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Q&A About Troubleshooting a GFCI Circuit, Wire Size in kcmil, Wiring 3 Lights Controlled by a Single Pole Switch and Mounting Heights for Electric Baseboard Heaters

November 25, 2009

Question John Helfer asks:
I have a new GFCI installed in a bath that won’t get power to it when the power from an existing GFCI in an adjacent bath is connected to the line of new outlet, although new outlet gets power if connected to the load. Checked, rechecked connections in both new outlet and upstream GFCI in existing bath. Everything worked fine, tested fine until couple days ago when I lost power in downstream non GFCI outlets. Circuit breaker did not trip. Any ideas?

It’s tough to say without more information. I recommend checking voltage at each device on this circuit. Trace the entire circuit back to the breaker box if you need to. There are several things that could be wrong here. A GFCI could be wired wrong, there could be a loose connection, broken wire, bad breaker, etc.

I can help you solve this problem, but I need more information. Please visit my DIY Electrical Wiring Help from a Master Electrician page.


Ahmed Kadhem asks:
According to NEC 2008 Chapter 9, table 8, that we can get cross section area of conductor (circular mils) from 18 AWG to 4/0 AWG. What is the cross section area of conductor (circular mils) 250 AWG?

250,000 circular mils. You’ll notice in the “Size” column it states “(AWG or kcmil)”. One thousand circular mils = 1 kcmil. Two hundred fifty thousand circular mils = 250 kcmil and 250 AWG.


Wayne Carver asks:
I want to install three different lights into my ceiling in my building. How do I run the wires into one switch?

Run power to the switch. Then from the switch to the first light. Then from the first light to the next light; etc. I wrote a few articles with step by step instructions which may help you.

  1. Wiring Diagram and Instructions to Wire a Single Pole Switch
  2. How to Wire a Recreation Room in Your Basement – Part 2: Installing the Cables
  3. How to Wire a Recreation Room in Your Basement – Part 4: Terminating the Lighting Circuits


Annalisa asks:
Hi, we recently had our basement done, carpet was removed and tile was installed. Our contractor raised our baseboard heaters off of the ground and it is now about 1 foot from the floor (probably a little less). It looks strange to me and I was wondering if this is normal or even safe? Do you think we should have him move it closer to the floor like normal?

Does your basement flood? This is the only reason I can think of to raise the heaters. There is nothing in the National Electrical Code® regarding height limitations for electric baseboard heaters. Mounting electric baseboard heaters one foot or so above the floor is not normal. We typically install these heater right on the finished floor.

The only safety issue that I can come up with is clearance from drapes. Typically, electric baseboard heaters are installed directly under windows. So mounting them approximately one foot above the floor would place the heaters closer to your windows and drapes. They also can’t be placed under a receptacle.

If you would like the heaters moved, then yes, I would call the contractor back to lower them. I would have them moved if they were in my house.


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