Home Electrical wiring Tips

Wiring tips

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241 thoughts on “Home Electrical wiring Tips”

  1. I am wanting to change from a 240v hot water heater to a 240v tankless hot water heater. The install instructions say I will need to have three 2-pole 40-amp breakers with #8 wire on both hots from the breakers to the tankless hot water heater electrical connections. My outside electrical breaker power feed box is full of breakers with no spares. The hot water heater that I now have is getting power from the outside box on a 30-amp double pole breaker. Can I just use the power wire that is going to the old water heater and install a breaker box just for the 3 double pole breakers with the #8 wire to the new heater from the new breaker box?

  2. Not sure if I put this in the right place, I hope so! I am looking into building my own concession trailer (can be customized cheaper than having it built by someone else). Im just a little lost on power supply. Some locations will have direct hook up to the local power, others I will have to operate using my own generator. From my research, I have found that installing a residntial “back up” generator may be my best route (8000W).

    My confusion comes into play with the transfer switch and whether or not I actually need a breaker box too. My idea is to simply install a transfer switch and to completely eliminate any other breaker box (being that the transfer switch has breakers). I would then install a singular “power inlet” on the exterior of the trailer as usual. At this point all I would have to do is simply swap whether the power cord is plugged into my generator, or directly into local power source.

    Being that my idea doesn’t require the generator AND direct power being hooked up at the same time, I don’t see any issues. But I’m not an electrician, thats why Im on here.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Any help is appreciated.

    • A transfer switch and small breaker panel would be needed. You would need the transfer type of switch that locks out normal power when generator is in use and visa-versa. Setting it up by explaining how to wire along with gathering a complete material list would also be needed but way to much to do here. It sounds like you would know when to stop and hire a licensed electrician. Those trucks can be loaded with electrical very easily if not careful when planning things.

  3. I just built a pole building shop. I have installed a 125 amp service panel in the shop and it is connected up and has power. I will be wiring the shop this winter/spring.
    I have a switch in my house, next to the back door that turns on the porch light. What I would like to do is this:
    1.) I’d like to turn on/off the exterior lights on the pole building when I turn on/off the porch light switch in the house.
    2.) I would also like to have a switch in the pole barn that I can use to turn the exterior lights on/off too.
    3.) I’d like to use a RF type of switch so I don’t have to run a wire from the shop to the switch in the house.
    I’ve heard that I can even control lights like this using my smart phone. Is any of this possible?
    If so, what specific parts/equipment do you recommend I buy.
    and finally, How difficult is this to set up?

    • To be honest with technology today anything is possible. I would look online. I can think of a couple of ways to do this but wireless is not one because of cost. If you were to use cheap rf antenna w/controller on your pole shed and rf switch of some kind at house lightning would be your worst enemy. Check around online and check back with me. Maybe we can figure something out. Keep in mind today’s internet devices are controlled by one controller with cable/DSL internet plug in to give life to the apps. So grounding is controlled thru the lines. I would most likely rule out the wireless thing unless you want to buy a cell phone controller unit. This kind comes with a monthly bill, extra equipment and additional grounding. This is a very expensive way to do something that simple.

  4. I want to runs schedule 1/2 inch schedule 40 conduit from one surface-mounted steel box to another. The conduit has threaded bushings cemented on each end, which are secured to the boxes with lock nuts.
    1. Is it necessary to secure the wires or cable inside the boxes? If so, how? I do not see any kind of clamps for this use.

    2. May I run 14-2 Romex inside the conduit, or must I strip off the cable’s jacket?


    • Per National Electric Code all metal j-boxes must be bonded to the grounding system. About your second part, as long as you strip the Romex back to proper point it is okay to use. I have a question, why cant you use PVC j-boxes? That would do away with having to provide a bond for those 2 metal boxes.

    • Re: Using schedule 409 conduit.
      Yes, I can use a plastic junction box instead of the metal one, but the problem remains: Do I have to secure the wires INSIDE THE BOX? Is there a fitting or clamp for that?

      Thanks for the reply and advice.


        • I’m sorry that I am not being clear. The issue is not grounding.

          If I were wiring with Romex into a metal (or even plastic) box, there is a connector that clamps onto the cable, or in the case of plastic boxes there is a one-way “gripper”. Both of these devices prevent the cable from being pulled out of the box.

          Do I need to use some kind of device to prevent wires or cable from being pulled out of the box (say from the other end of the conduit? Am I being too nervous?

          Thanks for putting up with me.


          • Thanks.

            This is a great site, and I thank you for taking the time to answer my (and others) questions.
            Best regards,


  5. Just want to know if I can safely use a 230V appliance plugged into a 15A/250V outlet (through-the-wall A/C unit). Basic rule of thumb for non-std household receptable: “If the plug fits, don’t worryaboutit”?


  6. I have a simple circuit recently installed in a loft above a garage. Both are completely finished, i.e. sheetrock, insulation, paint, etc… It seems that perhaps the sheetrockers have placed a screw that has somehow shorted my ground and hot (black wire) between the switch and the 5 lights connected in parralel. Would it be possible to use the white wire in the circuit from the switch to the lights as the hot (black) and use the existing black wire (that is shorted) as the neutral and the ground as the ground? (The lights and wiring are inaccessible)

  7. My home uses a massive amount of electricity, and no mater what I do it doesn’t seem to go down. I have replaced lights with LED, I replaced my water heater 3 years ago with a more efficient one. I replaced my heat pumps with geothermal, yet I consistently use 2X the electricity of my neighbors, as reported by BGE and in talking with them. I use over 2400KW per month at my home. My neighbors use about half that.
    I think there is something wrong with my house wiring or something, but what type of inspection would I get to determine this, and what is the typical cost for this in the Maryland area?
    Home circuit is 220Amp.

  8. Background: Eaton 4′ load center in garage, bottom about 2 feet off the floor, top at about 6 feet. I am installing a flush mounted (i.e., in, not on, the wall) transfer switch from Home Depot:


    The transfer switch has an 18″ flexible metal conduit attached to the bottom, and is clearly intended to run to the bottom of the load center. Unfortunately, that means my transfer switch will be about 2 feet off the floor (or 6+ feet off the floor if I tried to enter the load center from the top).

    One option is to rewire with a much longer flexible metal conduit and conductors, go into the load center from the bottom, and place the transfer switch at a convenient height.

    Another option would be to go thru the stud into the side of the load center, but there’s no knockout at a convenient location, and I’m not sure how I could do this without pulling the entire load center out of the wall first. Connecting the conduit would also be a challenge.

    Third option. Since this is all inside the wall, do I need the flexible metal conduit at all? Can I run the individual conductors from the transfer switch thru the stud into the side of the load center? There’s a knockout in the side towards the bottom that would work, but I’m not sure how I would get an NM/SE connector installed with the stud in the way. Is there something else I could use?

    Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

  9. Background: Eaton 4′ load center in garage. I am installing a can light in the ceiling above the load center, with a switch and GFCI outlet to the left of the load center. The easiest way to run romex from the can is to use a fishtape to pull it down inside the wall from the crawl space above the garage and into the load center, on thru, then out the bottom, then left thru a stud, and up to the switch. There are already nice big holes in the top plates above the load center.

    Is it permissible to run romex into the top of the load center and then straight out the bottom like this? If so, are NM/SE connectors required at both entry and exit?

  10. I have a CKT Breaker that randomly trips. No overload, no short ckt, Just trips randomly Sometimes days before it trips and sometime mins. I dont have a clue. There are NO GFI reciptals in the dead ckt Just 4 wall sockets. Any ideas? im lost.

  11. I am interested in a limited single device solar power supply. Say, for instance, a portable spa, or a window air conditioner.

    As an example, the spa is 240V 60amp AC. It is currently hard wired into the panel box (about 30ft of #8 copper) with a GFCI breaker (another 15 ft or so to the spa, same #8 copper wire). I know I would still need an electrician to configure the wiring as I am no electrician, but am lost on the feasibility of it.

    Is it feasible for me to take it off grid and power it via solar powered battery? How can I figure out the power usage so that I can then determine how many batteries/solar panels I would need to accomplish it?

    • Lower cost Solar system are mainly used for everything in the house except 220volt items. The lighting load that are only one or two 15 amp breaker loads. The cost for heavy loads such as AC units, electric hot water heaters, dryer. It would be much larger investment to operate any 220volt equipment. Unless you plan to spend upwards over 20,000.00 I would stick with the lower cost solar systems.

  12. I have had 7 Hunter Fans and 1 Casablanca Fan installed in a new construction home, with wall mounted light and fan speed switches that came from the respective manufacture. All of the fans when switched to high speed are operating slow, lights are working normally. Any thoughts on what could be causing this?

  13. Shop outlets for 220V string of 50 A 4-wire receptacles…~30′ run down a straight wall…my question is how to daisy chain 6-Ga wire from outlet to outlet…Burndy taps in a J-Box and drop to the outlet separately or is there a way to wire in a series and not overfill box?

    Also want to run 20A twist Lock 3-wire run for shop tools along with the 50A listed above…same question–how to run from outlet to outlet without overfilling box…

    Both outlets will be in square 4×4 boxes…running PVC conduit and originating from main breaker panel in shop.


    • You can run as many as you want in parallel but not sure why unless you have a safety issue forcing you to do this way. Using one SO cord laying on ground in safe manner would be much cheaper. But remember installing more plugs does not increase anything as far as amps. It only gives you more plugs to plug into.

  14. Hi, I currently have a dedicated 45amp cable with switch form inside my house (consumer unit) to supply the garage (mini consumer unit) lights and sockets! I want to know is it possible to split the feed before it reaches the garage consumer unit, to run a hot tub 32amp (only 16amp required)? or do I have to have another feed?

    I do know that I will need a qualified person to do the work


  15. I have a Philips imported 1950’s stereogram from New Zealand which I understand runs on 230v mains supply. Would I have to do anything other than change the plug to make it work here in the UK. I have all the wiring diagrams to hand but know nothing about this subject, help appreciated.

  16. Hi I am installing a bathroom fan/light. In the wiring diagram at the switch box they have the neutral wire from the 120 VAC in connect to neutral of a 14-3 going to the light and the neutral of a 14-3 going to the fan. However what I have in place is a 14-3 and a 14-2. Can I connect the neutral from the 120VAC in to just the neutral of the 14-3 and then at fan/light pigtail it to both fan and light? Or is there a problem with doing this. Thanks for your assistance.

  17. I am running a 30 amp circuit, overhead, to 4 outbuildings requiring lighting and 1-20 amp GFI receptacle. I will install a 30 amp outdoor disc. on each building. Question: how many ground rods are required at each outbuilding and must I also run a ground wire from the main building to each of the outbuildings?

  18. Our kitchen has 9 8 outlets in fairly close proximity. While all of the outlets work, only one or two will work with items that draw a lot of amps like a toaster. The others can be used to charge phones, etc…but when you plug the toaster into them, it simply doesn’t work. Do certain outlets have amp limits? Or, is the circuit damaged or broken where only low amp items will work? Thoughts?

    • The kitchen should have all 20amp/110volt circuits today. But over the years prior that was not written in our NEC codebook. Using 15amp along with 20amp circuits was very common. But most likely if your breaker is tripping you have no problems. But if not you need to get that checked out.

  19. I am replacing a push button switch on a dome light. The old switch had two black wires. The replacement I got from the mfg has a red, white, and black wire. What now?

    • This switch seems to be a 3-way switch? Are you switching in 2 different locations? If not and you only need one switch you can still use this switch. Take the red or black to your dome light hot, then connect the other color to breaker, not the white. Then run your white(neutral) from breaker to the white in the dome bypassing the switch. And you done! All the switch is doing is breaking the hot from the breaker to the dome light and neutral does no switching at all, it just runs straight from breaker to the dome light neutral. If you wanted to run the neutral through the switch that is okay too. But switching the neutral is not common practice.

  20. Hello,
    Replaced broken ground wire that went to ground rod and then took an amp reading and showed 1.5amps.
    Is this normal? Ground wire is bonded with service neutral wire and brakerbox ground and neutral connection bars

    • Did you use a bare unbroken copper #4 or #6? #4 is for 200amp service and #6 is for 100amp service. If you did this voltage reading should be fine. It varies due to electrical load. This ground is there to drain all stray voltage spikes somewhere other than back into the building. And to protect any lightening from coming into buildings. Not all the time but most of time it works.

    • So underground wire is not required since you are going with underground conduit. What type of conduit are you planning to use in your project?

      Also, I was reading back in your previous post and you stated you have a 200amp meter loop, what are you talking about here? The size of the triplex running from the pole to your meter riser connection point or the size of the wire running out of the meter base to your breaker panel?

    • Also where do you plan to put the new panel in the new shop? I hope in exterior wall and are you running this conduit under the new slab more than a couple feet? Codes does not allow underground feeder for electrical service to run past the footer in most localities. It has to turn up at that footer entry point and be placed on a exterior wall right above the entry point. Some localities allow 3-5ft past footer entry point but most want it to be mount directly above entry point of foot.

  21. This is a residential Place in the country. I wan’t to use the 2-2-2-4 Aluminum wire to run to my panel box. I’m just putting in a 100 amp panel box, That should be ok right?

  22. I am trying to wire my new shop i had built for wood working I don’t have any Equipment that needs a 220 outlet as of yet but will need it eventually. I’m pretty sure I have a 200amp Meter loop and I know there is two different kinds of Panel boxes or breaker boxes you can use 100 and 200 amp. But I need to know which I need to use and if I need to use 4/0-4/0-4/0-2/0 or is there another size i could use or what?

  23. I forgot to mention the motor in the blower is RS755WC-8514

    I need to throttle the motor speed of a 12VDC leaf blower. I was thinking a rheostat would do the job, but am having trouble properly sizing one. I have already tried a 2W 5 kilohm (Part#: RV4NAYSD502A), and a 12.5W 1 OHM (Part#: RES1R0) but they overheat. What size would I need?

  24. Replaced an electrical wall outlet since the top plug was getting loose. Bottom plug of this outlet, and the top plug of another outlet on the same wall, are turned on using a light switch. The other plugs are live all the time. (I should say that I did not trip my breaker when doing this…when taking off the black wire on the outlet, it hit the metal part of the outlet, arc’d and tripped the breaker. that’s I get for not doing this the right way.) So, I changed out the outlet. Originally: Ground wire. White wire (pushed in the bottom back, not wrapped on the screw, Red wire on the bottom black side (pushed in the back), Black wire on the Top (wrapped on the screw). I set the wires exactly on the new outlet as the old one was configured. Now, the outlets are live all the time (like a normal outlet would be.) The wall switch no longer has any effect on either outlet. I double checked the wiring. I even checked the wiring on the back of the switch. (nice and snug). Did I kill the switch when it arc’d?

  25. I installed a Westinghouse can light conversion kit. However, I installed it onto a pop in can. Didn’t know I couldn’t do that( who reads directions right). No issue with working or any issue other than the grounding strap that comes on the crossbar. Apparently you are supposed to mount in to the can. I didn’t have that option so I cut a hole into the Pop in can and grounded it there. My question is: Does this create any hazards? Everything seems to be functioning properly. I just want to verify and not create a worry. The interior of the Pop in can is metal. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Altering UL listed products voids any waranty. As far as the operation after you altered… all I can tell you is to be careful about the alteration of electrical equipment. It can make something safe turn into a big hazard fairly quick. Let me know if you need any other help. I wish I could tell you it is fine but cant becuase there are hazards when modification of electrical products has been done. Did you cut the top out of a round recessed can light?

      • No sir…all i did was cut a notch in the metal Pop in can (since I couldn’t ground it to the side or inside any other way) and attached the ground strap. I did not alter the product in any other way besides the grounding strap location ( on the pop in can and not the inside fixture of the can housing…I couldn’t take out the pop in can because the socket has to be removed which would cause the conversion kit to plug into the dangling socket.) im sure this sounds confusing.

          • The can light I have (Thomas) when removed from the ceiling has to have the light socket removed so the trim and baffle will come out. The conversion kit would not work with the socket out and dangling inside the remaining portion of the can light. So…I installed the conversion kit over the can light with the trim and baffle still installed (no issues) however the bracket has a ground strap ( supposed to clip to the interior can light, not possible with the type of can I have). So…I cut a notch into the metal baffle and attached the ground strap there. Does in your opinion meet the intent of the light being grounded. I never touched any of the can light wiring. Simple screwed in the can light conversion and wired a new light into the supplied wires attached to the can. I only changed the grounding location to the baffle instead of the can itself. Hopefully this clears it up.

          • As long as the grounding strap is legally connected to the metal portion of the fixture it should work. But location of grounding connections does matter. Take a picture and upload here. This will help me view whats going on.

  26. In my bedroom I have a light fixture in the ceiling, there are three romex wires in this outlet. the light switch is a single romex wire in the wall for the switch not two. They have the black and white wire both on the switch. How do i make the connection for the light fixture?

  27. Hi, I recently bought a rehab home and had to install a main service box, service entry wire, grounding rod and wire outside the home but the inside was intact. When I tried to get internet recently the tech discovered voltage flow through the coaxial cable from the cable box. What can cause this problem? any advise is appreciated! also the service box was installed under the supervision of an electrician but this problem just presented today!

  28. I’d like to know if I can safely shorten a set of Led christmas lights from 26′ to 16′. I have read that it will increase the voltage & I need to install a resister in the string. If this is true how do I go about doing it?

    • This may cause big problems in resistive string but not sure if you use LED. The old style used pure resistive lights and this is why a resistor had to be placed in parallel if any lights were removed. The lights were actually calculated as resistive values when they built a resistive string of lights but LED’s may not have enough resistance to actually matter. It would depend on the string wire size. To calculate the amperage offset caused by removing LED lights you would have to know the resistive value of each LED light.

  29. Attached is a photo of a subpanel box I have installed in my new storage building. I have pulled #6 THHN Wire from main panel (not yet connected). The box is an indoor 70 Amp box, and I added the separate bus-bar for grounding. I have one circuit for receptacles and one for lighting at this point, and this may be all that I will ever need. I have used #6 bare copper wire for grounding to (so far) a single outside grounding rod 8′ in the ground.

    First question, in viewing the box and breakers, have I wired this correctly?

    I have a 60 amp double breaker for the main panel but have not attempted to install it as yet. It is my understanding that I will tie both the red and black (hot wires) to the 60 Amp double breaker, but I am not certain of this fact and need clarification if this is correct. Lastly, the breaker has a notation that the common goes on the right side………….not sure what this actually means relative to the two hot feeds (red and black).

    • Is your storage building physically connected to your house in any way? If not, you have to consider this a separate structure and a grounding rod is required. The #6 you have here can be used.
      Never mind the notation on the breaker, just use the black and red for your hots on both the line and load sides of the breaker. Your lines should be connected to the top of breaker in this picture and the load should be connected at the bottom side of this breaker. It looks like you may have to move what you have already connected to the breaker if this is the load wires.
      Your whites look correctly placed on correct bars you just may want to switch sides since you have to move the hots to make it look better. And I can’t see a bonding screw on your neutral bar so that is correct, your neutral bar on this disconnect does not need to bond to the metal casing here. All the neutrals(whites) that are connected back at your main panel neutral bar are bonded with a bonding screw through a hole in that main neutral bar screwed into the back of main panel casing.
      Your greens or bare copper grounds should be tapped into a grounding bar like you have here with the bar screwed directly into back of the metal casing of disconnect and it looks like you have this done in the picture.
      All neutral bars in disconnects should have a factory built insulator between the metal casing and the neutral bar so that the neutral bar does not come into contact with the metal. A green bonding screw should come with every disconnect so you can adapt to both situations, either bonded or not bonded.

      • Local city does not require an inspection for 60 amp sub panel based upon conversation I had with the Inspection office. Likewise, I understand that second ground rod can be located 6′ apart. No water to this detached storage building. I have run the bundled #6’s through the attic, down the soffit/side of house and underground to the building in 1″ PVC electrical conduit. Total run is less than 75′.

    • The storage structure is a detached structure. The main house panel is bonded to the steel in the foundation and also has a single ground rod outside. Do I need one, or two, ground rods for the storage building? I have seen a few videos and other references to the need for two ground rods 6′ apart.

      Please clarify “It looks like you may have to move what you have already connected if this is the load.” I’m not sure what you mean by that comment.

      In the photo, the #6 red at top of single 20 amp breaker is hot coming in. Ditto for # 6 black at top of 15 amp breaker. Branch circuit blacks are at the bottom of both breakers. White is, of course, neutral, and green wire is my incoming ground from the main panel in the house. The neutral IS isolated from the metal case. I added the separate ground bus bar and it is connected directly to the metal box.

      Lastly, thank you for your time and willingness to offer up your advice and experience.

  30. hello. i am a licensed electrician in canada and couldn’t find an answer to this question maybe you can help me. a friend of mine is buying a house and the panel is in a kitchen cabinet. is it against any known codes to leave the panel there? i know that the location is illegal when installing a new panel but i figured that since it is an old house it is fine to keep the panel there until he decides to do a kitchen renovation, which is when he was planning on moving the panel.

    • It depends on the bank loaning the money. Some have there own home inspectors and some do not do inspections. But it is illegal according to ICC to install a panel in a cabinet. And if it is in an older home it will have to be moved when it is written up by any inspection services. Most of the time the call to relocate electrical breaker panels in new locations is done when the homes are re-sold. This is when home owners past work is uncovered.

      • thats the thing he is buying the house. but i wasnt sure if there was like a gradfather type clause that would say that it was ok because the house is so old. im just trying to figure out if he should have the home owners now do it or if he should get a lower price on the house be cause he is going to have to move it at some point. im sure when the house was built it was fine but now that there are so many codes its not. im sure that this is the original location of the panel from when the house was built. i think it was built in the 50’s or 60’s not really sure. like i said i figured since it was old it woul dbe fine to leave it there until a reno has taken place.

        • If he is going to move the house I would leave everything along. My experience with this type of job is that they will require completely new electric breaker box after the house is sit in its new location. Moving a house destroys wiring a lot of times so installing completely new wire in entire house is sometimes done too.

  31. Hello,

    I purchased a new fan and bought a light kit for it.
    The previous fan was with 3way switches on two different walls.

    I would like to wire the fan where I can control the fan from the switch on one wall (on/off) and on the second wall I purchased a combo switch from leviton to controll the fan on/off and control the light on/off. This combo switch has a single pole switch and a 3way switch. The top portion of the switch which is the single pole i would like to use for the light on and off and the bottom portion that is the 3 way switch control the fan on/off.
    The power is coming from one of the walls.

    The wires coming out of the ceiling are ground/red/white/black.

    how do i wire everything. I can send pictures if you like.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I am fairly handy but cant seem to figure this out.



  32. I am preparing to wire an induction cooktop and a drop-in oven. Do they each need a separate breaker or can they be wired to the same one? I would assume it would be the same as a free-standing electric stove, the burners function along with the oven through the same circuit.

    • Unfortunately electrical code requires you to use independant disconnecting means for each appliance. Being you have heating elements in two metal housings now they will be considered two appliances. National electrical code will require you to pull another circuit. I would pull the the new wire for the smallest amp load. This way you will be pulling the smallest wire possible. Most likely the smallest wire will be for the cooktop. To make sure look at your nameplates.

  33. I have a mobile home that for some reason only has about 55 volts on every reciprocal the most I have seen was 64 volts. I had a greenlee volt tester and thought maybe it was the batteries but the same with new batteries. The trailer is right by railroad tracks. What would cause this only about half the volts? How can I fix this? Can this ruin appliances and the like?

    • Sounds like you have a bad breaker panel, disconnect, fuse box or some bad connections. And this type of problem will ruin just about everything you have plugged in or hard wired over time. Most of the time the only way to repair this is to replace the bad equipment. If you have bad conection somewhere, this could be just about anywhere – but I would first look at your branch circuit connections to the breakers, then breaker connection to the main buss in the electrical boxes. The other place a bad connection could be is the power supply connections at the pole. I have seen the power supply company have bad connections but not as much as having a bad buss in the fuse box. The buss bar are the two copper bars the breakers and main feeders connect to in your breaker panels. Be careful and I always ask everyone to call a licensed electrician.

      If this is not clear let me know and if you have anymore questions, just ask. Thanks

  34. I recently moved into a new home. Before moving in I had three ceiling fans installed (one in each upstairs bedroom).

    There was no overhead lighting in the rooms so new wiring was done in the attic. The fans are wired using the existing light switches in the rooms. The outlet that was controlled by those switches was supposed to be always on.

    I haven’t experimented with the plugs in all the rooms but in one of the rooms I have a ipod clock plugged in. When I turn the light/fan dimmer on and off it will sometimes make the ipod turn on and play music. I attempted to move the plug to both the top and bottom sockets in the plug and to a completely different plug in the room but still have the issue. Any idea what could cause this?

  35. I have a borehole which pumps into a storage tank, from there I have a booster pump that boosts the water pressure for domestic use. In the area where I live we currently have very unstable electrical supply and at peak periods, especially early morning and early evening the power dips considerably, this causes the booster pump to trip or switch of at its electrical box. There is a reset button that has to be pushed to restart the motor and I need to know if I can alleviate this problem by installing a start capacitor or a switching unit? We also have problems in the house with the fluctuations in the electrical supply, is there maybe a solution I can look at for the complete supply problem?

    • Sounds like you need a standby generator, bad. I wish I had a better answer for you but I do not. AC Power is not that flexible t fix. When you start getting serious surges, the only way to correct this, cost effectively, is to transfer to another power source. Surges are not correctable at end of line if they are serious. You can only prevent smaller surges from damaging your electronics at end of line with surge arrestors. Look for auction somewhere and get a generator or go with solar panels. If I lived in the mountains somewhere I would get my hands on a couple of solar panels. The also make solar water pumps. The colder climate areas are perfect for solar. There are so many uses solar can help you with in colder climates. Hope all this helped in some way..

  36. I have an older home. The transformer is on the pole the feeder wires run under ground to the electric meter mounted on the outside on metal shop building. Directly behind the meter inside the building is 24″ X 24″ X 6″ hofman box. Their is a 2″ conduit that runs to a 150 amp service pannel for the shop. Coming out of the hofman box in another 2″ conduit it runs out the end of the building goes down in to the ground and runs into the basement of the house it feeds a 200 amp service pannel. All the wire to the meter and service pannel is aluminum. This was all done before we purchased the property it passed the home inspection 12 years ago we have had no problems.
    I have built a second shop building and I run another 2 in gray plastic conduit out of the first shop coming out of the hofman box 120 feet to a 200 amp service pannel in the new shop building 40 feet is underground. I went to a local building center he tried to sell me Triplex URD 4/0, 4/0, 2/0 aluminum triple rated RHH or RHW-2 can the neutral be smaller than the feeder wires? I went to the building store to purchase 4/0 THHN do I need a ground wire in the conduit going to the new shop their is a 8′ ground rod directly behind the service pannel in the new shop and one at the meter box and one at the house and one at the electric pole where the transformer is mounted?

    • Yes you do need a ground because you have a seperate building which will eventually be a seperate ground system. And the neutral is fine. Neutrals can be downsized in residential to the size you specified but in commercial it can be different. Also you said it is running 40 feet underground. Are you running the remainding 80 feet overhead in conduit? If you are running some of your feeder conduit overhead you do not want to use that triplex because you will never get it in that remaining overhead conduit. Triplex is not designed to be pulled in conduit only layed underground. But I have a question about your meter size, are you sure the meter is sized for the additional service you are installing?

  37. I had power running to a switch and a plug outlet that are on different breakers . I had to change the outlet and switch when I turned on the power it blew the breakers so I tunred off th power and changed the breakers with two new ones and turned on the power and no power I checked the voltage with a multimeter and got no reading so I checked the voltage in the breaker box to the two breakers and got no reading . half of my house is on those two breakers and now nothing is working what can be the problem and how can I fix it or find out what the problem is

  38. I have 6 lights & 1 plug on a circuit everything go’s out & the breaker does not switch off, and I tested every wire at the switches ground,com, with main line & all reads 110 but lights or the 1 plug will not come on, how do I fix it, I put in all new switches and plug. thank you Jim

    • Did you check from hot to neutral on all the lights and that one plug? It sounds like a neutral is loose. But the breaker not tripping is a bad sign. You need to make sure the fuse box bus bar is not burnt at that breaker location and change the breaker. If you see any dark coloring in a copper bus this is a deterioration of the bus from the inside out. You are loosing conductivity and gaining resistance at any point where the bus is damaged. I would have a licensed electrician take a good long look at that fuse box as a whole and definitely replace some breakers. Also check all your wire connections for any loose wiring.

  39. I have one receptacle that has two switches that you have to flip to use the receptacle. I was putting a plug in the plug in and the boxes are old so they are metal and the circuit grounded and blew. I had to replace the breaker. Now every receptacle running off of the breaker is working but the one that grounded out doesn’t. I replaced the receptacle but it still doesn’t work. Should I replace the switches as well?

  40. I have one particular 120v outlet with a white common wire on each of the two left side screws with the little brass connector between the screws. A red wire on the top right screw, a black wire on the bottom right screw, with no connector between them. The bottom plug has power but the top one doesn’t. Why?

    • It sounds like a switched plug. Have you tried switching on all the switches closest to that plug? If not, give them a try by switching them in the on position and you should get power to the other side of that plug. Thanks ror using my site and let me know if you need any more answers.

    • By code and to satisfy inspectors, each function in a multi-function unit needs to have a means of disconnect for each motor and/or heating element. The light can be together with one of them but the circuit and switches has to be sized accordingly. I would just use three switches for each unit. I know that is 6 switches but that is the most common way. If you have anymore questions, come back by and ask anytime.

  41. Dishwasher and garbage disposal have individual outlets under the sink. The disposal was connected to a combination outlet-switch box next to the sink. Problem is that when the disposal is engaged it shorts out the dishwasher AND clothes dryer when they are on. I discovered all the original kitchen & laundry outlets (five) were connected to the panel at switch 7-8. The two new under sink outlets appear to have been connected to the wall outlet now powering the disposal. The wiring is now behind paneling so I am not able to confirm. I am not sure that knocking out the tabs on the two new outlets will solve the problem so I am requesting your input how to best approach this problem.

    • It sounds like you most likely have the new standard wiring installed in this home. What age is your home? And knocking out what tabs are you talking about. it sound like you may have problems at your service panel. before you knock anything out, look at the breaker slots at your service by removing the breakers going to the items specified and look for any dark colored spots on the bus bar in the panel. Let me know if you have any more concerns before performing any checks.

  42. I am installing a whole house tankless water heater that requires two sets of 3-#8 wires. I have installed these wires from the main panel (each set has a dbl pole 40 amp breaker) to the heater location. My inspector is requiring a breaker box of some sort to be near the heater for safety reasons. How do I connect these six wires to a new sub-panel and from there to the heater?

    • If you have the correctly sized breakers or fuses at the panel you can install a non-fusable 60amp pull-out type disconnect at that location needed. Disconnects come in 30amp and the next size is 60amp so a 60amp is what you will need. For the connections just go in and out, top is line and bottom is load. Make sure to bond the disconnect with your ground to a lug mounted to the metal in the disconnect or the factory spot provided in the disconnect. If you need any further help let me know.

  43. Hello,
    Need a little help installing an electrical outlet on the outside of the garage. The garage already has electrical. Right where the power comes into the garage from the house, there is an electrical box with a blank plate. In the electrical box there are 5 wires going from the house to the garage. 3 white (2 of which have black electrical tape), 1 red and one green. So green is ground, white is neutral, is red a switch or power? 2 white with the black marks, 2 power wires? If I just want to install an outlet there, just grab one of the black, white and green and have at it, just like a normal 3 wire outlet? Just a little confused with the two power wires.

    Thanks for the help

      • correct, I made the holes you see for the receptacles, 12/2 romex comes from panel I believe and one for light switch, 4th wire runs out to finish off the circuit in the room. Light switch is on other side of wall from receptacle holes. the main wires I am concerned about are the ones for the receptacles and the light switch, as I said before the wire I marked (after the fact) #1 goes to the light. I know there is supposed to be another wire added to this combo making it 4 sets of romex not counting the continuation of the circuit. Still wish I had marked them before demo. Thanks

        • Lets back up a little. …This is what I can gather as to what you have..You have one switch and one light, the other devices are either a power feed from panel or 110volt plugs. It seems what you’re wanting to do is connect a single-pole switch to operate one light.
          Thinking about the switch leg terminations are all you need to be thinking about because the plugs are all connected same…The connection of 110volt plugs are black(Bronze colored screws) to black, white(silver colored screws) to white and grd(green screws) to grd. To wire a switch leg, run a wire from any j-box with a complete circuit in it, this would be a circuit not switched running from the main electrical service panel to your switch box location. Then run a romex from the switch box to your light fixture box location.

          Then to make your terminations, at your switch box, connect the hot(black off the plug) to either side of your single-pole switch. Then connect the black running to light fixture box to other side of switch. Dont worry about neutrals at this point, when you get this done let me know. I will help you get this done tonight but work fast so I can get to other things.

        • Now after you have connected the line(hot) and switch leg(black going to light fixture from switch box) to the light, connect your neutrals. You should have a neutral(white) in the switch box from the romex you originally pulled from plug circuit to switch box location. Make this up to the white(neutral) in your plug circuit and at your switch location connect this up to the white going to the light fixture and your done. Thanks for coming to my site and please recommend my site by sharing or going to Google plus on my site by going to front page on right hand side. Thanks

        • Also if you do not want to use this switch for that shop light as you indicated in one of your first emails by unplugging the shop light just terminate everything up black to black and white to white ground to ground and remove the switch.

  44. Have pics but can’t seem to upload them. Did find that wire #1 goes to the light switch, by putting power to it and having the light come on. #3 is still the only wire with power, nothing on #2 at all. Previously, when power was attached to #1 all black wires had power. Wires are all white, black and copper ground. How do I upload pics???

  45. The light switch operates a shop light plugged into an outlet that is in the ceiling, only one switch. It does not control the other 2 outlets. Removed 2 plug in outlets and the switch from the wall. Remember having the three wires and another length of wire, but do not remember what it was attached to. Possibly from an outlet to the light switch? Next time I will know to mark the wires when doing demo.

    • That is my problem, I remember the switch having the 2 white wires wire nutted together and all the wires I have ran back to or through the receptacles. Pics won’t do any good as I have wires all in their new spots waiting to be reattached to their proper receptacle or switch. I would assume the 1 hot wire I have needs to be at the beginning of the circuit, I am just having a brain cramp of how to get power to go through the whole circuit. I know I have to have one more wire added to the 3 to complete the circuit but I am unable to come up with where it goes, believe it went from one of the receptacles to the switch. Any insight on my problem is appreciated. Thanks

  46. I have an electrical circuit in the house that dies when there’s a heavy load (iron, curling iron, etc.), but the breaker doesn’t trip. After a half-hour, it comes back on. I replaced the breaker, but I fear that isn’t the problem. Any ideas?

    • Yes you have a problem. It seem like it is arcing somewhere in that circuit, opening and closing when cooling and heating. In other words the circuit has a bad short in it somewhere. I would definitely stop using that circuit and get it repaired by a licensed electrician immediately. Please Google plus or share my site if you are satisfied. Just go to my main page look on right hand side and you will see the Google plus.

  47. Hi,
    I reside in an NYC apartment that is connected to a one family house. The apartment is a legal one bdrm located in the back of the main house. My apartment has separate gas and electric and water heater. The entrance to my apt is on the side of the house midway up the drive way. Over the front door to my apt is a 2 lamp light. The switch to this light is inside my apt to the right of the front door. Beside the outside light switch is the light switch for my living room lights. My landlord demands that I leave the outside light on at all times. She claims the outside light is not on my electrical bill but is on hers. She states all the outside lights are under her electric bill.
    My questions is; Is that possible? I could understand if the homeowner specifically requested a contractor do this as a custom job but the house was built standard. I don’t want a light on all day and night if I’m paying for it, please advise?

  48. Good afternoon, I have a new dryer that is runing off 220 volt double pole, 30amps 3phase. When the dryer is running I tested the output from the breaker and it is giving me the proper voltage 220 and the amps with load on both lines,red being 19amps and black 19.8. When the dryer is runing for 4minutes the black wire is still 19amps but the red will be 0 and within 2 minutes the breaker will jump. Can you please help me to now what the problem is?

    • Good afternoon, I have a new dryer that is runing off 220 volt double pole, 30amps 3phase. When the dryer is running I tested the output from the breaker and it is giving me the proper voltage 220 and the amps with load on both lines,red being 19amps and black 19.8. When the dryer is runing for 4minutes the black wire is still 19amps but the red will be 0 and within 2 minutes the breaker will jump. Can you please help me to now what the problem is?

      • I also noticed you said 220volt double pole then went ahead and said 30amp 3phase. This is my question, are you mistaken on the 3phase? If you are at home most likely you have single phase or 2-pole. If you have a standard home dryer it is most likely the heating elements if its not heating properly. But if it is just tripping a wire could be loose somewhere in the heating controls. Also check your breaker, change it out or swap it with another breaker same size and see if that helps.

  49. I have a ceiling box for a light fixture with an incoming (hot) line, an outgoing line (to something else I don’t know, maybe an outlet), and another line to the switch. I quickly disconnected the old fixture without carefully looking at everything, thinking it would be a quick job, but now I can’t get the fixture working again. The incoming line’s black wire is connecting to the outgoing line’s black wire, and the grounds are connected. Everything else is disconnected. How do I reconnect the remaining wires so the switch operates the new light fixture? All the white wires connected and the remaining black wires connected isn’t working. Thanks!

        • Now that your neutrals are connected, take your black incoming, black to something else and the white going down to your switch. It sounds like you had the blacks connected if that light came on? If you had the blacks connected it is okay just make sure you connect everything like I have said. Let me know when you are done.

          • Ok, done. And with only two more wires left to connect, I can finally figure out the last step. 🙂 It’s working again. Thanks for your help. Wish I knew more . . . Take care!

  50. I’m looking at getting an old house’s wiring fixed. I was wondering if it can be done one floor at a time, or if it is necessary for all the electrical work to be done at once.

    • Very good question. Most of the time the homeowners with the resources will move out while the entire remodel is taking place at one time. The electrical portion is the messiest part of the remodel. If you have a multi story home and want to stay in the home some closing off of each floor would be the best. But due to restrooms and other areas needed to anyone living there, that would get old very quick. If no children are present you could probably do it. But if you have kids, I would not do it. The children will be at risk with live wires everywhere. I cant remember ever doing a electrical remodel with kids around. And I would most likely demand for the kids not be there while the electrical is going on. If just adults are in home, it can be done but it will be very disturbing. I would try to let the electrician do one floor first with everything closed off the best you can and see how that goes. That is if no children are in home. If electrician will no go for that, which he most likely does not care as long as he does not have to move furniture. The best way to do a remodel is to move all furniture out along with the occupants. it will get done faster and better quality.

  51. Hi i switched the bathroom light on and it blew upstairs. Now I turn the bathroom switch it makes the landing light switch and bedroom flicker.

    The hall lights work fine as these are 2 way switch, up and down stairs work.

    When I investigated all I could find was a down light which wire was damaged, if I replace this do you think it will resolve the problem?

  52. 2 neighboring houses share a water pump…no other electrical connections each house has separate boxes…pump is located in house 1..yet water use in house 2 cause circuit to trip when using water…what could be the issue

    • One thing is you could have another pump installed, that. This way you would not have to depend on them. But most likely the well hole diameter is not large enough for another pump. Putting a switch inside your home is another option. What are your capabilities? Are you willing to hire a licensed electrician?

  53. Hello. I discovered your website while I am turning on my evaporative cooler for the season. I am very impressed with all the help you give out and I am hoping you can help me as well. I need help wiring my evaporative cooler. I don’t know much about electrical work so forgive my amateur descriptions. I do have photos of all my parts but I don’t know how to post them, so I’m putting in hyperlinks to similar parts where appropriate.

    Inside the house, there is the wall switch for a two-speed motor.
    I have the black(hot) wire from the house hooked to L1.
    There are four wires: white, yellow, brown and orange going up to the roof to the cooler.
    White is coupled with the white from the house.
    Yellow is attached to C (high)
    Brown is attached to 1 (low)
    Orange is attached to 2 (pump)

    On the roof the wires go into a junction box on the outside of the cooler where there are two switches and two buss fuses. This is so one can turn the cooler on from the wall switch in the hose, and then go on the roof and still be able to switch the motor and the pump on and off during maintenance. I don’t know how to wire anything from this point forward.

    The junction box has a white on/off switch with four ports and a type S, SL-15 amp screw-in bus fuse above it. This switch controls the cooler’s electric motor. The second on/off switch controls the pump, it has two ports and a type D S-10 amp bus fuse above it.

    The junction box passes through to the inside of the cooler where there are two receptacles. The receptacle for the motor is a 2 speed pigtail molded motor receptacle 115V-230V/15AMP – UP TO 1 HP 10″ LEADS – 14 GAUGE/5 WIRES:

    The electric motor is 3/4 hp two-speed 1150/1725 rpm 115 volt

    I already have the plug attached to the motor:

    The pump also has a plug attached already:

    The receptacle for the pump is a pigtail pump receptacle 115V/10AMP plug with 10″ leads – 18 gauge wire:

    I need to know how to hook up the wires from the house, into the switches/fuses, and into the receptacles. Please let me know if you need more information or would like to see the photos that I have taken. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

    • It looks like you have to make hard connections from the pigtails to the motors yourself. And the pump too. You will have to get the motor connection scheme off the motors nameplate then I could try to tell you how to connect to the pigtails. The pigtails plug into the combo sw/4-prong plugs on the housing on the roof I think. And you will need some SO cord if the motors are located further than the length of the pigtails. It looks like you purchased a kit and are trying to put this system together from scratch. I will try my best to help from here. Send me the motor nameplate so I can see the connections scheme needed.

      • Thank you for the reply! The motor and the pump already have cords/plugs attached to them that will reach their respective receptacle(female) inside the cooler housing. However, those female receptacles are not hooked up. So I need to wire those to the switches/fuses. Then wire the switches/fuses to the wires from the wall switch in the house. I’ve sent the pics. Thanks.

        • you probably have a couple extra wires made up on the plugs for additional accessories. Do you have any markings on the plug wires paperwork? If not you will have to ohm them out to see what wire goes to respective prog and go from there. Mark on paper carefully.

          • Sorry for the delayed reply, I had to do a little research, but I found the wiring diagram for the receptacles, this helps a lot! I’ve sent you a photo. However I still need to know how to wire in the fuses/switches before the wires go down in the house to the six position wall switch. Thanks.

          • Assuming your electrical panel is downstairs, both circuits would run up to the line side of fuse block thru the fuse block and back down to downstairs switch, go thru downstairs switch then back up from down stairs to upstairs switch, then thru roof switches and then to the motors.This would complete the circuit so that you can cut off the motors from downstairs like you mentioned you wanted. The neutrals and grounds I am not going into yet because I am assuming you know enough to get that part wired. if you need help with that let me know.

          • Thanks for all your help so far. I’ve diagrammed what I believe to be correct so far and have sent it to you. To complete it, I think the blue wire from the pump receptacle goes to the pump switch, the black(hi) motor wire goes to the 15 amp fuse, and the red(low) wire goes to the 10 amp fuse. Is this correct?

          • No, your fuse does not determine the speed of a motor. This motors are connecting to one fuse, two motors require two breakers or fuses.. The way the windings are installed at factory determine the speed and torque. DO you have a motor capactor for either motor? Did you get this drawing from the factory or did you draw?

          • This is a drawing I put together by reading the wiring diagrams of the wall switch, the bracket that holds the two receptacles (one pump, one motor) in the cooler housing, and the motor plate. I have updated the drawing and sent it along. In the past two evenings I have been to two other houses of friends with working swamp coolers that have the same configuration to compare. I’ve been told that the two fuses will protect the motor whether the wall switch is set to low, or high speed. The motor switch on the roof is a DPST four terminal switch that in the “on” position, allows flow through two circuits, however, only one circuit will have power to it depending on the position of the wall switch inside. Therefore, the pump does not have a fuse in its path. Does this make sense?

          • I looked at you drawing and I cannot tell how the internal working is of the downstairs switch. This leaves us with the issue you are questioning. Did you try to turn the equipment on yet? If the downstairs switch is not turning both motors on at same time you may have to use your voltmeter to see if have a loose wire somewhere between downstairs and upstairs. I do not see how the speed is determined here. A simple on/off switch does not determine the speed of a motor. That switch has to have a built in automatic switching component to know when a higher or lower speed is needed. Are you sure it is not on because it is not calling for it to be on. What determines it to be calling for a higher speed? Something has to tell the downstairs switch to turn the high or low sides what to do. Because I cannot see the internal components I cant know the capacity of that switch. It would take a sensing device somewhere in the path of the high low circuits or the switch itself has that capability. I do not understand your not thinking about why the pump does not have a fuse in it’s path. Maybe the breaker at the panel is protecting that motor and that would be fine. The maintenance on both motors can be done when the roof switches are in the off position. The fuses needed for the hi and low side of the evaporator motor must be because of the motor manufacturer wanting to make a less expensive motor so instead of winding a self regulating motor they built it this way. But just let me know if the switch has capability to sense the current draw so that it switches to hi or low when needed. The downstairs switch can have internal CT’s that measures the low current draw and automatically switches to high when needed.

  54. Dear Sir,
    I have done building maintenance and construction for the past 29 years, and still I am stumped by a wiring situation that I’ve recently encountered. I work for a non profit agency that is in a building that used to be a motel (two floors). My understanding is that the building is probably 60+ years old, anyway, here is my situation. In diagnosing a different electrical problem, I discovered that the outlets in the rooms, which were originally “dedicated” for AC units, are connected to a 220v 30amp breaker, but the wire is only 12 gauge. Let me explain further. One set of 2 rooms, the first and second floor, are on one leg of the 220 breaker and the next set of rooms is on the other leg of the 220 breaker. I thought maybe the outlets were originally 220, and that someone years ago eliminated one of the hot lines in the box to convert the outlets to 110v. However, when I looked inside the box, there was only one hot line. My question is, why would these outlets be connected to a 220v 30amp breaker when the outlets are 110v and the wire is only 12 gauge? I hope you can shed some light on this mystery. Thank you very much for your time.
    Gratefully yours,

    • 1. The #12 wire is incorrectly sized if it is copper or aluminum if on a 30amp breaker. If it is #12 copper, should be on 20amp breaker.
      2. Aluminum is not legal anymore.
      3. And if you have a 2 pole breaker with both legs or hot wires (most commonly black and red if romex, if piped could be any color) operating as two 110volt circuits and either circuit is at fault it may not trip off that 2-pole breaker because of that single handle pulling in two opposite directions, one tripped side trying to go to off position and the other side not tripped wanting to stay in on position.
      4. The 2-110volt circuits need to be connected independently on 2-single-pole 110volt breakers.
      5. You need to re-run 2 separate circuits with independent grounds and neutrals along with independent hots since it is commercial.
      6. The splitting of a single 220volt circuit was very common with the old ways and the importance of isolating the grounds from the neutrals were not well understood. They used to think you could use the building structure itself to serve as the grounding and no grounding wire was needed. As long as you had access to hot wire and neutral (white wire), they could be used no matter how many other devices were on the hot and neutral. But these days the understanding of load balancing, bonding the grounded conductor(neutral) at the main disconnect only, allowing a certain number of devices to a circuit and using grounding conductors(ground) for grounding only is more understood through better schools. There are several NEC code rules that apply to the use of neutrals and grounds I have not mentioned.
      Hope this helps!

  55. Here is the scenario, A 200 amp secondary panel with two-125 amp breakers in it, two sets of conduit with conductors coming out of the 200 amp panel. Each set of conduit/conductors are feeding a 200 amp panel with a 200 amp main breaker. These two 200 amp panels are on a double wide modular building. Each section of the modular building (2 sections) have a max amp calculation of 90 amps.

    Question: I know that the 125 amps will feed the 90 amps required but is it ok for the buildings to have the two 200 amp panels with the two 200 amp main disconnects.

  56. I was going to replace and outlet that had a lot of use and the plugs wouldn’t stay in securely. I turned off the breaker to the outlets on that side of kitchen. The outlet had to black wires (power) on one side, 3 whites (common) and a ground. I had pulled out the old outlet and was starting to put in the new outlet when I got shocked. I tested all of the wires with a meter and found out one of the commons was hot. So I went to the breaker box and turned off the other outlets on the other side of the kitchen. That turned off the hot common. How do I proceed. The hot common was wired in on the common side of the outlet? What do I do? Can I just put a wire nut on that wire? If I put the hot common on the black wire side (power) that would tie the two separate circuits together and I don’t want that?

    • So you have 1 ground, 3 white and 2 black wires, correct? And you had 2 blacks connected to hot side and 3 whites connected to neutral side or was that third white wire accidently unaccounted for when you cut the plug loose from the wall outlet box? And you had the ground connected to the green screw on plug, correct?

      • The problem is that all 3 white wires were on the neutral side but I found one of them was hot. The hot neutral came from the other circuit on the other side of the kitchen which is on a separate breaker. Can I just put a wire nut on it? I hate to put all three together again?

        • I want to make sure you are looking at the correct number of wires. Did that neutral come into the box by itself? What I’m saying is did it not have a black paired off with it in same sheathing or was it run all by itself (alone) into the box with(no sheathing)? Sheathing is the covering on romex. One sheathed peice of romex usually has 1 black, 1 white and 1 ground.

          • I figured it out. The neutral came off one piece of romex that went to the other circuit across the kitchen. The black went to a red wire, the ground to ground and they tied the neutral into this outlet. So that is why their was 3 white wires on this outlet. Where I would of used a pigtail and tied them in that way. That is why I had voltage coming through the neutral from the other circuit because that circuit was still on.

          • I thought about this a little more. What they did when they wired my house was tie in two circuits (far as the common). Does this meet code? I always wire my circuits (neutral and grounds) to the circuit breaker box. What they did is dangerous!
            Thanks for your help!!!!

          • It sounds like they just took the (romex)circuit from one room into another but did not make their wire terminations very professional. Did you find two breakers feeding that one box? If you did then you need to make sure you have your hots terminated a certain way or just disconnect one of the circuits(hot wire) and just use one circuit. It will not hurt anything to have more than one neutral so do not worry if you have more than one of them but if you do not have the hots wires in order a problem may exist.

  57. Recently whenever we turn our electric dryer on the clock on our electric stove starts flashing. We haven’t added anything or had any wiring changed. Both appliances are about 3 years old. we can use both at the same time but whenever we turn the dryer on the stove stops and the clock flashes. I’ve checked the breaker box for loose wiring. Everything seems tight and the 240 volts are coming in steady. I checked the electrical box in the kitchen for the 240 stove and the wires are tight there also. I wonder if the breaker could be getting weak? They are on separate breakers but they are adjacent to each other.

      • I can move it down a slot. I will move the 120 breaker below it uop two places and move the 240 down one. Our breaker box dosen’t have any corrosion that I can see. Our home is 13 years old and everything looks clean and tight. I will try moving it tomorrow. The top 4 spots on the left are 240 breakers and the top 4 spots on the right are 240 breakers. One for the dryer, one for the stove, one for the AC and one for an electric welder that is seldom used. We never use them all at the same time. Then we also have a 220 water heater on the bottom right. Our box is a 200 amp box.

          • I posted your reply about how my answer help you out. Sorry about the website problem. Thanks for visiting my site and share my site as much as you can. Please refer me by clicking on my Google plus on top right corner or by using other share buttons below my comments.
            Here is your reply: I took your advice and moved the 240 breaker down one slot and moved the 120 breaker up. The stove clock does not quit working now when we turn the dryer on. I don’t know how this fixed the problem but it seems to have worked. Thank you so much for the advice. Every wire was tight and I didn’t see any corrosion at all

  58. Installed and LED light fixture in my washroom and its connected to a motion sensing switch. The light works great, but it is always on dim. is there a way to make it turn off completely? The old regular bulb light fixture worked fine. Can anyone help with this? Thanks

      • Yes. I removed the flip switch awhile back and put in the motion switch.
        It has “Off”, “Auto”, “On” positions on it. On “Auto” it worked great with a regular bulb fixture. The “Off” position will turn the LED light completely off. But stays on real dim on Auto. This was done to keep from having to walk across the “Dark” laundry room to turn the switch on. Because the laundry room has 2 doors. Garage entry and kitchen entry and the switch is on the Garage side entry wall.
        Any Suggestions?

        • The reason you did not see the incandescent bulb glow or dim is because of the way it is built. Incandescent is resistive so it needs more than just a small amount of voltage to glow.
          First in this switching mechanism let’s clear up that the neutral and ground never open when in the auto or the on/off position. The hot is the only wire getting switched here. Also it looks like you have a factory problem in the switch auto position. And that is the contacts do not completely open when in the off/auto position or when no movement is happening. So when you have a partially closed switch the LED light will sense that small amount of voltage leaking and have some glow because LED’s are very sensitive to any voltage it sees. It is just a cheap switch and that is fine because it’s not going to harm anything here. Just put the original switch back if you want to be rid of the glow. But if it has any warmth to it when you touch it get another switch or detector. With just one light there should be nothing but cool on the surface of the switch. Hope this helps.
          But LED’s have a natural leakage going on and this could also have something to do with the LED glowing dim. Also LED’s may use the static voltage in the conduit or building to cause LED to glow if grounding is a problem. This is the best answer I can give without getting into a lot of other theory.

  59. I’m installing a new air handler (Goodman MBR 2000) in my home. I ordered a 15 kw heat strip kit (HKA-15C) to put in it. The kit has 2 breakers inside the air handler. (a 50 amp and a 25 amp) Instead of running 2 circuits with a #6 for the 50amp and a #10 for the 25amp they make a terminal block (SPW-01) to just run one circuit from the breaker panel to the air handler. I’m not sure if this just a terminal block, a power distribution terminal, or what so I’m trying to find out if I will need to run a larger wire than a #6 from panel to handler. a Guy from Hacy HVAC Supply has told me that all I need is the#6 and a 60amp in the breaker box. That the sequencers will rotate the heat strips where it won’t ever pull more than 50amps. It seems like if I am using 15kw all three strips will be on together? I need to find out exactly what size wire and breaker I need to install the SPW-01 to keep me from running 2 lines. I don’t want to run a #6 and find out it’s not big enough. Would you please help me?

    • When you say the kit has 2 breakers, I guess you intended to say the unit itself has two breakers? Look at the nameplate data and tell me what the max amps for unit? This means the max for everything to include the motor, fan, etc. It should have a total on the nameplate. This would exclude the heat strips because you have to add them to the total. If you can take a pic of the nameplate would be best and send it to me.

    • All you need to do is install your single point connect kit and install the #6. All you have is a air handler motor and then the heat strip kit for total amps used. Use the 60amp breaker or 50amp breaker because the motor will never pull over a couple of amps. Look at your nameplate and you can see the heat strip MOP of 60amp (max overcurrent protection) is max can be used. When sizing is done at the engineering level the NEC(National electric code) tells them what they need to figure in their calculations. This is just the way it is figured for safety.

  60. Is it ok to use 12 gauge wire (because that is what I have) to extend a run of outlets if the current wiring is 14 gauge?
    I only want to add 1 or 2 outlets, they will have only intermittent use.

  61. Our kitchen lights are high hats. Recently when switched on they hesitate a second or so before coming on. How do we troubleshoot this? Thanks so much in advance for any help! Bob

    • We recommend you hire an electrician for your own safety. The light switch, light fixture, bad connection, breaker going bad are some examples of potential problem areas.

  62. Hi, I have an odd problem; I am trying to replace some old recessed lighting in the basement. I have one light that is attached to one switch. I flip the switch to “ON” and when I test the circuit with a Circuit tester and NO socketed light attached the circuit shows full power needed (120V). But, when I attach a light socket with a fully functions bulb in it, and flip the switch to “ON” it does not POWER THE LIGHT. I’m very puzzled by this. If there is plenty of power when I test the circuit why wouldn’t it be able to LIGHT UP THE BULB? HELP?

    • If I understand correctly, you have a volt-meter and you are checking the light socket with the switch on and then with the switch off, correct? And you are checking across neutral and hot? If you are not checking across those wires then you may see a difference. Let me know if this is correct.

    • Here’s what you wrote: If I understand correctly, you have a volt-meter and you are checking the light socket with the switch on and then with the switch off, correct? And you are checking across neutral and hot? If you are not checking across those wires then you may see a difference. Let me know if this is correct

      Reply: Yes I am checking the light socket both with the Switch on and Off. And Yes across the NEUTRAL and the HOT. And the reading I get across these wires is not 120V. It’s only 93V.

  63. I’m rewiring the lighting in the basement of a four-family flat and would like to use a single set of light fixtures for each of the four units. Is there a way to allow multiple service drops, four in this case, to provide power to the same set of light fixtures?

    In practice, this would allow the tenants in any of the units to turn on the same set of fixtures in the basement whenever needed. If the building used a single service this would be a 5-way circuit. Since I am dealing with four separate services I am not sure how or if it can be done.

  64. have three outlets out on one side of a room. one light switch out located opposite side of wall from one of the non-working outlets. Everything else in the house works. Outside meter has correct amount of power. Didn’t see any breakers flipped.

  65. I have three baseboard heaters that are controlled by a thermostat on the wall. The thermostat wire goes to a relay box that is attached to the electrical panel. The power wire for the system goes to the relay box from the breaker and then another wire is sent from the relay box to the heaters (don’t know if they are wired in parallel or in series). The system will not work even though my field tester shows that both hot wires going to the baseboard heaters are live (220 volt heaters). When I switch the thermostat from program to manual, it still does not turn on the heaters. Is there some part within the relay box that could have gone bad and needs to be replaced??

    • Yes it sounds like it is going on and off. It will finally go out if it hasn’t already. That would be the first place I would start since you have power at your heaters when you checked. Just put your meter on the leads coming from your thermostat to the heater and turn it on and off. You should see power going on and off on the meter. Or you could have a element burned out in your heaters. I assume they are stack heaters with a wire or element wrapping the heater stacks. This wire could be broken and that will keep your heat from turning on. May need to replace one of the stacks or whole heater. Not sure, this is the best i can do not being there at your place. Remember, I am suggesting you to do this if you are not a licensed electrician.

  66. I replaced one of four switches controlling a foyer overhead light. This is not working correctly. It does work if I initially cut on the light from this new switch (i.e. all four switches work properly), but it does not work correctly (i.e. the 3 other/lower switches do not work) if the upper/new switch cuts the light off. This is surprising in that it only required wiring the new switch as the old switch had been wired. This was done so that a new switch could be added for control of a new curio light; this new switch is on a different circuit and works properly.

  67. I have a finished basement and recently added a small refrigerator under the bar. When the refrigerator come on the recessed lights over the bar dimes and return to normal. I am assuming that the lights and frigerator are on the same 15amp breaker. Will adding a 20 amp breaker solve this problem?

    • If you change the breaker to a larger one, you need to replace the wire feeding that electrical outlet. Oversizing with a larger breaker without increasing your wire to the proper size can cause overheating of the existing undersized wire.

  68. So we were digging in the backyard , and we came across a 1/4 inch thick black cable , that in places with cuts , is oozng green slime. The cable is about 2 feet under ground and just keeps going down on one end , and the other end goes into our neighbors yard, which is where are goose chase has ended. We have no clue what the wire is for, what it’s leadng to, nothing. Ha any ideas?

  69. I installed a Generac 20kv whole house 200 amp system with a Smart Transfer Switch. The question I have is directed at the instructions on Equipment Grounding and bonding of the Neutral / ground in the distribution panel. I have completed the equipment ground via Copper rod to case ground at the generator and to the Transfer switch as well as a case ground to the utility meter but it says I must disconnect the neutral Bonding strap and ground at the distribution panel as this will make the panel a sub panel. I looked at the set up inside the 200 amp service panel and I see the bonding strap but it has two ground bars and the bare copper as well as the white neutral wires are connected to both ground bars and if I disconnect the bonding strap, this would sever the connections of ground / neutral via the neutral main connection lug? I have also a bare copper wire attached via the grounding lug to a water pipe. Is this what they are saying to disconnect? The electrical diagram still shows that I should run the equipment ground wire from the panel to the equipment ground bar installed inside the transfer switch enclosure.

    • When you install a home generator, you must relocate your neutral bonding point to your new main breaker location. In your your case, it has moved to your automatic transfer switch (this is now your new main bonding point in your grounded system). This means you must isolate all your neutrals in every location after your transfer switch. You must have your neutral grounded and bonded at one point only. So you must have your neutral bonded in your transfer switch. According to your question, this would be your main disconnect location now.

  70. Why would my meter show that I used 436 kwh last month when I have everything unplugged? I used 7 kwh the month before. I have greenhouses and use electricity mostly in the winter when the heaters and circulating fans are running. I have a time clock running for employees, but that is all. Wouldn’t the breaker shut off if there was a short? Not sure what to check. I am baffled!

    • The coating over current carrying copper conductors are not 100% efficient. These materials do have a tendency to react differently with different soil conditions and break down over time. What type of incoming service conductor do you have? Try to give me the numbers and letters off the rubber type covering. Overhead or underground feeders?
      This link may help you understand how to read your electric power meter too..
      go to middle of page it says…”Making your own clean energy” click go there and you will find “How to read your electric and gas meters” on a link on next page.
      Don’t forget to send me your electric feeder type.

    • If you are not having any main panel or meter-base problems, you need to have your panel balanced and circuits added to your kitchen appliances. I would suggest having at least 4 20amp circuits dedicated for your appliances only. That is if you have the standard appliances.

  71. I have a 200 foot run. 90 foot indoor, 110 foot outdoor run. I want to put lampposts at my driveway entrance. I want a plug in halfway outside, and plug ins at both lampposts, at the end of the run. What wire do I need? Or should i not waste wire, and put a service box in my garage, and run from there? I plan on putting up a shop next year, with a welder and compressor. That way I can run service to the shop from there. Should I run wire for a supply panel, for ease of future plans? Thanks, Rob.R.

    • Yes, I would run the conduit needed for the future garage you are planning. But first how far will the wire run be from your future garage? How long will the wire run be if you run it from what you have now? Also, does it make since to run it now because you may want a light switch in your future garage. If you just want a switch in your house and the wire is shorter to run from that point, i WOULD GO AHEAD AND RUN YOUR WIRE. bUT IF YOU THINK YOU MAY WANT TO ADD A SWITCH IN YOUR GARAGE AND THE DISTANCE IS NOT ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT i WOULD GO AHEAD RUN YOUR FEEDER TO YOUR GARAGE LOCATION AND PUT A TEMPORARY POST WITH A TAMPER-PROOF GFCI AND SWITCH MOUNTED TO YOUR POST AND RUN TO THE DRIVEWAY LIGHTS (ALL WEATHERPROOF) iF YOU DO NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THOSE TEMPORARY CONNECTIONS WAIT UNTIL THE GARAGE IS BUILT. a 20AMP UNDERGROUND RATED ROMEX (uf) COULD BE USED FOR YOUR UNDERGROUND LIGHTING WIRE W/20AMP SINGLE POLE BREAKER FROM EITHER LOCATION YOU DECIDE. Make SURE YOU USE A Tamper-proof weather resistant GFCI plug for any plugs on that circuit.

  72. I’m replacing an existing garbage disposal (Waste King 2600). It has a standard AC plug. My existing one is hard-wired.

    There is an existing duplex outlet under the sink. What I’d like to do is make this a split outlet so the existing Disposal switch operates one half of the outlet. Can I just wire the outlet like a normal split outlet or is it more complex than that?

    I’m wondering because the existing disposal and existing outlet are on separate circuits. Will this short out if I wire them together?

    Thanks for any help!

      • Thanks. It dawned on me that the better thing to do, and what I did, was just to wire the existing GD wiring to a new outlet and plug the new GD into that outlet (which is controlled by the switch and only serves the GD).

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