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Troubleshooting Receptacles, Determining If A Junction Box Is Switch Controlled Or Not and Romex Sheath Colors Explained

January 19, 2009

Question mark Robert Reinhart asks:
I have one room in my home in which none of the receptacles are working have replaced the fuses but still not working.

Answer:
This could be a loose connection, bad receptacle or broken wire(s). The first thing that you need to do is determine if there is voltage on the load side of the fuse for this circuit. If you have voltage here, then check for voltage at other working devices on this circuit. If all of the devices in that room do not work, then check devices in other rooms which share the common walls.

I’ll bet it is probably a wire which came loose from a “stab loc” connection. This is where the wires are just “stabbed” into the back of the device instead of being wrapped around the screws. Without more information is is difficult to offer a definitive solution.

 

George asks:
My sons bedroom has 2 3-way switches, one with 2 3-wires and the other with 3 2-wires, he has 5 receptacles and each one has the top controlled by the 3-way switches and the bottom is always hot, there is a junction box on the wall about 5 feet from the floor that looks like it should be used for a light, in this box is 2 3-wires and 1 2-wire, the 2 reds are connected together, the 3 blacks are connected together and the 3 whites are connected together as are the 3 bare wires(grounds) I am guessing that this junction box can support a light fixture controllable with the 3-way switches, how can I do this otherwise why would there be a junction box wired this way?

Answer:
To determine if this box is controlled by the switch or not, check for voltage between the black and white wires with the switch on and with it off. Do the same between the red and white wires. If there is voltage with the switch on and no voltage with the switch off, then this box is controlled by the switch. If you have voltage at this box regardless of the switch position, then this box is not controlled by the switch.

Do you have electric baseboard heat in the room? This box could be for a thermostat. I really need more information to solve this problem.

 

Doug Paterson asks:
Is there a different colored out sheath wire that is used in bedroom to identify Arc Fault circuits?

Answer:
The different colored outer sheath was created to help inspectors determine the wire size in a house easily. The white sheath is 14 AWG wire, the yellow sheath is 12 AWG wire and the orange sheath is 10 AWG wire.

Currently arc-fault protection is achieved by using an arc-fault breaker. However, there will also be an arc-fault receptacle in the future as well.

4 Slice Toasters Recalled by Viking Range Corp. Due to Shock Hazard

January 13, 2009

Viking 4 slice electric toaster On January 6, 2009 Viking Range Corp., of Greenwood, MS recalled approximately 10,000 four slice electric toasters. Wiring inside the toaster can become loose and contact the toaster body, posing a shock hazard to consumers. Viking has received five reports from consumers who experienced minor shock when touching the outside of the toaster.

The recall involves Viking Professional Four-Slot Toasters, model numbers VT400WH, VT400BK, VT400GG, VT400SG, VT400BR and VT400CB. The toaster has a label on its underside that states in part, “Viking, UL Listed 73D3, Viking Range Corporation, Model VT400 Series”.

These units were sold at culinary products retailers, online dealers, and Viking’s web site from April 2005 through November 2008 for about $300 and manufactured in China.

You should stop using the toaster immediately and unplug it, and contact Viking to obtain a free replacement toaster. For additional information, contact Viking toll-free at (888) 267-4460 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at http://www.vikingrange.com/consumer/global/content_no_sidemenu.jsp?id=cat12130037

Answers To Electrical Questions About Wiring A Unit Thermostat On A Baseboard Heater and Installing Programmable T-Stats

January 12, 2009

Question mark Diane asks:
Question I am installing a 110 volt cadet baseboard heater and I would like to install a double pole thermostat so that it can be turn off. I understand from the website that I bought it from that the double pole thermostat that goes in the end of the baseboard (vs wall mount) can be used.
Can you please tell me how the wiring should be since there are 4 wires on the thermostat breaking both sides of the wires?

Answer:
You have the wrong thermostat. For 110 volt units, you need a single pole thermostat. While a double pole can be wired in to work, it is the wrong t-stat. With a double pole t-stat, you would either leave one set of wires disconnected or break the neutral and hot. There is no need to break the neutral and a single pole t-stat is a little cheaper than a double pole.

 

Ricardo asks:
I want to replace my thermostat for my electric baseboard heater the thermostat are wall mounted. How do I know if I have a SINGLE POLE thermostats or Double?

Also I have separate thermostat one downstairs and one in each bedroom. I spend time downstairs and in my bedroom. Should I use programmable thermostat in each room or just the two?

Answer:
A single pole t-stat will have 2 wires on the back side and a double pole will have 4 wires.

I recommend programmable throughout if your budget allows. A programmable t-stat is more expensive, but will save you money in the long run. For example, I use a programmable t-stat in my house and I sent the heat to turn down to 66 degrees while we are sleeping and at work. However, it is set to 70 degrees for when we get up in the morning and when we get home from work.

 

Charlie Williams asks:
Hi, I am replacing a dial type thermostat with a digital one for my 220v baseboard heat. The old dial one has two red wires on top and 2 black wires on the bottom. The new digital thermostat has 2 black wires. Do I hook up the two reds together to one black and the two blacks to the other black wire on the digital thermostat?
Is it possible to send you a picture of my wiring?

Answer:
No, do not connect the reds together or the blacks together either. You have a single pole t-stat and you need a double pole t-stat. The double pole t-stat will have the 2 red wires and 2 black wires, so the replacement will be straight forward.

Yes, it is possible for you to send me a picture of the wiring. Please check out my DIY Electrical Wiring Help from a Master Electrician page to see how this service works.

How to Wire a Recreation Room in Your Basement – Part 5: Terminating the Bathroom Circuit

January 11, 2009

In today’s article we are going to discuss terminating the bathroom circuit and getting everything ready for a rough electrical inspection. For anyone that missed the first four parts of this series, you may read them by clicking on the following links:

Let’s get started terminating the bathroom circuit. I figured we would start at the two 2-gang switch box. All of your cables should be labeled to make it easier to identify what each cable does. Bathroom switch box
The first step is to strip the outer sheath off of the cables and expose all of the wires. Be careful when you strip the cables, however. You want to save the little piece that has the markings on it for all of the load wires and place it back on the wire. This will help with remembering which wire is which and with any troubleshooting that may be required later. Bathroom switch box - cables stripped
Now let’s make up the grounds and attach 2 approximate 6 inch tails to connect to the switches later. Bathroom switch box - grounds
Next connect all of the neutrals together and place a wire nut on them. Bathroom switch box - neutrals
Now connect the power wires together and attach 2 approximate 6 inch tails to connect to the switches later. Bathroom switch box - power
Finally, tuck all of the wires into the box. Try to push the wires as far back into the box as possible to protect them from the sheetrocker’s cutting tools. Bathroom switch box - complete
Now let’s move to the GFCI receptacle box GFCI receptacle box
The first step is to strip the outer sheath off of the cables and expose all of the wires. Be careful when you strip the cables, however. You want to save the little piece that has the markings on it for all of the load wires and place it back on the wire. This will help with remembering which wire is which and with any troubleshooting that may be required later. GFCI receptacle box - cables stripped
Now let’s make up the grounds and attach 2 approximate 6 inch tails to connect to the switches later. GFCI receptacle box - grounds
Finally, tuck all of the wires into the box. Try to push the wires as far back into the box as possible to protect them from the sheetrocker’s cutting tools. GFCI receptacle box - complete
Now let’s move to the ceiling lighting box Bathroom ceiling light box
The first step is to strip the outer sheath off of the cables and expose all of the wires. Be careful when you strip the cables, however. I typically do not mark my wires in the lighting boxes. However, it may be helpful if you choose to. Bathroom ceiling light box - stripped
Now let’s make up the grounds and place a wire nut on them. Bathroom ceiling light box - grounds
Next connect all of the neutrals together and place a wire nut on them. Bathroom ceiling light box - neutrals
Now connect the power wires together and place a wire nut on them. Bathroom ceiling light box - power
Finally, tuck all of the wires into the box. Try to push the wires as far back into the box as possible to protect them from the sheetrocker’s cutting tools. Bathroom ceiling light box - complete

Sorry, but I do not have an exhaust fan to hook up and provide pictures for. Be sure you use a 1/2 inch romex connector to connect the romex to the exhaust fan. The connections are straight forward. Simply connect the ground to ground, the neutral to neutral and the hot to hot.

You only have 1 cable entering the vanity light. Simply strip the sheath off of the cable and tuck the wires into the box. Do the same for the vanity receptacle.

Answers To Electrical Questions About Kitchen Receptacles, Attaching Romex To Metal Studs and 220 Volt Thermostats

January 7, 2009

Question mark Carlos Lazen asks:
How close to a cooktop an outlet can be install?

Answer:
The National Electrical Code® does not specify clearances from cooktops. A cooktop typically breaks up the counter space and you are required to have a receptacle within 24 inches.

 

Arnold C asks:
How do you attach romex to metal studs?

Answer:
They make a 1 hole strap for romex. I prefer the arlington industries CS20SC and CS6 cable supports. You also need to use nonmetallic bushings to protect you cable where it goes through the metal studs.

 

Ken Iman asks:
Hi, I am replacing a dial type thermostat with a digital one for my 220v baseboard heat. The old dial one has two red wires on top and 2 black wires on the bottom. The new digital thermostat has 2 black wires. Do I hook up the two reds together to one black and the two blacks to the other black wire on the digital thermostat?

Answer:

You have the wrong thermostat. You have a single pole thermostat and you need a double pole thermostat.

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