Hot answers tagged

59

It depends on the type of bulb. Regular incandescents won't consume any electricity if the bulb is dead, since there's no continuous path for the current to take. It's just like an open switch. With CFLs and LEDs, it depends on why the bulb burned out, but in general they will consume some amount of electricity even when burned out. Some CFLs may even ...


42

Electricity doesn't care about color. But electricians (both pros and amateurs) do. The color is meant to inform both you and any future worker which wires are hot (usually black or red, but occasionally other colors, such as blue), neutral (white or sometimes grey), ground (bare, green or green/yellow striped). If it is not bare, white or green, it is ...


33

Is there too much voltage/amperage going through this circuit? There is most likely too much voltage, as ArchonOSX commented. How? You miswired it and got 240V. You can check this using a voltage tester. Shouldnt the 15-amp breaker switch keep this from happening? No, the job of the breaker is not to block too much voltage but to disconnect the ...


26

You've probably connected one of the 2 power wires to the incorrect traveler terminal on the switch. This switch can be used as both a standard two-way switch as well as a three-way switch. (A three-way switch is used when there are 2 switches controlling the same device.) In standard two-way arrangement, one of the power wires should be attached to the ...


26

Your light switches are electrically upside down and backwards Whoever wired your house clearly hadn't read, or decided to utterly ignore, NEC 404.2(B): (B) Grounded Conductors. Switches or circuit breakers shall not disconnect the grounded conductor of a circuit. As a result, you (or a friendly electrician, if you don't feel comfortable taking on a ...


24

The picture that you show indicates some very serious and dangerous wiring connections. This was clearly done by someone that had NO clue to proper wiring craft and codes. Since you have found similar issues in two spots it leaves to question about how much the rest of the abode is wired in similar careless and dangerous way. I would recommend that you ...


23

The sockets I've been using for the last 15 years have standard screw connection, holes behind that location where the screw pulls a plate against straight stripped wires and the push-in holes. After you've encountered a few burnt sockets from using the push-in connection in the first couple outlets in a daisy chain, you start to realize something. The ...


21

Wiring diagram, though I hope you don't really need it: Don't forget to break the tabs off the hot side of the outlets.


21

Removing the cover to look at the switch is safe IF you first turn off power to the circuit at the breaker panel. If you aren't completely sure which circuit it is, then either turn them all off, or double-check with a multimeter or non-contact voltage detector. However, most likely you will not be able to see what's wrong with the switch because the ...


20

Another answer by Fresh Codemonger suggests having two pumps, one on regular power and the other on your inverter. I would like to suggest a similar option that I think is more efficient. As the other answer says, you should have a second pump. However, instead of connecting it to your inverter, your second pump should be one that is designed to run ...


20

Receps and switches labeled with CU-AL certification were legal at the time they were installed, but that certification later turned out to be wholly inadequate. They will be the source of trouble. Receps and switches labeled "CO-ALR" certification are alright, as this is the revised standard that is much tougher on connector standards. Hint: the ...


19

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 "green or bare" is fine for ground nearly everywhere (I think there are some hot tub/pool specific cases where green is required and bare is not OK, but I ...


18

The naked wire is the ground (sometimes colored green) and is not the same as the neutral. Your particular installation requires a neutral so that the switch can be powered without sending power to the load. If there is no neutral in your electrical box it means that the power source (line) does not come into that box and instead you are just switching the ...


16

This should definitely be redone with a standard 14/3 NM-B cable Whoever installed this lightswitch used the first thing they could get their hands on, apparently SPT-2 parallel cordage of some sort, instead of NM cable. As a result, there is no ground in this box at the moment, nor is their a neutral, which is now a requirement to provide at switch ...


16

This is what happens when you randomly tear stuff off the wall without taking pix first. I'm guessing you assume the wire colors are meaningful in some way; colors mean less than than you think, and less than nothing at all in 3-way circuits. That stinks, so get some yellow electrical tape; we need to make colors meaningful. Looking at the 3-way switch ...


15

If you're trying to cover the whole box Blank plate Blank cover plate Blank wall plate Blank electrical box cover Blank switch cover If you're trying to cover one slot of a multi-gang box Blank insert Blank switch insert Blank toggle insert Blank Decora insert If you just want to lock the switch in the ON/OFF position Switch guard Switch lockout Switch ...


14

Yes, the first switch in the circuit from the panel would be a three-way switch. The last switch in the circuit before the pump would also be a three-way switch. Then the other 10 switches would all be four-way switches.


14

Hold on. You can't just eliminate lights You may notice that in almost any room you go into, anywhere, you have an intuition as to where to reach for the light switch. The light switch is in an expected location. That's not by accident. That's established in the Building Codes. It is mandatory. It also comes up in NEC Section 210.70(A)(1), which ...


13

Check the fine print To find out if the dimmer can work with the fan, you'll have to inspect the dimmer. For this, you'll have to remove the cover plate and possibly pull the switch out of the box (in which case, make sure you shut off the power at the breaker). If you see the text "For Incandescent Only"; or something similar, you should not use ...


13

You may also have a problem with your neutral wire. In any sort of split-phase 120/240V wiring, if the neutral is loose or poorly connected, it can cause the two 120V sides to have wild voltages between 0 and 240V. The dead giveaway is that they will still add up to 240V, so one will be higher than 120 and the other lower. So if your careful ...


13

Oil, no. Lubricate, yes. Common oils have multiple problems for electrical devices, the worst of which is possible flammability. You can get specific electrical "contact lubricant" for this though. It is usually not sold in hardware stores, you may have to order it on-line and the smallest package will be a lot more than you need, but don't ...


12

The bare copper wires are the ground (grounds are either green or bare wires). You need to add the green wire from the dimmer to this bundle in the wirenut. The white wires are probably the neutral, providing a return from the lamp to your electrical panel. If you had a smart switch that needed a neutral connection, you would connect there. Note: this ...


12

Yes, aside from checking with a tester to make sure the circuit is actually off... there are several subtle issues that frequently catch novices. Don't remove screws all the way - they are captive. After some distance they will start getting stiff. Stop there, don't force them. There's your tab. This $1 outlet was ruined, by soldering (!) and removing ...


12

You can't eliminate the only switch Both the electrical and building codes require that every habitable room have a light switch in the usual place, and that it operate a light. (or, in the alternate, because of builder demands, a receptacle into which you might plug in a light). Builders prefer to give you switched receptacles, because it is cheaper for ...


11

Your circuit contains two 3-way switches. Referring to the diagram below: if the switch with the incoming "hot" is the one you want single control from (shown at left)- 1) replace that switch with a single-pole switch 2) connect either of the "traveler" wires to the load side 3) remove the other (unwanted) switch and connect the traveler wire used in ...


11

Yes, you use 4-way switches. Here is an animation that shows how they work. You can have as many 4-way switches as you want, in the middle. http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/misc/switches/4WayAnimation.html Changing the switch causes the pump to change. If it was on, it will be off, or vice versa. The switch position will not tell the user whether it's on ...


11

Put it back together the way you found it. I don't really care if you substitute a new switch when you reassemble it. I'm more concerned with the wires being where they belong. The #1 mistake people make in situations like this, is they take too much stuff apart because they're curious, and then they end up with a mess. And it's even harder to ...


11

Here's a quick diagram. Switch 1 in the first box has 3 wires, and so does switch 2. In this diagram sw1 is "up" and sw2 is "down" so no current flows left to right. Just join the "down" wire on sw2 (the one you don't want) with the wire that proceeds to the light (or from power), disconnect or remove the other "up" wire, and then sw1 is in complete ...


11

30 years ago I used to find switched neutrals fairly often in houses built in the 60's. Might have been an older person, self built home. It works, but is against code since it exposes people working on the circuits to energized wires even when the light is off. I would suggest you fix the switching problem with existing switches to verify function before ...


10

They make various types of "child proof" switch guards, which might be a more practical approach than moving all the switches.


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