42 votes
Accepted

Should my neighbor run their AC refrigerant lines through my garage?

No, you should not run refrigerant lines through your property. There are many reasons: They will require access to the unit to repair lines. A split system, like you are suggesting, has two lines, ...
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  • 1,873
40 votes

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

Such a fun question deserves an equally fun answer. Sure you can! And there's a neat trick that will help with all those troublesome NEC 2014/17 rules: simply make sure to build this house in a ...
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  • 6,239
38 votes
Accepted

Why do single electrical receptacles exist?

There are quite a few reasons to use a single receptacle instead of a duplex receptacle. A few that I know of: Recessed for clock or behind a TV. In this case, it is sometimes easier to use with one ...
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38 votes

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

Several have mentioned The required 120v circuits include 2 small appliances for kitchen counters, 1 for the laundry, 1 for the bathroom(s). But I think the main problem you run into is 210.6. 210.6 ...
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34 votes

Should my neighbor run their AC refrigerant lines through my garage?

Problems that come to mind: Liability if you damage the lines. Liability if the lines damage your property. Access to the lines in the event of repair or replacement. What if the property is sold and ...
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  • 20.3k
29 votes

Why do single electrical receptacles exist?

Single receptacles are used for reasons Nobody installs one of these by mistake - they're a lot more expensive, to start with! When you find one, it has a specific purpose for being there because of ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Are soldered electrical connections code-compliant?

There are better ways A wide variety of reliable splice techniques now exist. The reason for soldering "back in the day" was that manufacturing wasn't really up to making "wire nuts" and "Alumiconns" ...
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28 votes

How to safely and legally join building wire behind drywall

The "best way" is to replace all the damaged wire. Either completely (from where it starts and ends now) or by adding two junction boxes (which must remain accessible) where you can join the ...
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  • 132k
25 votes
Accepted

Do new wire runs in an existing ceiling need to be stapled down?

If you are not removing more drywall than needed for the new recessed lights, then no per 334.30(B)(1) (assuming you are using NM cable). There are similar clauses for other flexible cable assemblies (...
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25 votes

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

The reason is inertia. Wire nuts are easily available in stores. Everyone knows how to use them. Amateurs (homeowners) keep using wire nuts because they don't know of the existence of anything else ...
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  • 16.9k
24 votes

How is DIY done so much on 'fixer uppers' in areas where AHJs demand permits and licenses?

I will give you an honest answer and could care less about the upvotes/downvotes. Just my experience flipping houses in many US areas and even some overseas over 25 years. First every municipality ...
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  • 46.2k
24 votes
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Covering a former service panel turned junction box

Hang a nice picture over it. Easy. Cheap. No inspector can complain.
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23 votes
Accepted

Can I legally add an outlet with 2 screws when the previous outlet was passthough with 4 screws?

Adding the short wire is called pigtails and it is code compliant so yes you can do this. Pigtails are a superior way of making connections in my opinion. The pigtails do not add to the wire volume in ...
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  • 95.5k
22 votes

Are soldered electrical connections code-compliant?

In the US, most places are subject to the NEC, here is article 110.14(B): (B) Splices. Conductors shall be spliced or joined with splicing devices identified for the use or by brazing, ...
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22 votes

Can I legally add an outlet with 2 screws when the previous outlet was passthough with 4 screws?

The most important rule in NEC is 110.3(B), which requires you to follow labeling and instructions... which means read them. In this case, that only makes things better, particularly the boldface in ...
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22 votes
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Did I Make a Major Framing Mistake?

Oh jeez Honestly you overthought all of this. This isn't a bad framing job but it certainly is odd. Why would you want to get rid of a foot of space everywhere. If you leave it like this you ...
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  • 46.2k
21 votes
Accepted

Considerations for hardwiring electronics project in wall

Not only will you need to get your local inspector's approval, in writing (and the inspector will defer to Underwriter's Laboratories or other NRTL, so we're talking about getting a UL listing for ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Interpreting stair railing code

No. It's all or nothing. Imagine a visually-impaired person (or someone in the dark) coming down your stairs and the rail ends. What's the assumption? That they've reached the bottom. That can end ...
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  • 104k
19 votes

Can cable splice devices be concealed?

The use of these devices is limited to specific situations, which are described in 334.40(B) of the National Electrical Code. The 2011 version of the code had this to say. National Electrical Code ...
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  • 128k
19 votes
Accepted

Do the quick connectors in my new bathroom fan need to be in a junction box?

All connections must be in a junction box. They're mentioned several times in the instruction manual. Pull the wire through the hole and into the junction box (not included). Using a quick ...
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  • 104k
19 votes

Can I use green wire in a residential wall box?

Green wire is perfectly legit. If you are really lazy or in a hurry you can even get pre-cut pre-stripped green grounding pigtails ready to go. Ground is the only thing it can be used for, but "...
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  • 132k
17 votes

Is this wiring safe and is it according to code?

There is one safety issue here It appears that the original installer took the ground wire from the 12/3 cable, looped it around one switch ground screw, then attached it to the other switch ground ...
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17 votes

What NEC section, if any, covers an owner wiring their own home?

In general, the NEC (or any other code for that matter) specifies how the work must be done, but does not touch on who the work must be done by. The who is covered by local statutes (whether city, ...
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  • 8,444
17 votes

Do my exterior GFCI outlets really need to be on their own circuit?

A private buyer's inspector can write whatever they want. Some have a reputation for being minimalistic that gets them referrals from selling agents, some have a reputation for being "tigers&...
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  • 16.9k
16 votes

Is there any significance to a red machine screw?

Commonly used for "shipping screws" to be removed before turning an appliance on.
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  • 132k
15 votes

Is it permissible to have exposed mains conductors in holiday lights?

You are correct in assuming there should not be any live connections exposed in any situation. I suppose it should be said that this is a dangerous situation and could be fixed fairly easy with a set ...
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15 votes

Did I Make a Major Framing Mistake?

Too much for a comment, so it's going as an answer. There's nothing particularly magical about 16 inch on-center spacing for framing. It's not enshrined as gospel deep down in a building code, for ...
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  • 19.5k
15 votes

Why do three-way light switches have a "top"?

One possibility is that the manufacturers simply maintain a single die for stamping all their yokes of a given size, rather than one with the "top" mark and one without. It doesn't hurt ...
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  • 2,782
14 votes
Accepted

How is DIY done so much on 'fixer uppers' in areas where AHJs demand permits and licenses?

Short answer: Inspectors can't be everywhere, see everything, and probably have enough other work. I speak as municipal inspector for a smaller city in the Midwestern US. For you average DIYer who ...
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  • 478
14 votes
Accepted

What does code say about powered semi-permanent furniture?

Do you need actual outlets? Chargers and lights can both be run off of USB, and a USB hub+extension cables doesn't even involve real wiring. It also works in both 120V and 240V countries with just a ...
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  • 2,452

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