Questions tagged [wiring]

The installation of wire and/or electrical devices, to allow the transmission of electricity from one point to another.

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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.
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  • 3,056
70 votes
14 answers
38k views

What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?

I am planning a small house (4 rooms, 2 floors, no basement, no attic, 120 sq.meters) and I want to run a lot of LAN cables throughout because of poor WiFi experiences in my apartment. Because the ...
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55 votes
7 answers
404k 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 ...
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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 ...
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40 votes
10 answers
265k views

Can I run CAT5/6 cables parallel to electrical cables?

I am building a new house and am planning to hardwire network cables into each room. Can I run CAT5/6 cables parallel to electrical wires without introducing any general safety issues or losing much ...
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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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • 1,347
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 ...
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39 votes
7 answers
79k views

How do I run ethernet cable through a wall cavity?

I want to install an ethernet jack in an interior wall of one room. I'd like to run the cable up through the wall cavity (so it is hidden) into the crawl space and back down another wall to another ...
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  • 515
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 ...
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37 votes
4 answers
242k views

How do I properly feed coax through an outside wall?

I would like to add a new cable outlet to an outside wall and wanted to find out what kind of drill bit is needed to drill through and feed the coax cable as well as anything else to be mindful of. ...
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  • 1,079
36 votes
3 answers
28k views

When doing electrical work, what do I use to check wires are safe?

If I am thinking of replacing a light switch, a light-fitting, a socket/outlet or doing other work with household wiring where there may be 120 Volts or 240 volts present ... There is already a ...
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35 votes
4 answers
442k views

How do you know when and where it is safe to drill into a wall?

Lots of home projects involve cutting or drilling through walls (everything from nails, screws, or hooks to mount things to cutting through drywall and drilling through studs to run wire). In general,...
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34 votes
11 answers
7k views

Home electronics break daily and wiring is OK. Any ideas?

We have a very old house, circa 1850-1900. It seems that as often as every week we have had to replace an electronic device. In the past six months, we have had to in total, replace: 1 washing ...
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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. ...
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  • 551
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 ...
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  • 339
33 votes
8 answers
91k views

How do I wire an old house with Cat6?

I have a older home (build in the 50's) with 1/2" dry wall and then plaster on top. I would like to run Cat6 cable through most of the house (living room, kitchen, entertainment room,etc). So, I'm ...
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  • 741
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 ...
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32 votes
4 answers
6k views

How to future-proof a long cable run

I'm starting on a project that will involve digging a long (roughly 150-200 meter) trench from my house down to the road. The trench itself will be a considerable expense and so while the ground is ...
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30 votes
5 answers
449k 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 ...
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  • 5,015
30 votes
1 answer
12k views

Metal spike with heavy metal cord found in front lawn

While raking my front lawn I came across this metal stake in the ground, wrapped in a thick metal wire/cord. I could not pull the stake up. I dug around and found the wire, pulling up on it and it ...
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  • 415
28 votes
3 answers
7k views

How did my ground and neutral become energized by a short in the buried main line?

Long post, because I'm not sure what information is critical. The ultimate question is what, if anything, I need to do to ensure there are no hazardous conditions in my home. Friday night, the ...
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  • 323
27 votes
5 answers
7k views

Is this 230V steampunk metal robot lamp safe?

I bough a steampunk robot lamp from ebay. It is made out of (painted) metal fittings. After receiving it, I was a little concerned regarding safety and disassembled it. The plug suggests that this is ...
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  • 469
27 votes
3 answers
5k views

Unused outlets get warm when others under load

When we run moderately high power devices (around 8-9 amps, e.g. vacuum cleaner, portable AC, small space heater), the other unused outlets on the same circuit get warm/hot after 15-30 minutes. The ...
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  • 373
27 votes
3 answers
9k views

Can you cut open a plastic junction box and just lay splices inside?

This doesn't look like it should fly to me, but the "electrician" hired by the seller of this property is arguing that this is an acceptable way to put an open splice into an box. I know this shouldn'...
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  • 333
27 votes
5 answers
115k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
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27 votes
3 answers
917k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
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26 votes
3 answers
9k views

I ran a nail through a wire at home, should I worry?

I was trying to fix a nail on my wall and it seems that I may have ran the nail into a wire. Pulling the nail back causes the lights in my room to go dark. I pushed it back in and my room seems fine, ...
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26 votes
3 answers
18k views

Can anyone tell me what this little white box on my outlet is?

Recently bought a house that's about 40 years old. The previous owner was clearly very fond of doing the wiring himself and has left me some idiosyncrasies to work out. One is this box in one of my ...
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25 votes
3 answers
7k views

Do I really need to include a wall switched lighting outlet in every room?

According to the Black & Decker Wiring book, the NEC indicates that each room should include at least one "switch-operated lighting outlet". Is that true even in rooms that have overhead ...
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  • 745
25 votes
11 answers
11k views

Why do electricians in some areas choose wire nuts over reusable terminal blocks like Wago offers?

Why do Americans (and others) choose wire nuts over reusable terminal blocks like Wago offers? Do they offer any benefits? More current, longer lifetime,...? Or are there regulatory restrictions?
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  • 351
25 votes
4 answers
12k views

While drilling into kitchen wall, hit a wire - any advice?

While fixing the extractor hood yesterday, I accidently hit a wire when drilling and exposed the copper. The wires are too tight to get some kind of a box in there and putting an electrical tape may ...
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24 votes
16 answers
21k views

How to dig a trench for a cable for a garden office

I'm trying to dig a trench for the electrical cable for a shed/office I'm building in my back garden. This is about 7 m long and should be 0.5 m deep. My soil seems to be about 5 cm of ...
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24 votes
19 answers
172k views

When wiring outlets should I use pigtails or both sets of outlet screws?

I'm replacing the outlets in our house and pulled out one that had two black and two white cables. My first thought was that it was two circuits, one of them being switched, but then realized the tab ...
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24 votes
8 answers
47k views

How do I run cable through my ceiling?

I have a cable that I need to run through the ceiling. I'd like to go under the floor, but I have a split level house, and this is the lower floor, so I don't believe there is room in the bottom half ...
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24 votes
5 answers
69k views

What is the proper way to run Category 6 underground?

I'd like to run some Category 6 cabling underground, for a distance of about 120 ft, between a main home and a 2nd unit, for ethernet connectivity between the two homes. I've run Category 5 indoors ...
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23 votes
7 answers
37k views

Ethernet cable instead of Thermostat wire?

I need to pull new wire from my furnace to my thermostat and was wondering if there would be any problems in using an Ethernet cable instead of standard thermostat wiring. The reason being is I have ...
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23 votes
3 answers
34k views

Is running ethernet cable through an air return allowed under US code?

I'm looking to wire up the second floor of my house and the cold air return provides a convenient, straight run from the office to the utility room. Is it safe and within code to run ethernet cable in ...
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  • 4,074
23 votes
1 answer
6k views

240v Outlet with 120v and 215v - How?

Ok this is a weird one and maybe I just don't understand how mains work (though I feel I have a good enough knowledge to stay safe and do basic breaker work & wiring). Buddy moved into a new shop ...
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22 votes
6 answers
19k views

Is it important not to scratch copper wire when removing insulation?

I use a small cutter made for max 14 gauge wires, but I'm bad at removing insulation, it takes me a bit of time to get it right, so I end up cutting and repeating, because I see scratches on copper ...
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  • 707
22 votes
5 answers
14k views

Can a 40amp breaker be used safely and without issue with a 40amp device on 6AWG wire?

We are installing a Cooktop that calls for a 40amp circuit. I was given 6AWG wire (instead of the 8AWG wire I asked for) by mistake. The electrician saw the 6AWG wire (that I had already run) and used ...
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22 votes
4 answers
9k views

Is my repair to this plug safe?

The red copper wire was burned so I took out the burnt part of the wire and reinserted all the wires by myself.
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  • 223
22 votes
3 answers
9k views

Repurpose telephone line to ethernet

I have a (UK) telephone socket in the same corner of each of the three floors in my house. My broadband router is connected to the socket on the bottom floor. The wiring looks like the following: ...
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  • 323
22 votes
4 answers
33k views

What should I use to secure/organize data cable runs?

I am running Cat-6 and Coax in new construction. I am looking for advice/best practices on how to organize and secure the cables during the runs. I will be running 2 Cat-6 and 1 Coax to a single-...
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  • 795
22 votes
3 answers
2k views

Replacing 2-prong outlets in basement - existing wiring has two hot wires, one neutral?

I'm replacing the two-pronged outlets in my basement with 3-pronged grounded outlets in the United States (Illinois). All the wiring is in metal conduit with metal conduit boxes, which are grounded ...
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  • 221
21 votes
7 answers
15k views

Why is my house wired with two coax in every room and an RJ11 splitter?

My house was built around 2005, though I've only owned it a year. Setting aside from the insane cluster of coax wiring we found in the attic, I'm trying to understand why every room in the house has ...
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  • 311
20 votes
14 answers
48k views

Best way to stick a very long Ethernet cable semi-permanently to walls?

TL;DR: I am looking for good ways to stick flat Ethernet cable semi-permanently to ceilings/walls ideally suited to someone with no DIY expertise whatsoever After successfully untwisting the very ...
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20 votes
11 answers
12k views

My room lights' brightness pulses when I turn on my toaster oven

I have a house with old 2-prong wiring in most of my bedrooms. My toaster oven is plugged in on the kitchen countertop. Whenever I turn it on, the brightness of the lights in 3 (out of 4) of my ...
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  • 309
20 votes
6 answers
24k views

Why does Tesla recommend such a small gauge wire for their chargers compared to this chart I found online?

We are looking to install two NEMA 14-50 outlets for our kids to charge their electric cars, and I'm confused about wire choice. I thought I understood the correct wire to use, but then ran across a ...
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  • 849
20 votes
8 answers
107k 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 ...
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