Electrical Installing Tips to Avoid Mistake

Installing problems and mistakes are all too common when we are doing home improvement or remodeling, however they are the potential factors to cause short circuits, shocks and even fires. Let’s take a look what they are and how to fix it.

Cutting Wires Too Short

Mistake: Wires are cut too short to make wire connections easy to install and—since this will definitely make poor connections—dangerous.  Keep the wires long enough to protrude at least 3 inches from the box.

How to fix it: There is an easy solution if you run into short wires, that is, you could simply add 6-in. extensions onto the existing wires.


Plastic-Sheathed Cable is Unprotected

Mistake: It’s easy to hurt plastic- sheathed cable when it is left exposed between framing members. This shall be the reason why the electrical code requires cable to be protected in these areas. In this case, cable is especially vulnerable when it’s run over or under wall or ceiling framing.

How to fix it: You could nail or screw a 1-1/2 inches thick board near to the cable to protect exposed plastic-sheathed cable. It is not necessary to staple the cable to the board. Should I run wire along a wall? You can use metal conduit.


Hot and Neutral Wires Reversed

Mistake: Connecting the black hot wire to the neutral terminal of an outlet creates the potential danger such as a lethal shock. The trouble is that you probably not realize the mistake until someone gets shocked, this is because lights and most other plug-in devices will keep working but they are not safe.

How to fix it: Please double check every time when you finished the wiring.  Always connect the white wire to the neutral terminal of outlets and light fixtures. The neutral terminal is always marked and usually identified by a silver or light-colored screw. After that, you could then connect the hot wire to the other terminal. If there’s a green or bare copper wire, that’s the ground. It’s very important to connect the ground to the green grounding screw or to a ground wire or grounded box.


Adopt smaller BOX

Mistake: dangerous overheating, short-circuiting and fire will happen when too many wires are stuffed into a box. The National Electrical Code specifies minimum box sizes to reduce this risk.

How to fix it: To find out the minimum box size required, add up the items in the box:

  • for each hot wire and neutral wire entering the box
  • for all the ground wires combined
  • for all the cable clamps combined
  • for each electrical device (switch or outlet but not light fixtures)

You can multiply the total by 2.00 for 14-gauge wire and multiply by 2.25 for 12-gauge wire to get the minimum box size required in cubic inches. Then choose a box volume as per the calculated date. Usually, you could find that plastic boxes have the volume stamped inside, and it’s on the back. Steel box capacities are listed in the electrical code. Steel boxes won’t be labeled, that means you’ll have to measure the height, width and depth of the interior, then  multiply to figure the volume.

Wiring a GFCI Outlet Backward

Mistake: GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets usually protect you from a lethal shock by shutting off the power when they sense slight differences in current.

How to fix it: There are two pairs of terminals, one pair with labeled ‘line’ for incoming power for the GFCI outlet itself, another pair is labeled ‘load’ for providing protection for downstream outlets. The shock protection will not work if you mix up the line and load connections. If the wiring in your home is outdated, it’s the time to buy a new one for replacement.

Post time: May-30-2023