ask the electrician
Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

» Residential Electrical Wiring Guide to Home Wiring
» Need Electrical Help? Get a Quick Reply! Ask the Electrician

Dealing with a New or Used Home with Questionable Electrical Wiring

Home Electrical Wiring Problems and How to Fix Them: Dealing with Questionable Electrical Wiring in a New or Older Home that May Cause Concerns.


Home Electrical Wiring Video

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet
without a Ground Wire

Check out my YouTube Channel and Subscribe to my Videos
» AskTheElectrician «

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
So Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

Questionable Electrical Wiring
Electrical Question: I just moved in to this trailer and the wires for the stove are not hooked up to the breaker.


This home electrical wiring question came from: Chris in Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your home electrical question Chris.

Home Electrical Wiring Problems and How to Fix Them

electrical wiring

Application: Upgrading Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Electrical Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits,  Extension Cords, and Ladders.
Construction Safety: All personal safety measures must be taken when performing remodel projects where you may come into contact with hazardous materials and environmental contaminants  such as fiberglass insulation, vermiculite and asbestos, molds or mildew, as well as dust.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the type of wall coverings and structural construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring or upgrading existing electrical circuits and wiring should always be well thought out, done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

What to do about Questionable Electrical Wiring in a New or Older Home

More about How to Fix Home Electrical Wiring

Electrical Wire for Electrical Repairs and Home Remodel Projects

Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.

Guide to Home Electrical Wire

Electrical Wire for the Home

Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

How to Wire an Oven or Stove

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

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, Handy Women, 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.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

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.

More articles about Electrical Repair and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
How Electric Heaters can be a Problem for Renters Installing a Power Conditioner for Audio Video Equipment

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Dealing with a New or Used Home with Questionable Electrical Wiring”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bernie,
    When dealing with older home wiring where the wires are not identified with color insulation but you do know which wire is the ground wire, a voltage tester will be helpful to identify which wire is the hot or black wire with 120 volts, and which is the neutral wire.

  2. Bernie says:

    I have Old Wiring coming out of my ceiling. There are 2 black wires twisted together and 1 single black wire by it self.
    My new ceiling fan /light has 1 black wire, 1 white wire, 1 blue wire, and 1 green wire. The green is no problem.
    What wire do I connect to the 2 black twisted wires?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Marty,
    When a hot and neutral of a 120 volt circuit are connected together it will cause the circuit to experience a rush of power that will flow through the ground path which will trip off the circuit breaker or blow the circuit fuse. It should be noted that especially with older homes that white wires were used with light switch circuit wiring of the controlling switch. This is also know as the switched leg, the switch wiring is basically a loop of the hot wire running through the light switch. Some homes that are much older may still have switched neutrals which was a common practice back then, however the method of switching the hot wire has been adopted several years ago.

  4. Marty Van Stan says:

    What happens if a hot and a neutral wire are connected? I found this in my ceiling light fixture where there used to be a fan. There is also another set of wires (hot and neutral) properly connected.