Questions tagged [electrical]

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. Posting photographs of wiring junctions or drawing a wiring diagram and posting it is also highly recommended.

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18
votes
9answers
12k views

Can I cause damage to electrical appliances by unplugging them when they are turned on?

I don't mean damage caused to the socket and prongs, but only to the appliance itself.
18
votes
4answers
121k views

What is the proper way to run wires along/across basement ceiling joists?

I want to add an electrical outlet in my unfinished basement. It makes sense to run the wire along the ceiling because that's where all the other wires are. What is the proper way to install NM ...
18
votes
13answers
5k views

How do I prepare my home for a power outage?

With several storms in the Northeast United States and more storms predicted this week, there have been lots of extended power outages. What are things to do to prepare your house for a power outage ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Small branch stuck in electric wire

A few weeks ago a small branch became stuck in the telephone and cable wires leading to our house. I hoped it would blow out, but the latest snow storm has put it in it's current position. Is this a ...
17
votes
5answers
6k views

What type of cable should I bury for a small utility shed?

I'm putting a 8x16 utility shed in my back yard. It will be 100 ft from the service panel. I want to run the supply line under ground. There will be one 4ft fluorescent light and two 120V receptacles....
17
votes
5answers
80k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

Do I need to be legally qualified to install a Hive smart thermostat?

As a competent DIY'er, am I legally allowed to install Hive myself? The reason for the question is I have been asked to provide a cert as I'm selling the house. If not, can someone point me in the ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

One circuit on two 20 amp breakers

Can I put one circuit on two 20-amp breakers? I'm drawing too much power on just one breaker and I'm not able to run a whole new circuit right now.
17
votes
5answers
28k views

If I install a GFCI on the first outlet in a circuit will the other receptacles on that breaker circuit have GFI protection?

I have three electrical outlets in my garage which appear to be connected to one circuit breaker. I am assuming the outlet closest to to the panel is first in the three receptacle circuit. How ...
17
votes
5answers
51k views

My house was hit by lightning. What should I do?

A huge thunderstorm passed by the other night and lightning hit the condo building I live in. The fire department came out and inspected the attic, and removed the antenna that was hit. Inside the ...
16
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4answers
6k views

How do electric hot water heaters explode and what can be done to prevent that from happening?

My neighbor and good friend is a union steamfitter, and general handyman. He had to replace his electric hot water heater last year and he did it himself. My wife and I have to replace ours now, and ...
16
votes
4answers
8k views

240 V outlet is not delivering 240 V

I recently moved into an apartment with a 3-prong, NEMA 10-30 outlet. It looks like this: I bought an old dryer that I confirmed was working before purchasing it and hooked it up and unfortunately ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

Is it dangerous to run electrical cords through heating vents?

I'm living in an old apartment, and my roommate has fed electrical cords through a heating vent from the living room into the bathroom, up to a power bar on the side of the sink. I see this as a ...
16
votes
3answers
78k views

What is electrical code for number of wires in a breaker?

US, Georgia I am adding some new ciruits to add some additional outlets. The closest place is to run a wire to the main panel box. My question is, can I connect more than one wire to a breaker and ...
16
votes
3answers
62k 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 ...
16
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4answers
4k views

Getting UPS Power from One Room to Another

I’d like to run power from a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) in ROOM A to where a work computer is used in ROOM B. I was thinking of installing an outlet box in ROOM A near where the UPS is plugged ...
16
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4answers
89k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
269k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
13k 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, ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

Metal braided cord in the wall

I was expanding a hole in what I think is drywall in between two closets. When I took the drill out I noticed some metal protruding and it looks like I went through a braided cable, but the metal ...
16
votes
9answers
273k views

How do you release the wires from a push-in wire connector?

I would like to reposition some pot lights - before drywalling the ceiling. They have been wired using push-in wire connectors. How do you release the wires from a push-in wire connector ??
16
votes
6answers
197k views

Can I connect ground to neutral in a 3 wire outlet?

I have a 3 wire outlet with the entrances for hot, neutral and ground. But I know that the ground entrance is not really grounded, so in effect useless. Now, since the neutral is grounded, could I ...
15
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I use 220 V outlets on a 15 ampere breaker and wire it up as 110 V?

I purchased a 220 V outlet and didn't realize it. My circuit is 15 amperes. I wanted to hook up a series of normal 15 ampere 110 V outlets. When I look at the outlet it looks exactly like a regular 15 ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Loss of power when I remove item from the outlet

I have this unusual electrical issue in our master bedroom. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this. We have this $3 LED night light in our bedroom and when we take it out, the power/...
15
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4answers
6k views

Are my wires in this junction box too short?

This my first attempt at a junction box . I am kind of worried the wires are too short. They are all in the push connectors. Is this safe?
15
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4answers
4k views

GFI outlets tripped after power outage

I live in a rural area that has frequent power outages (Several per month. Less than a minute in duration). When the power is restored, several GFI outlets always trip. I am trying to track down ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I fix a broken power cord

My dog chewed through the plug end of a air purifier that I have in my house. I was wondering if it was possible to buy a plug by itself connect the end of this cord into the plug safely. Below is a ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

Condensor went, HVAC guy is blaming electrician, is this possible?

My brand new HVAC unit, the condensor died. The unit has a sticker that says the following: Minimum Circuit Ampacity 32 amps Max Fuse / Breaker 50 The electrician ran a 8 gauge wire with a 40 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How much power do LED smart bulb wireless control systems consume when the light is turned off?

I've been shifting to LED light bulbs due to the energy savings but I've a question about the new smart bulbs that are controllable via Alexa etc. These need to be kept "on" via the switch for them ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Is this box bonded properly to the ground?

The receptacle is from the mid-1950's and my multimeter shows that it is grounded. There are a solid 120 volts when testing between live and ground. I noticed a bare copper wire coming from the cloth ...
15
votes
6answers
165k views

Why energy saving bulb flashes when the switch is off?

I have a energy saving spiral light bulb in my kitchen. In exactly every 27 seconds, the first segment of the bulb faintly flashes when the switch is off. And not once, repeatedly every 27 seconds. ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Multiple holes in exterior wall studs for electrical wiring

Our home in Toronto was built in the early 70s with aluminum wiring. Since we are doing a bunch of renovations we took the decision.to replace the existing aluminum wiring with copper wiring. The ...
15
votes
4answers
70k views

Do all wires on basement walls have to be in conduit?

I need to know if, when a basement is unfinished and an outlet is on the wall, is it required to put all wires in conduit?
15
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8answers
9k views

Is there a wall outlet power meter that I can interface with from a computer?

I'm wondering if there is a wall outlet power meter that I can somehow interface with from a computer. I'm aware of all the google power meter products, but those are for an entire house. I'm trying ...
15
votes
4answers
13k views

Is there a device that will allow a bathroom fan to run for 5 minutes after it is switched off?

There is one switch that controls the lights and fan in the bathroom. Users turn the light/fan on when they enter, and off when they leave. I'd like for the bathroom fan to run for a time after they ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Considering doing a 100A sub panel install on my own. Any guidance would be much appreciated

My background: I am an Electrical Engineer by schooling and I'm a pretty handy guy overall. I have been working on and around just about everything since as long as I can remember. I have a good grasp ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is this box constantly tripping?

After some heavy rain in Cornwall electricity does not work in the barns. This trip box seems at fault, though it costs 100+GBP to replace it I'm told. Can anyone give me more information on what ...
14
votes
7answers
6k views

Small nick on power cord from an electric alarm clock, and copper wiring exposed but intact

I bought a vintage alarm clock and radio. It works perfectly, but it took me a day to discover that along the length of the cord, there is a small nick, which revealed a small bit of copper wire, ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

Are USB sockets on wall outlets live all the time, even when the switch is off?

I got a USB wall socket fitted. When it was installed, I tested the USB port with a tester with the switches off, but the USB outlet was live. Is this normal?
14
votes
5answers
9k views

Why would a switch be wired with its neutral connected to ground?

I'm rewiring a few bedrooms in my house and came across some interesting wiring on both of them: The wire at the bottom is the power source and the wire at the top goes up to the light/fan. Why ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Should I run 240v for any supported appliances?

I am having my main circuit breaker panel replaced (by a licensed electrician) and he told me I can run new circuits for him to hook up to the new panel. Is there any benefit to running 240v circuits ...
14
votes
3answers
28k views

What are the differences between these two receptacles?

Residential duplex outlets come in a variety of styles. The two most common seem to be: and Does it matter? Is the difference purely aesthetics, or is there any technical difference?
14
votes
3answers
5k views

How can an outlet with only 2 wires (hot and neutral) be grounded?

I live in a home that was built in the late 1930s with some old electrical wiring and some new wiring. As I was identifying which outlets and lights are controlled by which wires I discovered a ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Why did my leaking pool light trip the circuit breaker, but not the GFCI?

This is, I am sure, an extremely naive question. I hope that's okay (and I hope it can be answered at a level I'll understand). The background: My swimming pool has underwater light fixtures, on ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

What's the least intrusive way to find out what's in a wall?

I'm getting ready to mount a flatscreen TV on our living room wall and would like to route various cables through it (e.g. surround sound speakers, HDMI, etc). I appreciate the AWESOME tips here, but ...
14
votes
3answers
8k views

Is it normal for GFCI receptacles to explode and burn?

I noticed my tooth brush wasn't charging one morning and none of the plugs in my bathroom were getting power, I went down to the circuit box and saw a flipped breaker so I flipped it back and it ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Are these pigtails inside the panel and outside a junction box allowed?

I am concerned about a newer electrical panel's installation, where one of the older load wires, at the main electrical panel, appear to be shorter in length, appear not reaching the desired circuit ...
14
votes
3answers
68k views

What's the minimum depth that an electrical box can recess into a finished wall? Does it have to be flush?

Do electrical boxes have to be flush to the finished surface? Can they recess any depth into the wall by as much as 1/8" or 1/4"? Edit: I appreciate everyone offering alternative solutions to ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it safe if the neutral lead is exposed and disconnected?

I think I’ve found a potential design flaw in an extension cord. It allows you to plug in the hot blade, while leaving the neutral blade out and exposed. Obviously you shouldn’t try and use the cord ...
14
votes
2answers
12k views

How do I join two cables outside so that they're safe and kept dry?

I have a new pond with a pump but the cable on the pump is far too short. I have some similar cable which will do the job to extend the length. My only concern is the junction outside. I need to make ...