Electrical Questions

My electrician just installed some standard 3 prong switches and outlets. I noticed he stuck the wires in the back rather than screw them on the side. Is this acceptable practice and usually code? I was worried they may come loose, especially as I went around pulling them out of the box to see the work performed.
Additionally, we notice that every time our 4 tone AC unit starts, all the lights in the house dim for a couple of seconds. Is this a sign of danger, and what should I check to be sure our service is safe?
FYI - It's 100 amp service in a 2000 sqft house with several breakers still available.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Boots Crofoot wrote:

Laziness aside, is there any evidence that push in wiring is in any way less reliable or safe than wire-under-screw connections?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well now that you mention it, I did once see where the terminals had arched causin' the wire to burn apart and no longer make contact with the now burnt contact terminals.
Op --standin' corrected, once again--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Guyz-N-Flyz rambled on about something in

That exact thing happened at my parents. In their case, it took about 20 years to show, though... <G>
NOI
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The dimming of the lights from the AC is unsafe?

I
still
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In my area, aluminum was used for some 15 amp circuits. They did use 12 gauge wire. Some houses have had problems where the push-in terminals were used. I realize this is the forbidden "A" word, but in some cases it did cause a burned outlet or fire. I'm glad my house did not use the push-ins, not even for the copper circuits.
Billy wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dimming of lights means something carrying that startup load is not firmly connected. It could be a minor problem, it might cause incandescent bulbs to burn out faster in some parts of house, but it is definitely easily fixed, unnecessary, and maybe (only maybe) an indicator of a more serious problem.
Wires stuck in back don't bother light bulbs. But electronics need not be subjected to those intermittents and resulting failure - if wire passes through any such wired outlet.
Better electricians always wrap the wire around the screw.
Billy wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Could it be the connection to the breaker itself?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Startup draws much more current than running. However, if lights dim, it suggests that the service is having trouble supplying the starting current. A poor connection in the circuit might make it difficult for the A/C to start, but it would not affect the rest of the service. (unless it is the actual service that is poorly connected, certainly a possibility)
100a is a very small service, and a 4 ton A/C is pretty big. It should say on the A/C how many running amps and starting amps it draws; how many?. Even better, invest $50 in an ampmeter and actually measure it. What else do you have going when the lights dim? If the A/C pushes the demand over 100a when starting, it will dim you lights.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If the A/C pushes the demand over 100 amps, then your cooling a MALL!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 14 Jul 2003, w_tom wrote:

And sometimes, we are better off when the not-so-better wanna be "electricians" use the backwire holes. I've seen some incredibly messy, half-assed attempts at wraping a wire around a screw in my days. Not that I'm defending backwiring, but *if* you do the stripping correctly, and *if* you don't mangle the wire and insert it straight in, then backwiring can hold tight and work OK.
--
TP

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 15 Jul 2003, Thund3rstruck wrote:

Agreed. If both dome correctly, I'll take using the screws any time.
--
TP

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The $0.50 outlets use springs, but the better ones use clamps off the side screws. While certainly not as secure as sidescrews, they are not bad.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ok...all code talk aside..
Backstabbing outlets is lazy, and can be dangerous.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
But why are the holes even present with a UL listed seal if they are dangerous?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Same reason you can go buy a can of R134a with no EPA card...in UNTRAINED hands, it can be very dangerous..

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Normally, no....but it could be a sign of a loose electric connection, undersized wire, a bad compressor, or a bad cap..even a bad contactor. Depends on what you call dimming of the lights. Loose neutrals can cause this, even tho the AC unit itself wont have a neutral. 4 tons is not that large...we install 5 ton units all the time with no dimming upon startup.
Better yet, we have some 15 ton commercial units, that will start up and pull less than 60 amps upon start, and you never know they are running, and the main is only a 600 amp panel...so...you might want to have the unit checked...

outlets.
side.
come
the
the
danger,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Are you saying it might be the unit, and not the electrical wiring? The unit is 22 years old.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Umm...yea... See it all the time... The AVERAGE life of a unit, depending on your location, is no more than 12 to 15 years...

see
all
breakers
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.