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
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
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
Op --standin' corrected, once again--
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.
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
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
Better electricians always wrap the wire around the screw.
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.
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.
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
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
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