63 votes

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

I've been in my attic and saw that some of the wires have been chewed bare by mice. Whether this is the cause of the dimming or not, you need to immediately get an exterminator to rid your home of ...
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  • 20.4k
57 votes
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Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced?

Concurring mostly with Some Guy's answer here -- the reason why I take an aggressive tone in my other answers regarding FPE is because many of the OPs are coming to us because they want to do ...
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22 votes
Accepted

Is it normal for GFCI receptacles to explode and burn?

This happens all the time if an exterior GFCI is not weather-resistant. I've never had a weather resistant GFCI go up in smoke. Yes, they can be in a metal box, but they still should be marked WR (...
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  • 95.8k
20 votes
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Does unblocking power bar outlets through short extension cords increase fire risk?

Yes, but negligibly. Any connection increases fire risk by increasing the chance of heat buildup due to resistance, sparks due to arcing, etc. The question is how much, and the answer is not much. ...
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  • 105k
16 votes

Does unblocking power bar outlets through short extension cords increase fire risk?

In fact, there are UL-listed power strips that provide an octopus of short cords-on-sockets. (by the way it was hell to find a genuine UL-listed unit of good provenance from Stanley; most of the ...
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14 votes

Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced?

There is not a reason to replace the panel in a panic. It has worked this long, there is no reason to expect it to fail. Replace it when you can comfortably afford it. Yes, you almost certainly have ...
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  • 2,177
12 votes
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Ground wire giving shock

This can be caused by a bootleg ground together with a poor neutral connection at the service panel. In building wiring, a bootleg ground is an electrical ground that is wired from the neutral side ...
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11 votes

Is it normal for GFCI receptacles to explode and burn?

Move the GFCI GFCIs have sensitive electronic components, as you found out the hard way. A regular outlet does not. If you can move the GFCI protection to an indoor location and then replace this with ...
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11 votes

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

There are more issues to cope with: Damaged wiring, as jwh20 suggested. Yes, call electrician in and inspect all wires for damage. Enclose them in rodent-resistant tubes or something. (I am used to ...
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  • 1,059
10 votes

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

The damaged wires (and the underlying pests that could cause even more damage) are definitely your #1 concern. Once's that's addressed... The pulsing could be the thermostat in the toaster oven. To ...
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9 votes

What can I do about electric code violations in a rental unit?

I had this same situation. I made a (written) list of issues (with pictures) and gave it to the landlord. When it became clear that the landlord would not fix them, I called an inspector. It turned ...
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  • 2,310
9 votes

Can buried gas pipe conduct flame between two structures?

The possibility of the natural gas line transmitting the fire is extremely close to zero. Yes natural gas requires air, about 20% mixture of gas and air (more air than gas). Getting that mixture in ...
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  • 4,356
9 votes

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

Obviously, other posters are correct to note that the bare wires are the real issue here. However, as explanation for the dimming itself: Many LED lights, especially those designed to be backwards-...
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  • 191
7 votes
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What happens if you wire a four-prong dryer cord backwards?

Assuming you are asking about US residential biphase 240 volt wiring (or equivelant), then there is nothing wrong with reversing the black and red wires.
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  • 18.8k
7 votes
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Is wrapping Roxul around hot water tank pipe a fire hazard?

No. As you seem to be aware, Roxul is a mineral wool product, and mineral wool is fireproof. You're right that it will "trap the heat" but this is exactly what you want and the result will be less ...
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  • 12.2k
7 votes

Does unblocking power bar outlets through short extension cords increase fire risk?

The problems of 'greedy' power supplies can be resolved by using power bars which have proper individual sockets for each position. They also tend to have better quality contacts than the cheap multi-...
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  • 2,613
6 votes
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Using fire retardant sealant for low-voltage cables through walls

If you don't run conduit, you won't be able to pull wires with a pull string going through holes in studs anyway. So you might as well firestop them (or run conduit and firestop around the outside of ...
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  • 134k
6 votes
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Can buried gas pipe conduct flame between two structures?

A gas pipe is filled with nearly 100% flammable gas—at least under normal conditions. Propane and natural gas need to be mixed with air (or oxygen) to be combustible. The ideal combination for ...
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  • 12.1k
6 votes

What are the requirements for fire doors in homes?

In England, the regulation is Approved Document B of the Building Regulations 2019 In Wales, Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (Wales) and amendments In Scotland, Part 2 Building ...
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  • 2,613
5 votes

Should old knob and tube wiring be replaced?

A big problem with K&T is the horizontal runs - sagging over time means stress on the insulation, which becomes brittle from oxidation (not the wire - the rubber insulation), and can break off. ...
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5 votes

What can I do about electric code violations in a rental unit?

You should read up on what your legal rights (and responsibilities) are. Most landlord/tenant law in the US is at the state level, but your city and county may have additional rules. Most states have ...
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  • 13.7k
5 votes
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Why are my wall plates bowing outward?

You typically don't use domed head screws to mount the receptacle to the box (they stick out too far). You can get away with it if the back of the wallplate has a big indentation for those screw ...
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  • 5,816
5 votes
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GU24 to E26 light socket adapter -- any risks?

If I buy a GU24 to E26 adapter and install a 30- or 60-watt incandescent in it: Is there a risk of fire because the fixture can't handle the heat produced by a 14+ watt light bulb? Is there ...
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5 votes
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Reflective bubble insulation for making stairs fire-resistant?

Wrong rating for the wrong job The "Class A" fire rating you see on a package of reflective-bubble insulation is an ASTM E84 surface burning rating, measured using a horizontal apparatus ...
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5 votes

What material is used to create oven/cooker kitchen cabinets?

Every oven / cooker manufacturer will provide you with clearances that clearly state the distances needed on all sides of the appliances between the appliance and adjacent surfaces for safety. Please ...
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  • 1,466
4 votes

Running LV conduit through attic - what do I need to know?

NEC Article 362 I've copied the NEC portions that cover corrugated HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) conduit for your reading pleasure. The NEC differentiates between corrugated and non corrugated ...
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  • 4,765
4 votes
Accepted

Do i need a short-time timer for coffee maker/water boiler?

If the appliances have their own timers built in, then I don't think an additional in line timer adds significant safety or energy efficiency. And given that any device can malfunction, any additional ...
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  • 19.6k
4 votes

Is wiring laying alongside an attic access opening a code violation or safety concern?

This sounds like an issue from a physical damage standpoint While the NM cable only needs to be protected by guard strips if it's within 6' of a scuttle hole in your case, as per NEC 320.23(A) (...
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4 votes

Lamp base out of wood, containing wires. Is there a safe way?

I know you've seen LED replacement "bulbs" that screw in, and you know those fail. What is failing isn't the LED. It's the conversion power supply which converts 230V to 3V for the LEDs, which tend ...
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4 votes

What can be done to mitigate risk to property from large trees other than removal?

Your question is a bit broad since you've provided very little detail about the situation, but hiring an arborist to guide structural pruning would almost entirely eliminate risk of blowdown. We ...
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  • 105k

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