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.

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19
votes
4answers
147k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
68k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
293k 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 (...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

When wiring a switch loop, which wire is which?

If you're wiring up a lighting circuit, where the power enters at the lighting outlet. According to the National Electrical Code, which wire should be "hot" and which should be "...
7
votes
5answers
42k views

Getting shocked by a neutral wire

I'm trying to figure out how I got a shock from a neutral wire. I didn't think it was possible until I read this article on being "in series with the neutral." Here's what happened: I was ...
12
votes
1answer
22k views

How exactly does a 3-way switch work?

I just finished replacing all of the switches and outlets in my apartment, after fighting a long war with a weird 3-way switch. Needless to say, I won, but I'm still trying to grasp the concept of how ...
2
votes
4answers
37k views

How do I determine the fill rating of a conduit?

I Will be installing a subpanel in a detached garage. The subpanel will be 60 amp. The garage is about 30' from the main-panel in-house, and I will of course get an exact length before selecting the ...
0
votes
2answers
78k views

What wire size for 100 Amp sub panel 100ft in length form 200 Amp main panel?

What wire size for 100 Amp sub panel 100ft in length form 200 Amp main panel? Do I have to buy all 3 wires (2 hot and 1 neutral) the same size? Or can neutral wire be smaller size?
32
votes
10answers
91k 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?
20
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4answers
270k 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?
16
votes
1answer
112k views

How many cables are you allowed to run through a single hole in a wooden floor joist?

How many cables are you allowed to run through a single hole in a wooden floor joist? For example, could I run five 12-2 cables through a 1-1/8" hole? I know they physically fit, but is there a code ...
48
votes
1answer
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
109k views

Why would my TV image turn black when electrical appliances turn on?

I have my computer connected to my TV via HDMI. Every time something electrical happens (fridge turns on, stove sparks, etc), the image on the TV goes black for a second and then comes back on. And ...
19
votes
8answers
102k views

Is switching the neutral OK?

What’s the worst that can happen if I put a switch in the neutral instead of the phase? I just found out that 3 light bulbs sockets in my home are connected this way. It came to my mind to fix it, but ...
10
votes
3answers
370k views

How should I connect the ground wire for my light fixture?

I am replacing a light fixture in my bathroom and have the following setup: The electrical box is plastic The wire coming from supply has black (hot), white (neutral) and copper (ground). The light ...
4
votes
3answers
19k views

How do I add grounding to my old electrical wiring?

This old house is (50's) is wired with cloth covered 12/2 Romex with no ground and all metal boxes. Can I just run a 12 ga or 14 ga solid wire between boxes and then to the ground bus of my service ...
7
votes
1answer
21k 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) ...
11
votes
3answers
253k views

Is a ground required when replacing an old single pole single throw switch?

I need to replace a switch that controls a single light source in a bathroom. The switch has two wires connected to it. I bought a replacement switch that has two screws (one for each wire), and a ...
6
votes
2answers
21k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
27k views

Can a doorbell transformer sit loose inside main panel?

Can a low voltage transformer for a doorbell sit loose (not screwed to anything) inside the main panel or does it have to be affixed somehow? It came with holes but I'd need to drill holes in the ...
6
votes
6answers
57k views

Why does my GFCI circuit breaker trip with any small load, even after replacing the breaker?

I have a 20A 240V GFCI breaker in my main breaker box going to a conduit to another breaker box outside. All worked well last summer. Now, when I put any load (weed-eater, light, etc.) on an outlet ...
6
votes
2answers
63k views

How to tell if a ceiling junction box is braced to hold the weight of a ceiling fan?

My new home is almost done being built, and one of the extras I asked for was for two of the rooms to have junction boxes in the ceiling suitable for hanging a ceiling fan in the future. The light ...
5
votes
4answers
12k views

Running NM-B in PVC SCH 40 Conduit from Outdoor Breaker Panel

For space-saving reasons, I have outdoor breaker panels, and most of my branch circuits are wired through the attic down to individual outlets. Currently, the wires run through the wall from the ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Half of my lights and oulets are not working after heavy winds?

We have solar panels and mains power. Last night was very windy; we heard quite a few bangs from outside and thought it might be the wires getting knocked together. Woke up this morning and we have ...
4
votes
6answers
41k views

Can I install a Subpanel (in a seperate building) using a 3 wire connection (2 hots and 1 grounded neutral)?

Can I use a 3 wire connection (2 hots and 1 grounded neutral) to install a sub panel in a separate structure if I install a separate ground rod to the grounding bus in sub panel? I have 8/3 w/o ...
4
votes
2answers
75k views

Is it against code to splice wires inside of the load center?

So I was working on breaking a tandem 15A single-pole breaker into two 15A single pole breakers, one being a Combination AFCI. After getting the panel open and moving one circuit to a new, 15A single ...
13
votes
4answers
7k views

why is a service neutral grounded but not the subpanel-neutral?

I know it's code (refer to NEC 250.24(A)5 and 250.32), but I don't understand why you can't use a bonding jumper to connect the ground bus and neutral bus in the subpanel? I've been told it's because ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I run stripped Romex/NM through conduit?

If I have NM cable running into a junction box, can I strip the sheath of the NM cable starting inside the junction box and run the conductors without a sheath through conduit that is connected to the ...
8
votes
2answers
70k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
123k views

How do I connect a dryer with a four prong plug to a three prong socket?

I've just moved house and my clothes dryer has a four prong plug but on the wall there's a three prong socket. Do adapters exist for this? Or do I need to get a new cord for my dryer? Or is there ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Can I run a ground wire of a single circuit to the panel outside the house?

This is a follow-up to this question. I am adding (outlets) on to a 2-wire 12AWG (no ground) circuit and I want the new outlets grounded. Can I run a ground wire to the panel along the outside of ...
4
votes
3answers
62k views

What is the maximum 12/2 wire length from a 20A breaker to a baseboard heater?

What is the maximum distance from a 220V/20amp circuit breaker to an 2000 watt electric baseboard heater using 12/2? At what distance would it require 10/2?
2
votes
6answers
77k views

Can I take a 220 line and convert it to a regular house outlet what would be the damage?

I have a electric 220 dryer hook up in my kitchen now I want to convert it over to use for a higher grade power supply for my microwave blender and toaster without converting Any wires or touching the ...
20
votes
4answers
326k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
20k views

What is the danger of a bootleg ground on a 110 outlet wired from a 3 wire 240 circuit?

This is not a question about whether it is in code, or safe to wire a 110 outlet with its neutral to the ground of a 240 circuit. I accept that it is unsafe, and it's certainly not up to code, I'm ...
17
votes
3answers
70k views

Are both legs of a home's power supply equally used?

This is basically just to satisfy my curiosity. Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this: I believe power supply to a home's main panel usually consists of: A neutral wire A hot wire 120 ...
9
votes
1answer
201k views

Is it normal to have a light switch setup using only the hot wire?

I was changing the light switches around the house when I came upon this setup. The two switches to the right are all wired using the hot wire (black) from the two electrical wires on the back panel. ...
12
votes
1answer
16k views

How can I trace cable through floors and walls?

How can I work out where an electrical cable runs through walls/floors? I am building a circuit map of a 1941 house with unfinished basement. I shut off all circuits at the main service panel, switch ...
11
votes
4answers
372k views

Which side of a two-wire cable should be used for "hot"?

I bought a custom length of a 16/2 cable (two 16-gauge stranded wires, individually insulated). The two wires have identical colors and insulation; the only thing to tell them apart is that along one,...
10
votes
3answers
14k views

How should I address my bathroom's flickering lights and GFCI tripping mysteriously? (Schematic included.)

So I inherited a bit of a nightmare for wiring in my bathroom. I'll be calling in an electrician, but wanted to have an understanding of the problem first, as not to be ripped off, lead astray, etc.. ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I run a wire underground to an outdoor post lamp?

I live in Geauga county Ohio. My question is three part. First what type of wire do I need to run from the house underground to a post lamp 100 feet away? Second,does it need to be in conduit and ...
8
votes
9answers
188k views

Can two circuits share a neutral?

I'm finally implementing the advice given in this question, I've managed to run the wiring up to the junction box, but I'm a bit confused by the contents of that box. There are three circuits ...
7
votes
1answer
12k views

How do I install electrical through existing stucco (e.g. "old work")

Is there such a thing as an "old work" stucco junction box? Rather than cutting and flashing a 4" hole for a new junction box, can I cut a 1/2 hole for the non-metallic cable, and attach some sort of ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Why does using a dimmer with this ceiling fan and lights cause energy saving bulbs to flicker?

At a hotel I manage we purchased 34 ceiling fans with two integrated light sockets that operate on a dimmer all controlled by a remote control. Obviously using a dimmer with fluorescent bulbs won't ...
5
votes
4answers
57k views

Can I safely ground a light fixture if the ceiling box has two hot and one neutral wire (no ground wire)

Checking for dupes, I saw this question, but the situation appears different as my box is metal, among other things. I'm fairly new to electrical projects, so bear with me. I recently installed a new ...
4
votes
2answers
47k views

Replacing a Challenger breaker with an after-market breaker

I have a Challenger panel board and one of my breakers is no good. When I went to buy a new one they don't carry them anymore. They said they only carry the after-market ones. So I got that one, but ...
20
votes
10answers
86k views

What's the best way of replacing a plug or switch in a house with aluminum wiring?

My house has aluminum wiring, which from what I understand isn't recommended any more. How do I replace a plug or switch since the new unit only takes copper wiring?
16
votes
4answers
111k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
32k views

Does turning circuit breakers off cause wear?

A comment over on another SE got me thinking. With screw-in fuses, unscrewing it and then later screwing it back in causes negligible wear on either part of the installation. But what about modern "...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What is this thing on my junction box?

This thing is on my junction box but i don't know what it is or what it's for.

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