What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Correcting Electrical Receptacles

We have now been in this house officially for one week regardless that it was past midnight last Thursday that we finally finished the move. If you look at the list from yesterday you will see we have noticed a few problems. Some of these problems are a little more pressing than others and so it was with the electricity. We were experiencing brown-outs.

Brown-outs occur because of a dip in the voltage along the electric line resulting in the opposite of a surge. This results in lights dimming or flickering especially during heavy loads. If the brown-outs are occuring because of the electric company there is little you can do about it. In our situation, the brown-outs were occuring because of plugs that were not properly wired. This happens often in older homes where a plug has been added without the proper knowledge to do so. For this reason you need a household tester kit with GRT-500A. This tester detects common wiring problems in standard outlets. It uses a series of light patterns to test for wiring conditions. In 1 this kitchen plug was showing the hot and neutral contacts were interchanged. As each plug was tested the result was noted with a post-it note as seen in 2. It is easier to test all the plugs then correct room by room later. The electricity was turned off to the plug then tested to be sure it was off. The plug was replace and wired correctly then retested after the power was turned on.

We are replacing all plugs and switches throughout the house. Most of them are quite old and even if wired correctly are likely faily to some degree. What we want to see is the two orange lights as indicated in 3 as this indicates the wiring is correct. This is the method we will be using as we go from room to room. We redid the kitchen and switches in two rooms. We have already seen a reduction in brown-outs!

The majority of the electrical problems we found were hot/neutral reversed. However, we found one bathroom and two bedroom plugs with an open ground reading. The bathroom plug is easily fixed using a GFI plug something that would be needed anyway. A new ground will have to be added to the bedroom plugs.

Materials Needed: receptacle tester, wire cutters, flat head screw driver, builder's package replacement plugs, builder's package receptacle covers, electrical tape

Now I would be remiss if I did not give a warning. We are very comfortable working with most electrical issues. This is NOT a DIY project if you do not have the working knowledge for wiring and electrical problems. If in doubt, hire an electrician.

Garden Gnome
© 2007


jayedee said...

my stars! is there nothing you can't do?

i soo enjoy your blogs and get more inspiration than you know from them.
thank you for sharing yourself and your world with us!

Garden Gnome said...

Thank-you for your very flattering compliments (blushing). I'm glad you enjoy my blogs and find them inspiring.

Jeremy said...

Even pros have a deep respect for the power of electricity. Having worked around it my whole life I am not afraid of it but I certainly respect it and encourage all to do the same.

Well at least you have one item crossed off your list, lt me know when you get to the A/C