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Adding a Receptacle for a Garage Door Opener

December 31, 2007

Tracy Asks:
I’m adding a garage door opener to an attached garage. I want to wire a receptacle in the ceiling for the opener. There is already one receptacle on one of the walls. I want to replace that existing receptacle with a GFCI receptacle and wire off of it to the receptacle in the ceiling. However, there is already two cables going to the existing receptacle and the instructions with the GFCI doesn’t tell you what to do if you want 2 loads and 1 line to be wired to a GFCI receptacle. Please Help!

If you look at the back side of your GFCI receptacle there are 2 holes in each location for the wires. This allows you to put 2 wires under the load terminals or the line terminals. However, I do not recommend doing this. I would twist the wires together with an approximate six inch pigtail and only place one wire under each terminal.

You also mention placing the wires to your garage door opener receptacle under the load terminals. I do not recommend doing this either. If you place these wires under the load terminals, then the garage door opener motor may cause your GFCI receptacle to nuisance trip. If the GFCI receptacle trips while you are not at home, you won’t be able to open the garage door until you reset the receptacle. This is a major inconvenience during bad weather or if you forget your house key.

I recommend twisting the wires from the power supply and the new garage door opener receptacle together with an approximate six inch pigtail and connecting the pigtail to the line side of your GFCI receptacle. This will send constant power to your garage door opener at all times.

Now the garage receptacles are supposed to be GFCI protected. However, you do not need to GFCI protect the garage door opener receptacles or receptacles for a dedicated appliance (refrigerator or freezer) in the garage.

I created a wiring diagram that should help you with the terminations. This diagram only shows the terminations at the GFCI receptacle. The bottom terminals are the line side and the upper terminals are the load side.

GFCI receptacle wiring diagram
Click image to enlarge

General Electric Microwave Combination Wall Ovens Recalled Due to Possible Fire Hazard

December 27, 2007

GE Built-in Microwave Combo Wall OvenOn December 5, 2007 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with GE Consumer & Industrial, of Louisville, Ky., announced a voluntary recall of about 92,000 built-in combination wall and microwave ovens.

The door switch in the microwave oven can overheat and ignite plastic components in the control area, posing a fire hazard to consumers. The lower thermal oven does not pose a hazard. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

GE is aware of 35 incidents of minor property damage and one incident in which a fire damaged adjacent kitchen cabinets. No injuries have been reported.

The recall includes GE combination microwave and conventional built-in wall ovens sold under the following brand names: GE, GE Profile® and Kenmore. The ovens were sold in white, black, bisque and stainless steel. The brand name is printed on the lower left corner on the front of the microwave door. The following model and serial numbers can be found inside the microwave oven on the left interior wall.

  Recalled Models Serial number
begins with:
GE / GE Profile JKP85B0A3BB, JKP85B0D1BB, JKP85W0A3WW, JKP85W0D1WW,
JT965B0F1BB, JT965C0F1CC, JT965S0F1SS, JT965W0F1WW,
(All model numbers
start with 911)
41485991, 41485992, 41485993, 41485994, 41489991, 41489992,
41489993, 41489994, 49485992, 49489992, 47692100, 47699100,
47862100, 47869100, 47812200, 47813200, 47814200, 47819200,
47792200, 47793200, 47794200, 47799200
0, 1, 2, 3

GE Built-in Microwave Serial Plate Location
GE Built-in Microwave Serial Plate Location Close Up

These units were manufactured in the U.S. and sold at department and appliance stores from January 2000 to December 2003 for between $1,500 and $2,000.

Consumers should stop using the microwave oven immediately. Consumers should contact GE regarding their GE/GE Profile micro-oven combo or Sears for their Kenmore unit. GE is offering a free repair or rebate on a new product, a $300 rebate toward the purchase of a new GE brand unit, or a $600 rebate toward the purchase of a new GE Profile brand unit. Sears is offering a free repair or $300 rebate toward the purchase of a new Kenmore brand unit. Consumers can continue using the lower thermal oven.

For additional information on GE /Profile units, contact General Electric toll-free at (888)-240-2745 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday, or visit GE’s Web site at For additional information on Kenmore units, contact Sears toll-free at (888) 679-0282 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday, or visit Sears’ Web site at

Inventory Reduction Sale At – Up to 75% off over 1,000 items

December 26, 2007

Northern Tool Inventory Reduction INVENTORY REDUCTION SALE – Save Up To 75% At

It’s that time of year again for Northern Tool + Equipment’s Inventory Reduction Sale! Get up to 75% off over 1,000 items. This is a limited time promotion and runs through January 31, 2008.

Northern Tool + Equipment offers a wide selection of products — from consumer goods to industrial and construction equipment — to do-it-yourselfers, contractors and professional shops. Over 18,000 items online!

Wide variety of products: pressure washers, generators, automotive, shop supplies, lawn + garden, food processors, ag equipment, power tools, go-karts + more. Hundreds of Popular Name Brands: Honda, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Briggs & Stratton, Ingersoll-Rand, Tecumseh, Hobart, Bobcat + more!

Northern Tool + Equipment has been a successful and trusted business for 26+ years. They are also rated in the 100 ecommerce sites by Internet Retailer Magazine.

This has to be my favorite sale. Tools, tools and more tools on sale. Head on over to their inventory reduction sale and see what kind of deals you can find.

Troubleshooting and Repairing Flickering Lights

December 17, 2007

Electrical Receptacle Helen Prinold Asks:
When I plug anything into the plug in our basement garage, the lights in the upstairs kitchen on the other side of the house flicker all the time.

Should I just not plug stuff in and am I just overloading a circuit, or does this indicate some kind of significant wiring issue?

Can you give me any sense of is this an emergency (call asap and don’t plug anything in outlet until they come), or a “take your time and call someone to have a look, you may need to adjust the load the circuit is able to carry” situation? Is there any way I can tell without a service call?


This is more than likely the result of a loose connection. However, it could be one of a few other problems as well.

As for whether it’s an emergency or not, that is difficult to say without being there. I recommend repairing it right away. If it is a loose connection, this could heat up and start a fire. The first thing that you need to do is turn off the breaker or remove the fuse supplying power to this circuit.

Before we get too far, I have a few questions:
1. What are you plugging into that garage receptacle?
2. What are the voltage and amperage ratings of this piece of equipment that you are plugging into your garage receptacle?
3. Have you noticed the lights flickering when nothing is plugged into the garage receptacle?
4. Do the other lights on this circuit flicker as well?
5. After turning off the breaker or removing the fuse to this circuit, are the kitchen lights and garage receptacle off?

Here are a few things to get you started:

1. With the power off, open the garage receptacle and look for loose connections. If there are wire nuts, then remove them and ensure the wires are twisted tightly. If the wires are just “stabbed” into the back of the receptacle, then pull them out and wrap them around the screws. Close the receptacle and turn the power back on. With the power on measure the voltage at the garage receptacle and write this down. Measure between the hot and neutral, the hot and ground & the neutral and ground.

2. If the above step did not solve the problem, then you need to check every box on this circuit for a loose connection or a bad device (receptacle, switch, etc…). I recommend going to the kitchen light next.

3. If the above steps did not solve the problem, then please provide more information in the comment section of this post. I need to know the steps you’ve taken to correct the problem. Any and all voltage readings you took. Answers to my 5 questions above. Any other information that you can provide about this problem.


Where Can I Install My Breaker Box?

December 10, 2007

Can the electrical panel be installed in the bathroom of a residence?

The short answer is no. The National Electrical Code® (NEC®) does not permit the installation of a breaker box in bathrooms, linen closets, paper storage closets or clothes closets. A breaker box shall be readily accessible and shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of circuit breaker, when in its highest position, is not more than 6 ft 7 in. above the floor or working platform. A breaker box is also required to be installed in a location where it is not subject to physical damage.

A NEC® violation that I see a lot is people storing "stuff" in front of their breaker boxes. You are required to have 3 feet of working clearance in front of your breaker box at all times.

I typically install my breaker boxes in a garage, mechanical room or unfinished basement. I have also see them installed in bedrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, pantrys and under stairs. You are also permitted to install a breaker box in your living room, dining room and kitchen.

It is usually preferred to have the breaker box blend into the room when installing one in a hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen or bedroom. Your are permitted to paint the cover to match the wall. I have also seen several people cover a breaker box with a picture. If you do this, be sure the picture can be removed quickly in a emergency. I went to a house one time and I had to remove 6 screws to take down a picture that was covering a breaker box.

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