Thursday, January 21, 2010


Untrained homeowners are not Electricians

People blow my mind! Here is another example of Jow Blow thinking he can build something he hasn't studied and doesn't understand!

Question: Hi

I have a $11,500 audio system in my house, so I want to take care of it as one would assume.

So I decided it may be best to upgrade my "old style" 100 amp screw in fuse box with an update breaker system to 150 amp box.
I am also including 2 dedicated 20 amp outles in my audio room.

My main reason to update and upgrade is due to the fact everytime I turn on my washer/dryer the lights will flicker, and im assuming the volts are dropping which is not good for sensitive gear. Also, whenever I turn on my amp and my other receiver (Amp is 1350 watts ----- the receiver is 8.1 amps) my room lights will also flicker.

My room already has 4 outlets, however they all pull from the same breaker. So im assuming this means there are alot of splices which im assuming is not ideal for sensitive equipment.
My current outlets are sort of weird, as they have 2 red wires, 2 white wires, 1 black wire, and one ground, which is just confusing to me.

To save on some cost, I wanted to purchase the Romex wire myself and run the wire to the fuse box, and "then" call the electrician to install.

So my question is, what wire do I need to get for a 2 plug in outlet....? 12/2 or 12/3 or 10/2 or 10/3. I know 12 gauge is for 20 amps, but I would like to be safer and get the 10 gauge wire.

I bought some 20 amp outlets, and im confused. it has 4 side hook ups, and 1 ground hookup. Now ive been told all I need is a 12/2 romex wire, but 12/2 only has 3 wires including the ground, so how does this work?

Any help on this matter would be appreciated and any other suggestions or informaiton regarding my sensitive electronics would be helpful


The following was published by myself some time ago in response to an inquiry about advice regarding creation of a piece of equipment to serve a particular need by someone with no background in electrical installations.

"There are numerous varied methods of accomplishing the purpose you suggest, depending on conditions, environment and use. These limitations are defined in NFPA 70, also known as the National Electrical Code. Design requirements to meet these standards are the subject of nearly endless engineering, materials and design programs at uncountable educational institutions throughout the United States. Teeming multitudes of manufacturing enterprises employ the skills of thousands of engineers and designers to develop devices and materials that enable them to produce equipment that will be deemed suitable for the use by assorted standards maintenance organizations. Not the least of these is Underwriters Laboratories, which authorizes the use of the UL label indicating that an item has been tested and found to meet the requirements for use if installed according to instruction or applied in the manner and for the purpose for which it was manufactured.

I think you will find something that will accomplish your purpose if you invest some time in research into the manufacture of electrical enclosures, the process and available methods of cable splicing and the requirements surrounding the application of related devices and materials."

I find your offhand suggestion that you can learn enough to duplicate the results of the experience of a trained, licensed electrician by reading a short missive in an inquiry chat letter insulting.

You make a lot of assumptions, which are unfounded.

You say your outlets are weird. You haven't done enough research to learn why there are five terminals and three wires. You don't know enough to say they are weird. [It sounds unusual, but YOU don't know why, nor do you convey sufficient information to help anyone else suggest why.] You shouldn't be doing what you propose, because you do not have sufficient skill.

I agree you have a problem, because of the flickering you describe. It could be at the panel, the meter or the service connection to the utility. It might be the neutral termination at the transformer. Changing your service may not even fix the problem. Why upgrade to 150 amps? Have you blown the main fuse of the 100 amp service you have?

You want to run ten gauge instead of twelve? Bigger is better? Why not six gauge? What makes you think a competent professional will want to connect to cables you run? Energizing those cables would make him responsible for the wiring you installed.

Want to do electrical work? Study the subject and then practice by installing a receptacle for your sump pump, an outside light or something else that won't break your heart if it fails catastrophically.

You can afford an eleven thousand dollar audio system? You should hire the best, most knowledgeable electrician you can find to provide reliable power to and protection for that system.

Philadelphia electrician answers FAQs

I will not give someone information so he thinks he knows enough to do something but will likely only burn down his home!

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