like one of these:


9

There are many different solutions depending on how much you'd want to spend, how much DIY you want to do, and what exactly you are trying to achieve. I would not try to directly switch this load: inductive loads generate voltage spikes when switching them, which can damage electronics and such that are not designed to handle it. They also have high in-rush ...


9

Turn off the power at the panel for this circuit (flip the circuit breaker). Remove the cover plate from the switch. Test with a non-contact tester to make sure that there is no power in the circuit box. Unscrew the switch. Remove the two wires from the switch (unscrew or, if they are press in types, cut them close to the switch) Straighten the wires ...


9

The type of wire you use depends on what kind of circuit you are attaching to. Go to your electrical box, find the circuit for the current light switch, and read what it is rated for (probably 15 or 20 amps). If it is 15 then you use 14-3 wire. If it is 20 then you need 12-3 wire. The "3" will give you an extra red wire and that will be used to separate ...


9

Yes, I would replace any switch that is consistently making the "popping" noise. This noise is from sparking of the switch contacts and is a bad thing and could lead to switch failure or even a fire. When choosing a new switch choose one that has a quality snap action to it. Lastly stop teasing the switches by moving them slowly. This is a bad practice ...


9

It's probably just a broken switch. My guess would be that the switch contact is worn out to the point that it does not make contact, but jiggling it a bit (by turning off and on again) may solve the problem, at least for a little while. Replacing a light switch is a pretty simple matter for a DIYer. I recommend swapping it out and seeing if that solves ...


8

Search for a switch lockout or a switch guard. Either will solve your problem, but the lockout is easier to open and change the setting, the guard is more permanent. A third option is any of the child proof switches.


8

As long as you have a 15A circuit breaker on that circuit, it's OK to use 12/2 NM cable for your lights. Since the maximum current on the circuit will be 15A, you won't need special switches. You should label the wire that it is 15A, not 20A, so that someone else doesn't come along and treat it as a 20A circuit. Pro: 12/2 cable is a slightly better ...



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