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Avoid Home Improvement Electrical Wiring Problems

Home Improvement Electrical Projects – In my experience this job would have taken more than 5 hours….

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How to Avoid Home Improvement Electrical Problems
Electrical Question: A good friend of mine who has stage 4 lung cancer hired this so called electrician, she was doing the upstairs wiring for two bedrooms and a bath. She is doing this project to prove that people with cancer can still live.

I hope this makes sense to you. To make a long story short, the electrician came to install the wiring for the new light switches outlets and ceiling lights, what do we do next?

Thank you so much.

Background: Judy, a Homeowner from Rocky Point N.

Additional Comments: It is very helpful.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Judy,
Best wishes for your Lady Friend and her battle against Cancer, her attitude will keep her going strong, and Good For You to be there to help her out with all of this!

Home Improvement Electrical Projects

Judy – You would like to how much it will cost for your answer because you are doing this for a friend as explained in the above question.

I can tell you that from looking at your situation that it would be very hard to know exactly how the wiring was installed and what needs to be completed, however if the electrician that was hired knew what he was doing then a lot of the connections are pretty straight forward.The best thing is to get the electrician back on the job to complete the project – with an understanding about what he will do and how much he will charge, and get it in writing! – and do NOT pay until the project has passed inspection.Judy – I must tell you based on experience that from what you have described it must have taken the electrician more that 5 hours to do this work unless the walls are totally open and he had easy access to the panel for installing the circuits. The amount you stated was $1600 at 5 hours – that comes to $320 per hour – which would be incredibly wrong. Like I said, in my experience this job would have taken more than 5 hours, but would have cost about the same amount of money. Just for quick figures – in my area it generally costs about $50 PER Outlet, Light, Switch, Ceiling fan and about $75 per circuit to the panel to install wiring for a remodel project along with other additional job related costs. It all depends on access, distance to run the wiring, type of construction, if the area is free from obstacles, etc.. So you can do the math, but I’ll bet the cost is very close to what you have paid.
My advice at this point: Do not insulate or sheet rock until the wiring is understood and the connections made and tested.
Then the inspection must take place to verify the work before the insulation is installed and the walls are closed up.

In Summary of this situation from my perspective:

  • I see this happen over and over again, and the reason is because there was no signed contract, agreement or understanding as to the estimated charges, basically no documentation and possibly no working plan from which a bid or estimate the project. The electrician can be held responsible for the project to pass inspection when there is a signed contract.
  • One item that I saw which presents a lot of concern is when a homeowner provides the materials, and here’s why: The homeowner is hiring someone else to do the job because they do not know how, so how in the world can they provide the correct materials to do the job? Every electrician I know would rather use their own materials because they will be the right type based on their experience and there personal and professional preference. Honestly, there are (some) cheep materials that are sold at most hardware stores that I would NEVER install on a job because they are not the NEMA Industry Standard and because there are a lot of counterfeited materials that are coming into the country that are not genuinely UL Approved.
  • So – Buyer Beware! – and yet, how would YOU know? Well, that my friends is what this website is ALL about. It is my goal to help you understand the right way electrical projects are installed according to code so that when the time comes for you to plan an electrical project you will make the right decisions about what it takes to do the electrical job and who is Best Qualified to do that job, which in most cases is a LICENSED Electrical Contractor!

My motto: Do it right the First Time – you will sleep better at night (and you won’t smell smoke)!

I have also provided the following links that lead to fully detailed information on this website that will assist you with your home electrical wiring project


Hiring an Electrical Contractor

Air Conditioning Articles

Electrical Wire for the Home

For more information about Electrical Wiring
Electrical Wiring

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

Make sure not to miss these Resources for: How-To-Videos
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Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
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
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Avoid Home Improvement Electrical Wiring Problems”
  1. joseph says:

    I am wiring garbage disposal there are two leads at switch bk/ white there are are three leads at receptacle red, black and white. Only the red lead is hot so I can not wire the conventional way. I did brake tab on brass side. Please help

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Joseph,
      Take a look at this Disposal Wiring Diagram and check the wiring connections.
      Makes sure to positively identify the incoming circuit and the wiring to the switch. The red wire is either of a multi-wire circuit, or it may be used to switch the disposal portion of the receptacle outlet.


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