I wanted to replace the outlets in my house. They are 40 years old and
many of them are in pretty sad shape. They work, but they've been
painted over and are just at the end of their useful life.
I live in Virginia, do I need to get this kind of work inspected? Do
I need a permit to do it?
Most places will let a home owner do their own work without permits and
inspections as long as it is just replacing existing components.
Are the current outlets grounded '3 hole' type?
Do you have copper or aluminum wiring?
If they are not grounded it complicates things a bit as you will need to
add grounds or use GFCI outlets.
If AL you will need to buy $pecial outlets and connector$ for AL wires.
Totally agree. You can probably do all the replacing, but you might want
to know what to look for in case there are (and there always are) problems
like Al wire, grounding problems, etc...
So, I don't have a clue what the bylaws are in your area, but a good wiring
book from the library would be worth it (free) to have as a reference as
If the old outlets are grounded, you can replace them with new
grounded outlets. HOWEVER, you are supposed to bring the box up to
code. That means the ground wire attaches to the BOX and the green
screw on the outlet. If the box is grounded using the conduit, you
have to install a green screw or clip and run the wire from the box to
This isn't hard to do and really improves your safety factor.
When you do it, just keep in mind Cowboy movies:
The guy in the black hat is the bad guy,
The good guy wears a white hat.
The wider blade is a good, and should meet the good guy,
the Weasel thin blade is a bad one, always hooked up with bad guys.
The round one is the school mam', who meets up with the good guy
eventually, down in the quite of the basement. She likes Green. She
also goes to church, she wants to save your soul.
Ok, so here's the deal. I started and all the outlets I've replaced so
far are grounded. So I'm replacing with similar outlets, bought at
HD. Each room has one outlet thats switched, BWG coming in and out
and a third line thats BWRG going out. I'm cool with that. I'm also a
suspender and belt guy. I have a multi-meter and I throw the 2
breakers for all the outlets and lights on the second floor, then test
each outlet with the multi-meter before I start to replace the outlet,
on the switches, I try to get in and check the switch to make sure
there's no power.
Most of my electrical experience is with DC, not AC, so I started out
a little confused, but I'm getting the hang of it. However, I've come
across one outlet that's got me stumped.
The black wire (hot) measured to ground shows 120V. Black measured to
white shows about 80V and white to ground shows 40. WTF? Anyone have
any idea what might be causing this?
Yeah, it's an AC thing which you may never have encountered in fooling with
DC. It's called "inductive coupling" wherein current flow is induced in
nearby components (wire). Your meter is of sufficiently high impedance (AC
resistance) to detect this minuscule (like nano-amps) current flow.
Ignore the reading.
Do not ignore that it seems that you neutral is not true neutral it maybe
some place as a ground and if this have anything to do with three way switch
that you may have voltage drop across the load whatever that may be.
do not ignore that power use if you most light bulb with pig tells across
if is going to light up partially. good luck
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