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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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16
votes
9answers
247k 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
186k 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
votes
4answers
5k 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
2k 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
4k 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
2k 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
61k 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
2answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
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
5k 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
6k 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
7k 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
3answers
68k 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 ...
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
3answers
5k 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
3answers
63k 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
11k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Safety hook on double pole circuit breakers

My home was built two years ago, so I would expect everything to have been done up to code. The problem is that I don't know what the metal ring in this photo is. It loops over the double pole circuit ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is this electrical cord for?

I found this odd cable while cleaning out the garage of a house I recently bought. It's plugged in to a live outlet but doesn't appear to connect anywhere. It also has some wrapped junction in the ...
14
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
14
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Is this a fire hazard?

I was going to change a light switch and repair some wall damage. When I started opening up the wall above the switch, I saw the electrical wire clamped to the stud. I noticed black marks around it. ...
14
votes
8answers
107k views

Should I put a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?

I have a ceiling fan on our bedroom's vaulted ceiling. Since we don't want 7' pull-cords, the speed is stuck at full-tilt, which is no good. The fan has separate switches on the wall for lights and ...
14
votes
1answer
64k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
147k 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. ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

I tripped a 20amp breaker but didn't feel a shock - why?

I was stripping a hot ungrounded conductor while a 20A breaker was on by accident. When my wire strippers pierced the sheathing, a large spark blew out and tripped a breaker, but yet I felt nothing. ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I safely use a switch rated for “1A at 125V” with 240V, assuming I stay below 125W?

I recently purchased a foot switch for a standing lamp. The switch is rated for 1A at 125V. I would like to use this switch with a low energy lamp (typically 10W or below) but with a 240V supply. Is ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

How many power cables can a coaxial cable cross?

I am running coax RG6Q to my FiOS box. I know to cross electrical cables perpendicular, but is there a limit to how many wires I can cross in a short area? See my picture: the coax is the black line ...
14
votes
5answers
129k views

What is the proper 'per code' method for running nonmetallic sheathed cable above a ceiling in the attic?

Can the wiring be run over the top of the ceiling joist, or must it be run through bored holes when running perpendicular to the joists? This is a non-habitable space, will have an attic entrance ...
14
votes
1answer
18k views

How do I know if my wiring is aluminium or copper?

In this answer, Chris has mentioned that, before replacing a worn-out electric outlet, it is important to know whether the building has an aluminium or copper wiring. How can I get this information? ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the disadvantages of having electrical conduit penetrate my foundation below-grade?

I'm having an electrician wire a lamppost in the backyard. His initial proposal was to do something like this picture shows: (The diagram is from this article.) The conduit's rise from the ground and ...
13
votes
9answers
4k views

Should I solder stranded wires when connecting them to a plug?

I'm about to perform a few electrical changes in my house in order to be able to control lighting fixtures (230V, 30 to 200 mA) from a PC. I have some doubts about the way stranded wires should be ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

GFCI outlets - can they be repaired? Are they really needed at the end of a circuit?

My house just went through a flood and there was 7 feet of muddy water on the first floor, so all the AC outlets were underwater. After the water receded, all the unprotected outlets continued to ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

How much weight can a light bulb socket hold?

I'm working on a thing in which I mount a few pounds of weight to one of those light-bulb-to-wall-socket adapters and I'm curious if there's a posted weight limit on hanging something from just the ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
11answers
77k views

How can I get a shock from a circuit when the breaker is off?

While I was replacing an old outlet, I received a shock from something in the box. I think it was the metal box itself. Before I started, I performed the following to ensure the power was out: ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

What could cause halogen bulbs to explode?

I changed several halogen spotlight bulbs and after less than one hour, one exploded. See image. It's an Osram Decostar, 35W. Although the bulb doesn't carry a "CE" mark, the box did. We regularly ...
13
votes
3answers
19k views

How do I install this lamp on my ceiling?

I'm a big time novice but determined not to hire an electrician for what is probably a simple job. This is embarrassing, I think. Here is an exposed light fixture that I have in my attic I want to ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I make this wiring inside cabinet safer?

tl;dr: How do I make this wiring meet code, or at least safer? The pic below is inside one of my kitchen cabinets. Once upon a time the stove was located below these cabinets, and that wire must have ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Can I use old abandoned iron pipe as electrical conduit?

I have an older house (1920) and I have been planning on doing some rewiring to get rid of some k + t stuff. Anyway, I just noticed today that there are some irons pipes that used to be part of the ...
13
votes
4answers
314k views

What do I do if there are only two wires coming from my ceiling electrical box?

I'm about to install several Hunter ceiling fans. The instructions that came with the fan show three wires coming from the ceiling box for a single switch light. When I remove the light, there are ...
13
votes
3answers
22k views

Can I use two wire nuts instead of one to connect 6 wires inside a 3-gang box?

Is it considered acceptable practice to use two wirenuts in a situation where it is possible to use only one but may be easier to use two? I have a three-gang box with six cables coming into it. The ...
13
votes
4answers
64k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
20k views

What do I do with receptacles behind built-ins?

When installing built-in furniture, what should I do about the receptacles on the existing bare wall that will be covered up by the built-in? How would I handle a receptacle covered by a bookcase ...