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Electrical Articles


These articles share common electrical projects like How to Wire an Outlet. Most areas in North American adhere to National Electric Code (NEC) guidelines, and we reveal how to get free access to the 2011 NEC.

How to Convert a Regular-Switched Circuit to a 3-Way
Ethan | January 22, 2013
How to Convert a Regular-Switched Circuit to a 3-Way

If you’ve ever thought, “I wish I had another switch for this bunch of lights,” then you’re not alone. You can actually achieve that functionality by converting a single-switched circuit to a 3-way switched circuit without too much work. 3-way switches allow you to control a circuit from two different locations, and they’re commonly used for lighting to conveniently turn the lights on and off from two different places. How 3-Way Switches Work 3-way switches are named for the fact that each switch has three... 

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How to Install New Work Recessed Lighting
Ethan | October 18, 2012
How to Install New Work Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is a common part of many home improvement projects, and I’ve seen it installed in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and more. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before with my recessed lighting tabletop demonstration. However, today’s Pro-Follow will showcase how Russel, a master electrician and owner of ETC Electric installs recessed lighting with some important tips along the way.Usually it’s a requirement to obtain an electrical permit for work that includes a new or extended circuit,... 

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How to Get a Free Copy of the 2011 National Electric Code (NFPA 70)
Fred | October 11, 2012
How to Get a Free Copy of the 2011 National Electric Code (NFPA 70)

Editors Note: One of our regular readers, Trebor, mentioned how much he enjoyed that we include references to building code in our Pro-Follows. Understanding and following local regulations are an important part of any home improvement project, and Trebor’s comment reminded me that we have these great instructions for obtaining free access to the 2011 NEC. In addition, here are links for free access to the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Building Code (IBC), and don’t forget to have underground lines... 

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How to Repair a Cut or Damaged Power Cord
Ethan | September 10, 2012
How to Repair a Cut or Damaged Power Cord

Editors Note: As Todd and Joe point out in the comments of this article, this repair is not acceptable by OSHA standards. Look for an update to this article with an OSHA approved cord repair in the near future. Contractors can be brutally tough on their tools, and given enough time, it’s not uncommon for a power tool cord to get nicked, damaged or even completely severed. Some manufacturers have responded with removable power cords that are easy to replace, and those have been met with mixed reviews. However, fixing a broken cord... 

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Video: How to Wire a Half-Switched Outlet
Fred | April 30, 2012
Video: How to Wire a Half-Switched Outlet

Today we’re bringing you a video from our workshop on wiring half-switched outlets. A half-switched outlet is an outlet where either the top or bottom half of the outlet is controlled by a switch, while the other half is always on. This outlet configuration is common in homes built in the 1980s, when this method of wiring reached peak popularity. This video explains one wiring approach for creating a half-switched outlet to help you either diagnose or create this configuration in the future. In this example, the power comes from... 

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How to Wire an Outlet
Ethan | April 25, 2012
How to Wire an Outlet

Wiring an electrical outlet may seem intimidating until you’ve learned the right way to do it. This tabletop demonstration provides a detailed look at how to wire a typical, household outlet including properly splicing ground wires, stripping wires, making the appropriate connections and securing the outlet in the box. Code and Electrical Permits Permits: In some areas you are required to obtain a permit for electrical work that includes a new or extended circuit, and sometimes only licensed master electricians can obtain these permits.... 

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How to Install Track Lighting
Ethan | April 20, 2012
How to Install Track Lighting

We’ve setup quite a bit of track lighting in our shop, and yesterday I finished installing some additional units. We like track lighting a lot because there are many of styles of lights available, and because we can move or redirect the lights as needed. We use track lighting for taking pictures, recording video, and getting a lot of light on our workbenches. Read on to learn how you can install track lighting too. Permits: In some areas you are required to obtain a permit for electrical work that includes a new or extended circuit,... 

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How to Wire Recessed Lighting (Tabletop Walk Through)
Ethan | March 16, 2012
How to Wire Recessed Lighting (Tabletop Walk Through)

I’m not sure about you, but I learn best by seeing how something is done and then doing it myself. In that effort, I’ve put together a table top mock up for wiring recessed lights, along with steps and thoughts for running this lighting setup in a real home environment. Recessed lighting is a very popular home improvement project, and this article will help you better understand the wiring components of this job. The pictures below shows components of my entire table top “system” of new-work, recessed lights, starting... 

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How to Replace a Plug on an Extension Cord
Fred | January 27, 2009
How to Replace a Plug on an Extension Cord

Check out the latest addition to our shop: a fantastic 20 foot, 4-plug extension cord. Our good buddy Chuck rescued four of these heavy-duty extension cords just before they were chucked into a local dumpster. Apparently, during a remodel these cords were no longer useful because they weren’t long enough for the new configuration. The only issue with our new extension cord is the plug on the end, which is a 20-amp 3 prong locking-style plug.  If you squint on this picture, you’ll notice that the brown receptacles on the other... 

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