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Gas Dryers Recalled By General Electric Due To Shock Hazard

February 22, 2008

General Electric gas dryerOn February 11, 2008, GE Consumer & Industrial, of Louisville, Ky., voluntarily recalled approximately 2,100 GE gas clothes dryers. The dryers were recalled because a short circuit in the dryer’s wiring poses a shock hazard to consumers with ungrounded dryers.

The recalled gas dryers are 42 inches tall (back with backsplash) and 27 inches wide, and were sold in white. GE gas dryers model number DWXR463GGWW with serial numbers starting with AM, TL, SL, VL, and ZL are included in this recall. To find the model and serial numbers, open the dryer door and look in the upper right corner, in the area that was covered by the door.

The recalled gas dryers were sold at retail stores, and authorized builder distributors nationwide from September 2006 through October 2007 for about $440 and they were manufactured in Canada.

Consumers should stop using the recalled dryers immediately, unplug the dryer, and contact GE for further instructions and to schedule a free, in-home inspection and repair. GE is directly contacting consumers who purchased the recalled dryers. For additional information, contact GE toll-free at (866) 324-3732 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, or visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.geappliances.com/products/recall/.

GE gas dryer inside GE gas dryer label

How to Install a 3 Way Dimmer Switch

February 7, 2008

This tutorial is on how to install a 3-way dimmer switch. Now I’ve learned that a lot of people call these two way switches, but this is incorrect. They are three way switches. A 3-way switch is used when you want to switch an electrical device (lights, lamps, receptacles, etc…) from 2 or more locations.

Now this circuit is already using 3-way switches, but the homeowner wants to be able to dim their lighting. So I am going to install a Lutron Ariadni AY-603P, 600 watt, preset, incandescent dimmer switch.

The first thing that you need to do is determine what size dimmer switch you need. To do this add up the maximum fixture wattage(s) this switch will control. So let’s say that you have 6 recessed cans all using 65 watt lamps (bulbs) that this switch will control. However, the maximum wattage lamp that you may use in most recessed cans is 75 watts. You need to size your dimmer switch according to the fixture’s maximum wattage rating and not the existing lamp inside of the fixture. So, you need a dimmer switch with a minimum wattage rating of 450 watts (6 x 75 = 450 watts).

There is a label on the fixture that states the maximum wattage lamp allowed for that fixture. If you have a 100 watt lamp in a fixture that is rated for 60 watts maximum, then now is the perfect time to correct this. The extra 40 watts puts off just enough extra heat to make this a fire hazard. This is one of the most common mistakes that I see.

If you want to be able to dim the circuit from either light switch, then you need a master and slave combination similar to a Lutron Maestro. However, in this application the homeowner would prefer the dimmer switch installed in one location. Depending upon your location, this is approximately $50.00 (labor + materials) cheaper than buying and installing the master and slave combination.

Step # 1 – Locate your breaker box and turn off the power to this circuit.

Step # 2 – Remove the switch cover plate. Remove the switch cover plate - Click to enlarge
Step # 3 – Remove the 3-way switch Remove the 3-way switch - Click to enlarge
Step # 4 – Disconnect the wires from the old switch. Note the wire that’s on the common terminal (odd colored screw), as this will need to connect to the common terminal on the new switch. In this installation there are 2 black wires. So, I need to identify the common wire. I usually disconnect this wire last, hold it, grab the new switch and connect it to the common terminal on the new switch first. The placement of the common wire is important. If it is not placed on the common terminal, then the 3-way switching will not work properly. Please see the image to the right. I apolgize for the image quality. It is a little blury, but I believe it still shows what I’m referring to. Note the common terminal - Click to enlarge
Step # 5 – Connect the wires to the 3-way dimmer switch, ensuring the common wire is connected to the common terminal. Grounding is also very important when installing dimmer switches. Ensure you connect the ground wire to your dimmer switch. 3-way dimmer switch right view - Click to enlarge   3-way dimmer switch left view - Click to enlarge
Step # 6 – Install the 3-way dimmer switch Install the 3-way dimmer switch - Click to enlarge
Step # 7 – Install the switch cover plate Install the switch cover plate - Click to enlarge

Step # 8 – Turn on the power and test. When testing 3-way switching, I like to turn on the light from one switch. Go to the other switch and turn off the light. Then go back to the first switch and turn on the light again. If everything works, then you wired it correct. If it does not work, the you probably did not place the common wire on the common terminal.


Rewiring a Pendant Light Fixture

February 1, 2008


I went out on a service call yesterday to lower a pendant light fixture. The fixture was approximately 6 1/2 feet above the floor and the homeowners wanted it lowered to approximately 5 feet above the floor. The homeowners estimated the fixture to be 30 – 40 years old and by the looks of the wires and the pendant itself, I believed them. (Click on the images to see a larger view.) Existing pendant
So the first thing I did was turn off the power. Providing the circuit is wired properly, simply turning off the light switch will kill the power to the light fixture.
The next step is to take the light fixture down and see how it comes apart. We need to get into the wiring compartment in this fixture. Most wiring compartments are in the largest part of the fixture. This one was pretty simple to take apart. I removed the ring on the top and a nut underneath that and it came apart. Take pendant fixture apart
Once you have the fixture apart, attach your new cable to the old wires and use the old wires to pull in your new cable. Pull new wires
With the new cable in place, you need to determine which wire is the neutral. On lamp cord, the neutral wire is typically marked either with lettering (like in the picture) or it is ribbed while the hot wire is smooth or does not have lettering on it. Lamp cord neutral marking
With older light fixtures, I like to take an extra minute to ensure they were properly wired from the beginning. Basically, I want to ensure that the hot wire is attached to the center part of the lamp socket and the neutral wire is attached to the outer part of the lamp socket. Simply check for continuity between each hot wire and the center part of the lamp socket. Repeat the process for each neutral wire and the outer part of the lamp socket as well. Pendant socket
Next connect all of the neutral wires together and place a wirenut on them. Now connect all of the hot wires together and place a wirenut on these as well. Tuck the wires back into the wiring compartment and put the fixture back together. Pendant rewired
Now we also need to install a ground wire on this fixture. I decided to connect it to the top of the fixture and run it up through the chain with the lamp cord. I took a picture of this, but I screwed up the picture; it was very blury.
Finally, hang the fixture, turn on and test. Pendant - rewired, lowered and working