Electrical Wiring

Many projects and improvements around the house require some sort of electrical knowledge. Or knowledge of a friend who has electrical knowledge!

Regardless, there are some safety precautions that should be taken when dealing with electrical wiring!

Before beginning any electrical repair, shut off the power.

Remove the fuse or trip the breaker for the circuit you will be working on in your service panel. Use a neon tester to be sure the power is off. If there is any doubt, you can remove the main fuse or trip the main breaker.

Remember: Removing the main fuse or tripping the main breaker will usually shut off the power to the entire house. In my opinion, better safe than sorry! Electrical wires are color coded to prevent wiring errors.

Home Electrical Wiring

White wires almost always connect to other white wires or to chrome terminal screws on switches and receptacles.

Some electrical wiring devices–such as receptacles–are back-wired by pushing the bare wire end into spring grip holes. These wiring devices are plainly labeled to show which color goes into each spring grip hole.

Switches are nearly always connected into black wires in cables. The only exception is where a cable is extended, making it necessary for the white wire to play the role of the black wire. When this is necessary, the white wires should be painted black to prevent future wiring errors.

Study the wiring diagram. This will help you understand the basic principles of good wiring. Also, find a good electrical how-to book. It’s one book every homeowner should keep on hand for ready reference. If you know an electrician, ask them which one is the best for the average homeowner!

Most home electrical wiring is complete with either No. 14 gauge or No. 12 gauge wiring. No. 14 is the smallest wiring permitted under most codes. Always use the same size cable for a continuation of any extended wiring circuit.

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