Questions tagged [electrical]

Distribution and use of electricity throughout the home. Electrical standards vary greatly worldwide, so you need to provide your location in your question or profile to ensure you get answers that are relevant to you. Posting photographs of wiring junctions or drawing a wiring diagram and posting it is also highly recommended.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
218 votes
2 answers
58k views

What is the purpose of these holes on my wire stripper?

I have been using this wire stripper for a while, but I have always wondered what was the purpose of those holes in the center and above LOOP, and those teeth on the handles.
user avatar
  • 3,056
83 votes
2 answers
33k views

Why did my electrician put metal plates wherever the stud is drilled through?

My electrician put the metal plates pictured below wherever he drilled through a stud. My guess is that this strengthens the stud, because it was weakened by the holes he drilled. Studs with metal ...
user avatar
  • 4,292
56 votes
11 answers
82k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 897
54 votes
7 answers
395k views

Can Romex (NM-B) cable be run through conduit?

A few days ago I asked an electrician if I could run cable through conduit - he gave me a funny look and said "No, Romex is not allowed in conduit." When I searched online, there seems to be ...
user avatar
53 votes
5 answers
211k 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 ...
user avatar
51 votes
10 answers
32k views

Which way is up? (electric outlet)

My house has electric outlets in both orientations. Which one is correct? Should the ground hole be at the bottom or the top? OR
user avatar
  • 1,312
50 votes
1 answer
13k views

Half my power out, but firing up an appliance turns it back on

Hoping for some much needed help. The other day my lights flickered and half the power and outlets went out in my home. They have gone and off periodically since then, spontaneously shutting off at ...
user avatar
44 votes
11 answers
22k views

What are insulated screwdrivers for if you’re not supposed to work on a live circuit?

It’s not just that I’ve been told by some people to never work on a live circuit as an amateur (I know that electricians often do work on live circuits)... but the package itself containing the ...
user avatar
44 votes
10 answers
67k views

Should old knob and tube wiring be replaced?

I have been doing some electrical work in my house and I noticed it has old knob and tube wiring that is still hot, should this be replaced as found or is it fine to just leave it? It seems really ...
user avatar
  • 128k
44 votes
7 answers
244k views

Why does this receptacle have the ground tied to the neutral?

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 ...
user avatar
44 votes
10 answers
604k views

How long should I wait before plugging in a new refrigerator?

Today I received my new refrigerator, and I've been told not to plug it in until a couple of hours have gone by. Some people told me a couple of hours was enough, but others have told me up to 12 ...
user avatar
43 votes
7 answers
68k views

How can I pull a wire through a pipe that has too many turns for fish tape?

I need to replace a sump pump, but have run into a problem. The route for the cord goes through a 2" pipe with two 90 degree bends, and fish tape is ineffective. The pipe appears poorly jointed as ...
user avatar
  • 10.4k
43 votes
3 answers
160k views

What does "1 Gang", "2 Gang", and so forth 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)
user avatar
  • 717
43 votes
8 answers
126k views

How do I run wires for a wall-mount flatscreen TV?

Like a lot of you, we have several wall-mounted LCD HDTVs in the house. The TVs have two wires -- power and HDMI -- running down the wall to the power outlet and cable box. I've historically been too ...
user avatar
  • 1,059
42 votes
11 answers
16k views

Is there a way to unscrew a light bulb that has broken?

The recessed light in my bathroom broke while trying to unscrew it, and only the metal collar remains. What is the best way to get that remaining part out?
user avatar
41 votes
1 answer
9k views

What is this cable in my yard, why is it exposed, and what can I do about it?

UPDATE 5/25 - The electric company spliced and re-buried the cables. It's a 120V line and should have been buried at least a foot below ground. They'll come by again to locate the rest of the line ...
user avatar
  • 533
40 votes
9 answers
15k views

Is the Electrician trying to scam me?

I own a home in California and was emailed by my property manager about an electrical problem with an outlet. The outlet was fixed according to the tenant but the repair man through the manager thinks ...
user avatar
  • 401
40 votes
3 answers
8k views

How can I restore power after a switch was shorted with scissors?

Ok, so I'm a 15 year old kid and my parents werent home, my house is under construction and I wanted to see what would happen if I put scissors to my light switches, so I took the pair of scissors and ...
user avatar
  • 371
40 votes
12 answers
293k views

Is using 15 amp components on a 20 amp breaker against code?

I have noticed in a few different houses in Oklahoma that 20 amp breakers are used, but all of the outlets and switches only seem to be rated for 15 amps. This goes against everything I know to be ...
user avatar
  • 1,990
39 votes
11 answers
59k views

Why don't you connect unused hot and neutral wires to "complete the circuit"?

I'm new to home wiring and had a question I'd like explained to me. I removed a vent hood over my oven and I thought I had to complete the circuit so I tied the hot and neutral wires that were ...
user avatar
  • 423
39 votes
2 answers
12k views

How did a circuit that was shut off at the breaker almost kill me?

I just had a near-disaster while trying to install new smoke detectors. My house has AC hardwire connections for the smoke detectors. I wasn't sure which circuit the smoke detector AC connection was ...
user avatar
  • 1,327
39 votes
4 answers
12k views

Why is my voltage dropping with load and why is current flowing on my ground wire?

I am not an electrician, but I've been researching a lot recently to try and figure out why my system is behaving so strangely. Main problem: Lights flickering, sometimes quite severely, and ...
user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
315k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
user avatar
38 votes
5 answers
40k views

If a light bulb is dead, does it still consume electricity if the switch is in ON?

It's been a week since a light bulb in the bathroom died. I'm wondering if the bulb is dead, does it still consume electricity if the switch is in ON? The light is completely dead, no light ...
user avatar
38 votes
9 answers
93k views

How should I go about installing a 12 volt DC residential circuit?

I have a couple deep cycle batteries that trickle charge from a solar panel, for emergency use. Right now the only way I get useful power from them is to use a 12VDC -> 120VAC inverter, e.g. the type ...
user avatar
  • 13.7k
38 votes
7 answers
133k views

Are push in connectors up to code?

Just came across a neat product at the local hardware store, but I wonder if they are up to code and safe to use. They are a wire nut that allows you to simply push the wires in, instead of twisting ...
user avatar
  • 128k
37 votes
8 answers
455k views

Why Do 240V Circuits Not Require Neutral?

Someone told me that a 240V circuit does not require a neutral wire in the cable. Can anyone explain this phenomenon from the electricity perspective and generally explain why circuits do and do not ...
user avatar
  • 6,611
37 votes
10 answers
221k views

How to avoid wires when drilling into the wall?

I have to anchor a bookcase to a wall to prevent it from tipping over. When drilling into the wall, how do I make sure I can avoid drilling into the wires behind the wall? I have bought a Stud ...
user avatar
  • 473
36 votes
8 answers
10k views

How best can I discover what is up with my electrical bill?

This might be subjective, I don't know. However, it's a serious problem for me. My electrical bill is outrageous. It's three times as large as my next-door neighbor, and four or five times the size of ...
user avatar
  • 493
35 votes
10 answers
94k views

Why are “Wire Nuts” not used in the UK?

I have never seen a wire nut used in the UK, but they seem to be very common in the USA, why?
user avatar
  • 5,913
34 votes
4 answers
43k views

Is there a way to safely have exposed electrical wires?

We have a dumpster on our property for another home project and are hoping to take advantage of this by disposing of some bathroom lights and a ceiling fan. However, we do not currently have a ...
user avatar
  • 505
34 votes
4 answers
4k views

Can I DIY fix the broken main feeder support cable?

After trimming the old tree, we found out that the steel cable supporting the main feeder lines is broken: Must have been like that for years. The actual feeder wires are fine, the electricity is on. ...
user avatar
  • 551
34 votes
10 answers
12k views

Need to understand my home electrical meter to see why bill is so high and/or if neighbor is on same meter

I would like to know how to understand my digital home electrical meter. This picture shows what my home meter CURRENTLY reads. I intend to unplug everything in my tiny apartment in order to get ...
user avatar
33 votes
5 answers
17k views

Why does my home's power fade and surge when I plug things in?

I live in Texas. I ran 300 ft of aluminum electric direct-bury 4-4-2 from the pole on street to my new home. The pole is metered and yes, I had my utility's blessing to do so. Everything worked ...
user avatar
  • 339
33 votes
7 answers
19k views

Are soldered electrical connections code-compliant?

I was changing a switch in my house when I found a number of connections in the electrical box that were soldered rather than secured with a wire nut. The solder joints look very well done, the ...
user avatar
  • 487
32 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why can I not assemble conduit around cable, but must pull it after assembly?

I have seen a number of answers here from our esteemed electricians about running wiring through conduit, and many of them include a warning similar to: You're not allowed to piece the conduit ...
user avatar
  • 30.3k
32 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why is my garage grounded ONLY when it rains?

My garage is not connected to my house and it's on a circuit that contains a few outlets inside the house as well. I found out the first time I tried to charge my PHEV that the entire circuit isn't ...
user avatar
32 votes
2 answers
21k views

What is a tandem breaker (aka duplex, cheater, twin, double-stuff, etc.)?

I keep hearing about tandem breakers, and how they won't work with 240V loads and how they should never be used for a multi-wire branch circuit. Aside from those issues... What is a tandem breaker? ...
user avatar
31 votes
7 answers
34k views

Why am I getting an electric shock from the water in my hot tub?

I have noticed that when I touch the water of my Hot Tub when I am grounded (barefoot standing outside of tub) I am getting a very small electric shock. Using a multimeter it is reading 2Vac between ...
user avatar
  • 569
30 votes
8 answers
8k views

LED Light bulbs burning out much sooner than expected

My family at my house use EcoSmart LED lightbulbs that are rated for 9W, and the box says they are replacements for 60W incandescent bulbs. It says have a "long life". However, upon ...
user avatar
  • 554
30 votes
10 answers
4k views

Is is safe to use LED strips that shine onto stair risers instead of directly onto treads?

I'm planning to mount LED strips under the treads of the outdoor wood staircase to our back yard. I'd like to avoid light shining into peoples' eyes while climbing stairs, so I'm considering mounting ...
user avatar
  • 1,415
30 votes
7 answers
100k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
user avatar
  • 811
30 votes
4 answers
148k views

Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced?

I understand that Federal Panel Stab Lok breakers have the potential for becoming stuck, overheating, and starting fires. My home has a Federal Pacific panel but no outward markings of being a Stab ...
user avatar
  • 707
30 votes
3 answers
8k views

Would it be Code legal to have an all-240V house in the United States?

My goal is to have a house where all loads are powered by 240V, that is fully livable in all the normal ways. And this question concerns the hard, in-house, built-in wiring; we will armwave the ...
user avatar
30 votes
5 answers
446k views

Is it ok to have mixed grounds and neutrals on bars in a breaker box?

So to continue my line of electrical questioning (and perhaps narrow down my flickering light problem), I took a look through the two panels in this house. There is a 200amp main service in the ...
user avatar
  • 5,005
30 votes
9 answers
120k views

Why do my led bulbs state: not for use in totally enclosed luminaires?

I recently bought some nice inexepensive LED bulbs but I noticed the warning states: (see image below) not for use in totally enclosed luminaires I am guessing that it gets too hot but I find it ...
user avatar
  • 423
29 votes
4 answers
3k views

If DC adapters are so prevalent, why is AC used in construction by default?

I'm not sure if there's a better place to ask this or not. Why, at least here in America, is the standard electrical system set up for alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC)? I'm ...
user avatar
  • 1,101
29 votes
6 answers
7k views

Electric shock - was I stupid, unlucky, or a combination of both?

One of the double sockets in our garage needed replacing (damaged after a washing pole hit it) - a pretty trivial job that I'd done before. So I flipped the MCB for the ring main, used a non-contact ...
user avatar
  • 291
29 votes
9 answers
282k views

How do I install a GFCI receptacle with two hot wires and common neutral?

In my kitchen, I want to replace a regular 120V receptacle with a GFCI-protected receptacle. The instructions describe what to do with a regular 2-wire + ground feed, with and without daisy chaining ...
user avatar
  • 475
28 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why is there only one receptacle in this outlet?

This looks like an outlet with only one receptacle, but why? It's mounted about 7' up, in a basement-level room in a school building. It is stamped 15A/125V, but I've never seen something like this ...
user avatar

1
2 3 4 5
289