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Adding Electric Baseboard Heaters to an Existing Circuit, Wiring Four Light Switches and Changing Light Switching Around

July 6, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Douglas asks:
Can I run more than one 1000 watt baseboard heater on one line, using baseboard thermostats?

First you need to determine the rating of your unit-mounted thermostats. They need to be rated for the total load which you intend on controlling with the t-stat. For example if you plan to add another 500 watts of heat, then your t-stat needs to be rated for 1,500 watts or more; if you are going to control both heaters with one t-stat.

To convert wattage to amperage, simple divide watts by volts. So let’s say that your heater is 1000 watts at 240 volts. Then this heater would draw 4.17 amps. So, in this scenario, it would be OK to add more heaters to this circuit.

Typically, electric baseboard heat is on a 30 amp circuit at 240 volts using #10 AWG wiring in a house. However, sometimes you will find lighter loads on a 20 amp circuit at 240 volts using #12 AWG wire.


Brandon asks:
I have one home run (12-2 romex) ran to a 4 gang box for 4 light switches. How do I wire up the 4 gang box?

I’m going to assume that there is only one power supply cable and 4 switch leg cables (romex to the lights); and that the power is off. If this is the case, then connect all of the ground wires (bare copper) together and leave 4 tails to connect to the ground screws on each of the switches. Connect all of the neutrals (white wires) together and tuck these into the box. Cut 4 pieces of #12 AWG black wire approximately 8 inches long and connect them to the home run black wire. Now connect each black switch leg (black wire which goes to the light) to each switch. Next connect one each of the power supply tails to each switch. Install the switches and cover plate. Turn on the power and test.


Susan asks:
I have 2 wall switches for recessed lights. #1 has ten lights. #2 has only two. Is it possible to move two lights from # 1 and add them to #2. (how, if possible?) Contractor went overboard in the kitchen and under board in the dining area!

Anything is possible. It depends on your framing, but you’ll probably need to cut some sheetrock to do this. What you need to do is install a 2 conductor NM cable with a ground (romex) from one of the lights on #2 switch to the 2 lights which you want on #1 switch. You need to disconnect the existing wiring to the lights on #1 switch, wire nut the ends and tuck them back into the boxes before connecting the new wiring from switch #2.

This type of question is best suited for my DIY Electrical Wiring Help from a Master Electrician service. There are lots of tricks and tips that I could offer here which may help prevent the need to cut any sheetrock and possibly some wiring tricks as well.


Dimplex North America Recalls Remote Control Kits for Electric Fireplaces and Stoves Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

July 5, 2010

Remote control kit | Model # 47-1010R On March 16, 2010 Dimplex North America, of Ontario, Canada recalled approximately 700,000 remote control kits for electric fireplaces and stoves. The plug-in wall unit can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard. Dimplex has received about 5,000 reports of the plug-in wall units overheating including 19 reports of damage beyond the remote control and one report of a house fire in Columbus, Ohio that resulted in considerable property damage.

The recalled remote control kits are used with Dimplex, Electraflame, Symphony, Optiflame, Electralog and Charmglow brand electric fireplaces, stoves and fireplace inserts. They include a black or dark gray hand-held remote control and also a black or dark gray wall unit that plugs into an electrical wall outlet. Recalled model numbers include 47-1001, 47-1010-R and APT-1315. The model number is printed on either the plug-in unit or the hand-held remote control. The fireplace or stove’s brand name is printed on both units.

Remote control kit | Model # APT-1315


These units were sold at mass merchandise, home improvement, specialty fireplace and furniture retailers from January 1998 through December 2008 for between $200 and $1,500 for the fireplaces and stoves. This recall includes remote control kits subsequently replaced under warranty. They were manufactured in China.

You should immediately stop using the remote control kits, unplug the power cord from the remote control kit’s wall unit, remove the wall unit from the electrical outlet and contact Dimplex for a free replacement kit. You can continue to operate the fireplace or stove by plugging the fireplace or stove’s electrical cord directly into an electrical outlet.

For additional information, contact Dimplex North America toll-free at (866) 673-9880 anytime, or visit their web site at www.recall.dimplex.com/usa.aspx

Saturday Morning Round Up for Week Ending 7-3

July 3, 2010

Saturday Morning Round UP for week ending 7-3 I found a lot of great articles this week which may interest you. If you have been following Charles & Hudson at all, then you know that they have assembled a great team of writers. I found an awesome article which offers some sound advice on Mistakes To Avoid for First-Time DIY’ers. I think that because I work in construction, I feel invincible when it comes to remodeling my home. However, I have gotten in over my head a couple of times due to a lack of planning. Fortunately, I have some really good friends that work in the other trades as well and were willing to step in and help me out with my projects.

I want to get started adding video to this site. I’m doing some research and hope to have something up in the next couple of months; hopefully sooner. While doing my research, I’ve learned that I need a place to record the videos. So, I’ve started cleaning and remodeling the garage. I also need another workbench in the garage which needs to be mobile. I found a cool article where Tom Silva from This Old House provides step-by-step instructions on How to Build a Tool Bench.

Somehow I missed the Handyguys video last week on Installing a sconce in 7 easy steps. Brian installed a wall sconce in his home theater room in his basement. I liked the video but I think a couple of things got overlooked. When you put your cable into the box you are required to have at least 1/2 inch of the sheathing extended into the box. It also looked like the light fixture did not have a ground wire. In this case, you should connect the ground wire in the romex to the ground screw on the fixture bar. This is especially important if you have a metallic light fixture. This is the only way you can bond to the fixture without a ground wire. If the fixture is bonded, then the circuit breaker will trip if a live wire contacts any metallic parts on the light fixture.

Have you been following One Project Closer this week? Fred is installing Brazilian Walnut flooring in his home. Lots of great tips all week long. Go check out the One Project Closer Blog.

Installing a New Light, Frequency for Testing a GFCI Receptacle and Wiring Recessed Cans

July 2, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Rob asks:
I want to install a new light fixture. The fixture itself has 1 white wire, 1 black wire and the ground wire. However the wiring from the house has an additional red wire. When I wired it, I left the red wire capped, but when I turned the switch on, the circuit breaker flipped. How should I connect the wires?

You should connect ground (bare copper or green wire) to ground, neutral (white wire) to neutral and hot (black wire) to hot. If this is the same configuration which you already have, then you need to test the wires to determine what you have existing.

Turn the switch(es) off. Use a voltage meter and test between the ground and neutral wires. You should have zero volts. Test between the neutral and black wires. You should have zero volts. Test between the neutral and red wires. You should have zero volts. If you have voltage while testing either of these configurations, then the configuration(s) with voltage is not switched.

If there are 2 switches, then only turn on one switch. Now test between the neutral and black wires. If you have voltage, then this wire is controlled by the switch you just turned on. If you do not have voltage, then check between the neutral and red wires. If you have voltage, then this wire is controlled by the switch you just turned on.

If you determine that you have something else, then let me know what your voltage readings were and I can help you further.


David Blass asks:
Is there a code requirement on the frequency for testing a gfi receptacle? If yes where can i find it, and what does the code say the frequency is?

There is no code requirement regarding the frequency of testing GFCI receptacles. I believe that this is a manufacturers requirement. Most manufacturers suggest that you test your GFCI receptacles monthly.


Adam asks:
I have installed 6 recessed lights in a room in my house and now need to wire them up. I intend to run a new circuit for the lights and they will be operated by a singular switch (possible dimmer). I am familiar with wiring, but on airplanes, not houses! A written explanation will work, but I think a diagram would be great if you could provide one.

Install 14/2 NM cable (romex) from your breaker box to the switch box. Now install a 14/2 NM cable from the switch box to your first recessed can. Next install a 14/2 NM cable from your first recessed can to your second recessed can. Repeat this process for all six recessed cans. This circuit needs to be connected to a 15 amp circuit breaker maximum.