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Answers to Electrical Questions About Installing a Receptacle for a Bug Zapper, Wiring a Generator and Transfer Switch and Installing a Dryer Cord

August 3, 2008

Question mark Robb Moss asks:
I want to hang a bug zapper about 60?from my house, nothing else will be on the line. What size and type of wire should I use to do this. I will be pluging it into a ground fault plug.

Thanks in advance for your good help.



I recommend 12AWG wire on a 20 amp breaker. You do not need this much power for the bug zapper, but you may need it in the future. Whenever installing anything underground, I always try to install a 20 amp circuit minimum.

As for the type, it depends upon your soil conditions. If it is real rocky or lots of tree roots, then I recommend installing 3/4 inch PVC conduit. Again, 1/2 inch PVC will work just fine, but there is not much difference in price between 1/2 inch PVC and 3/4 inch PVC and you may need the space for future circuits. If the soils is not rocky and there are not many tree roots, then you may use 12/2 UF cable. This cable is gray in color and rated for direct burial.

As for the depth of the ditch, if the circuit is 120 volts, GFCI protected and a maximum of 20 amps, then it needs to be 12 inches deep minimum for conduit or direct burial cable. If you hate digging (like I do) or digging is tough in your area, I recommend GFCI protecting the circuit at your house. To do this either install a GFCI circuit breaker or run your new circuit to a GFCI receptacle before the cable or wire goes underground. If the circuit is not GFCI protected underground, then the conduit needs to be 18 inches deep or the direct burial cable needs to be 24 inches deep. You will find more cover requirements in NEC® table 300.5. For example, it doesn’t need to be as deep under concrete or it needs to be deeper under a driveway.


Gene Wade asks:
Would appreciate step by step instructions on how to connect a 5500 Watt generator to a 100 amp manual transfer switch.

This is tough to do. I need to know more information about your generator and transfer switch. Generators and transfer switches can be tricky and really should be installed by a licensed or qualified electrician. However, I can walk you through this process, but you will need to use my paid service DIY Electrical Wiring Help from a Master Electrician.


Devin asks:
I see this question asked but didn’t see an answer posted. If I have the old style 3 flat prong 50 amp 220 outlet and got a new dryer I assume I can just use what they sell as a “electric range cord” that is 6/2-8/1 and has the 3 flat prongs in the correct configuration? I realize dryers seem to require 30 amp 10/2 but that would require me to install a new outlet to fit those plug ends. Instructions say I have to use a new cord to prevent a warranty issue so can’t use the cord from my old dryer (which seems to be a 40 amp 10/2 3 flat prong)

I don’t recommend this. First, you need to be sure that the circuit is 30 amps maximum or the breaker will never trip if there is a fault. You are also required to use the correct sized receptacle and cord for this circuit. If someone installed a 50 amp range receptacle where the 30 amp dryer receptacle is supposed to be, then I recommend replacing it.

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