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Understanding and Identifying Electrical Wiring


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

As with all projects, positively identifying the wiring and understanding the purpose of the circuit in question is the key to knowing what can or cannot be done.

Electrical Question from Edmund about Electrical Wiring
Background: Edmund, a Homeowner from Monroeville, PA

Question: I have a electrical box where I wanted to put an outlet. The box has five incoming wires(each with a white, black and ground). I was wondering which two I should use to connect the outlet and how to take care of the other three wires.

Thanks you.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Edmund.
It depends if all these five pairs of wires are spliced together – color to color or not. If so then it may be as simple as adding a single pig-tail wire to each set that will attach to the proposed outlet, then using the appropriate sized wire splice connector. However, if the wires are not spliced as described then the wiring will need to be identified and understood what their function is. For example, you do not want to install the outlet on a wire that controls a light fixture.
As with all projects, positively identifying the wiring and understanding the purpose of the circuits in question is the key to knowing what can or cannot be done.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

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