Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

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Calsaver
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Calsaver » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:02 pm

Lynette wrote:I was wondering how many people (especially women) replace their own switches/outlets/dimmers etc.
My wife wired all the electrical for a 3000 sq ft. house from scratch, alone, which shouldn't be a big deal since it turns out that women can do anything men can do. Lots of good info posted so far, go for it.

whomever
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by whomever » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:45 pm

I always avoided using them since there appears to be minimal contact surface area between the spring thingie and my 14 or 12 gauge wire. If you're drawing 14 amps through that receptacle, the circuit breaker is happy, but the minimal contact area could cause excess heat and melt or distemper the spring.
Just to be clear: there are three types (at least!) of connections:

1)ones where you just push the wire in from the rear and it's clamped, sort of, by a spring arm
2)ones where you wrap the wire around a screw and tighten the screw
3)ones where you push the stripped wire into a clamp mechanism, and tighten a screw to clamp the wire

IMHO, #1 is dicey, for the reasons you mention. #2 and #3 are perfectly fine; they provide similar contact area.

I grabbed one of the kind I'm talking about out of the spares pile and googled for the instructions:

http://www.legrand.us/-/media/brands/pa ... glish.ashx

See the section titled 'About wire connections', specifically the 'back wire' part.

n.b. - there is nothing special about this brand; many brands have the same type of connection in their premium models.

madbrain
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by madbrain » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:51 pm

livesoft wrote:I do lots of handy work. I start by watching youtube videos. Doesn't everyone?
A few years ago, we did a few ourselves but it was taking a while and not very clean work, so we let the electrician do the next 92 switches.

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just frank
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by just frank » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:17 am

Do it. I've replaced every outlet and switch in my entire house....they were getting very poor, arcing, plugs falling out, switches needed to be flipped multiple time to work, etc.

Good advice above. I would add to get good hardware. My store sells two kinds of outlets...one for like $1, and another that looks identical for $3.

Get the $3 ones. Maybe they will last 50 years instead of 15.

Also: US codes are moving to tamper resistant outlets (to keep kids from poking stuff inside), replacement is not required, but you might as well do that.

Also, current code is that all outlets in bathrooms, kitchens (except a single refrigerator outlet), garages and outdoors must be GFI. If you buy a plug in voltage tester, get one that tests GFIs, and test yours. If you have a non-GFI where you are supposed to have a GFI..upgrade. OFtentimes, regular outlets are chained off of a single GFI in the same room, which is aok, but you need a tester to show that the 'regular' outlet is protected.

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:27 am

Wow, thanks for all of the advice! I know how to switch off the circuit in my electrical panel. I relabeled them recently and was amused to find that many of them were labeled "general". I have all of the toys including a voltage tester. I mentioned that a lady told me she had been zapped many times. She is a most interesting person - came to my house to fix up an order that had been messed up by the Big Box store. She was one of ten children and most of them have gone into the trades. She was a maintenance person for over 20 years before joining the Big Box Store as an associate. She does it all - plumbing, electrical, etc.

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lthenderson
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:39 am

just frank wrote:Also: US codes are moving to tamper resistant outlets (to keep kids from poking stuff inside), replacement is not required, but you might as well do that.
Although I support this code, I really hate these tamper resistant outlets, at least the ones I bought several years back during a remodeling project. I have to push extremely hard to flip the blocking pieces out of the way and being that they are made of plastic, I wonder how long they will last compared to the previous ones before something breaks on them due to the increased forces.

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:09 am

So it is done!!! The electrician came to replace the three fluorescent light fixtures in the basement for me. I had not tightened the tubes sufficiently :oops: So the only problem is the acrylic cover that I broke. I bought I large sheet from Home Depot but I have to cut it half. I tried to cut to sheets by scoring them and then cut in half but they broke. ilI'll have to read a few more YouTube videos - probably buy a saw!! Otherwise I'll call in my handyman but he'll likely get mad as I'm getting another contractor to do some work he could do - so goes life.

I asked the electrician if he could show me how to install the dimmer. He did not even switch off the circuit breaker - said he did not need to - been an electrician for over 30 years. I did not realize that in order to connect the wires, one simply puts them both into a small yellow plastic device, screws and voila, the wires are connected. He the dimmer back in so now I have a dimmer that works!

Most of the outlets in my house only have two wires. The electrician said that I could have a GFIC outlet that connects to all the outlets on that circuit. I have these outlets in the two bathrooms and recently had one installed in the kitchen.

The kind electrician did not even charge me!! My lucky day! He said he was available if I needed assistance. My next project after all of the rest will be to see what it takes to have Alexa control my lights - but that will be for another life or location!

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by BrandonBogle » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:37 am

Lynette wrote: The kind electrician did not even charge me!! My lucky day! He said he was available if I needed assistance. My next project after all of the rest will be to see what it takes to have Alexa control my lights - but that will be for another life or location!
I am glad the electrician was so very helpful and it all worked out. Consider sending them a thank you card and definitely keep them on your list for the next electoral work. Maybe one day I'll join you in the Alexa arena. I got one for Christmas and have my thermostat hooked up to it and am already finding it convenient at times to have it do things while I'm in the kitchen or cuddling with the dog or cat.

TonyDAntonio
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by TonyDAntonio » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:47 am

livesoft wrote:I do lots of handy work. I start by watching youtube videos. Doesn't everyone?
This. I actually did a bathroom remodel this way. I only contracted out the countertops and some drywall work everything else, plumbing, tiling, carpentry, I did myself and I watched tons of videos for help. Change outlets yourself. One tip, take a picture of the wiring before you disconnect the old switch, especially threeway switches.

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:53 pm

jf89 wrote:As someone else pointed out, this is very easy work if you know what you're doing. It's also very easy to screw up if you don't (or if the person who did it previously didn't know what they were doing or did a poor job). And screwing up this work means you electrocute yourself or do something that causes a fire (maybe not right away). You used to wire plugs on appliances, so my gut says you at least have the basics of wiring down, and this should just be a matter of you familiarizing yourself with your home's electrical panel and the specific wiring job at hand.

So my overall advice would be that if you don't know what you're doing, don't do it and find yourself a more trustworthy electrician/handyman. But this is something that you can teach yourself (especially with your history of wiring). I think Home Depot regularly runs free clinics (especially ones pandering to women to be self-reliant where they make you wear a pink bib)... maybe look at local hardware stores to see if there are any going on near you.

Also as a side note: I'm a man, but it's still a pet peeve of mine when people ask if any women have done something stereotypically male as if the genders are born with a different skill set. You should just be looking for people of your particular background who have done it (such as: you used to work with 220 and know how to wire a plug), not someone of your gender. It has zero to do with your skills. I wouldn't walk around asking if any men know how to [insert female-only task stereotype here], and if they think I could do it.
The wiring diagrams were quite good on the product. It could be used with either a single pole or three way. I was confused by the yellow receptacles where one screwed in the two wires.

On stereotypes, I'm 73 and have just retired from a job in IT. I've amused myself in the past 6 months doing things myself as my handyman was not available. He was a little horrified by my escapades and told his other clients about me. :D There was overt discrimination in South Africa when I started working. I was briefly a History and Latin teacher. Men were paid more than women on the theory that they needed to support their families. Once a woman got married she had to go onto the temporary staff. One lady who worked for me was not allowed to go into the sales as the manager of the department said that the market was not ready for women. She resigned and became the top sales person in her company. I have multiple examples of this. I think that the US was 30 years ahead in the way that women's capabilities were viewed when I came here 35 years ago. I don't think that today's generation have a clue what it was like in the work environment 50 years ago for women.

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TinkerPDX
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by TinkerPDX » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:56 pm

Definitely a DIY project.

TerryDMillerMBA
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by TerryDMillerMBA » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:31 pm

Gropes & Ray wrote:Shut the power off at the breaker box and go for it. Replacing a switch or outlet is easy. You can do it.
1. Shut off the power to the circuit you are working on.
2. Put a note on the breaker box that warns others.
3. Re-check steps one and two!
4. Do your work.
5. Turn power back on.
6. Smile and count your $aving$.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by dpc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:46 pm

He did not even switch off the circuit breaker - said he did not need to - been an electrician for over 30 years
Sigh.... as an electrical safety person, this is always disheartening to hear. Electricity won't care how long he's been an electrician. He absolutely should have de-energized that circuit. Residential electricians often do energized work because homeowners hate having to reset all of their clocks and other devices. On a 120 V circuit, you're unlikely to kill yourself, especially if certain tricks of the trade are used. But it can happen. The risk is fairly low, but it's a completely unnecessary risk. If you use this knucklehead again, don't stand too close.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:18 pm

dpc wrote:
He did not even switch off the circuit breaker - said he did not need to - been an electrician for over 30 years
Sigh.... as an electrical safety person, this is always disheartening to hear. Electricity won't care how long he's been an electrician. He absolutely should have de-energized that circuit. Residential electricians often do energized work because homeowners hate having to reset all of their clocks and other devices. On a 120 V circuit, you're unlikely to kill yourself, especially if certain tricks of the trade are used. But it can happen. The risk is fairly low, but it's a completely unnecessary risk. If you use this knucklehead again, don't stand too close.
The electrician told me which was the "hot" wire and not to touch it and the electrical outlet. He made me stand back. My handyman who installed the initial switch did not turn off the circuit either. I joked that he would kill himself but he did not seem phased. He has done a lot of my electrical work such as installing multiple lights that I bring home from the Big Box Stores when I decide I want a light replaced. So I think it is standard practice for contractors not to turn off circuit breakers when they do work.

arsenalfan
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by arsenalfan » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:07 pm

I DIY and turn off breaker.
A friend/handyman also does it for $10 a switch, doesn't turn off breaker, wears insulated gloves.

mouses
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by mouses » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:13 pm

Lynette wrote: Renovating old little houses! Mine is in a prime location where little houses like mine are being broken down and replaced by largerhomes. I guess there are pro's and cons to these older houses! I've just signed a contract to have six windows replaced and tomorrow the electrician comes to replace the fluorescent light fixtures in the basement.

Thanks again,

Lynette
I guess this is too late, but rehabbing older wood windows is generally much better than replacing them with modern windows. Modern windows suck in terms of life expectancy, and if your house is interesting historically they never look right.

Flickering fluorescent light fixtures may just need new starters. These are screw out screw in things, no disassembly necessary. I learned that here and now have working plant lights.

Female here, I have done simple switch replacements.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by surfstar » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:27 pm

livesoft wrote:I do lots of handy work. I start by watching youtube videos. Doesn't everyone?
Yep. Its how I learned to replace toilets. Did two at my Mom's place and two at ours. Saved hundreds of dollars (and now lots of water!).

Electrical - same thing. Car maintenance and most repairs = same. Diagnosing is the harder thing to learn; R&R is quite easy.


Oh and I recommend LEDs - they have reasonably priced LED replacement 4' tubes for flouros. Costco, HomeDepot, Amazon, etc carry them.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by whomever » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:47 pm

I joked that he would kill himself but he did not seem phased
I dunno if the pun was intentional, but if so, well played!

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:06 pm

whomever wrote:
I joked that he would kill himself but he did not seem phased
I dunno if the pun was intentional, but if so, well played!
Accidental - thanks for noticing.

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:12 pm

.....
Last edited by Lynette on Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hulahoop60
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Hulahoop60 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:30 pm

Last week the bathroom thermostat for our heated floor broke. I advised hubby that the thermostat was broken and needed to be replaced. "Who's going to do that", he said. "I am", I replied. Took me 20 minutes after watching a you tube video. I also change wall switches and installed the door bell, and year's ago when we had a wood porch in the front of the house, I would be seen pulling up rotted treads and replacing them too. You can do it!

Also, I have a fluorescent light in my basement above the washer/dryer. I've been in my house for 24 years and have never had to change that bulb!! It is still going strong!

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cockersx3
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by cockersx3 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:05 pm

Lynette wrote:
AlwaysAStudent wrote:
Lynette wrote:I was wondering how many people (especially women) replace their own switches/outlets/dimmers etc.
Female, have changed/replaced/installed several switches/outlets/dimmers in my lifetime. I always research something like this before I do it the 1st time and refresh my memory if it has been a while since the last time.
Thanks all - I have asked friends my age and older - none have worked with electrical. I'll get around to doing it as soon as the other remodeling - and taxes and medicare and other financial stuff has been done. I retired at the end of 2016. Another problem with these old house like mine that was built in 1950 is that they only have two wires. I have been assured by several contractors that the electrical is grounded in the panel box and I don't need to have the house rewired. Its a real pain to scrape the paint off of the screws and then cut it out with a utility knife. I've removed several baseboard registers that needed replacing.

Renovating old little houses! Mine is in a prime location where little houses like mine are being broken down and replaced by largerhomes. I guess there are pro's and cons to these older houses! I've just signed a contract to have six windows replaced and tomorrow the electrician comes to replace the fluorescent light fixtures in the basement.

Thanks again,

Lynette
Lynette....can you ask the electrician coming tomorrow to replace one of those outlets, and just look over his (or her) shoulder as it is done? Or better yet, maybe ask the electrician to show you how to do it? Seriously, you will be surprised at absurdly easy this is, once someone shows you how.

I cannot even imagine having to hire an electrician to do something this simple. At the same time, I was also blessed to have had exposure to basic DIY when I was younger which is important. I am now paying it forward to my kids...my 12 year old daughter has done this before (with me looking over her shoulder of course :happy ). She has also helped me doing basic car maintenance...one of the only girls in her peer group at school that's done a brake job on a car. (And who knows...maybe I can get her to do the brakes on my car for me when she's older....? :sharebeer)

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by mindboggling » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:43 pm

Want a good laugh? Ask an electrician how electricity works!

steve
In broken mathematics, We estimate our prize, --Emily Dickinson

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:53 am

The Wizard wrote:I still have the 1978 version of the NEC upstairs.
Time to retire that. It's closer to the age of knob and tube than the present day.

I'd suggest a Viking funeral using some steel wool and a 9-V battery.

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Lynette
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Lynette » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:59 am

......
Last edited by Lynette on Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The Wizard
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:47 am

mindboggling wrote:Want a good laugh? Ask an electrician how electricity works!

steve
I don't see how that would be particularly funny,
Explanations that get into ampacity, ground faults, and AC phases would make some folks' eyes glaze over...
Attempted new signature...

ddurrett896
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by ddurrett896 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:07 am

Pull the outlet or switch out of the wall and move 1 wire at a time to the new device. Works every time.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:13 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
The Wizard wrote:I still have the 1978 version of the NEC upstairs.
Time to retire that. It's closer to the age of knob and tube than the present day.

I'd suggest a Viking funeral using some steel wool and a 9-V battery.
Perhaps.
For people who plan to do more extensive wiring, this textbook is arguably indispensable. It's updated with changes each time the NEC is updated, every three years?
It interprets the code to make things understandable to novice electricians.
Earlier editions of this book existed before YouTube did, if you can believe that!

https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Electr ... 0971977984
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:29 am

Hulahoop60 wrote:Last week the bathroom thermostat for our heated floor broke.
When I did an extensive bath remodel in our last house, I installed heat under the new tile. After discovering that the thermostat would cost as much or more than the heat element, and that the thermostat was the least reliable part of the system, I did the install with a high quality but relatively inexpensive dimmer in place of the thermostat. It worked great. I simply adjusted the dimmer initially, to what we considered a desirable setting, and then left it at the same setting. Switched the dimmer off in the summer, on in the winter, and that worked great.

The thermostat that was sold with the heating system I installed had an integral temperature sensor that would have been imbedded in the adhesive bed under the tile, making reasonable replacement impossible.

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lthenderson
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:13 am

neilpilot wrote:and that the thermostat was the least reliable part of the system
I replaced enough 50 year old still perfectly functioning thermostats to know that this is not the case. In fact, I've never replaced a thermostat that broke. People either want a change of style or a change in program-ability. I have replaced a lot of broken dimmer switches.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by bluebolt » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:30 pm

The Wizard wrote:
mindboggling wrote:Want a good laugh? Ask an electrician how electricity works!

steve
I don't see how that would be particularly funny,
Explanations that get into ampacity, ground faults, and AC phases would make some folks' eyes glaze over...
If you want an even bigger laugh, ask a physicist to wire your house.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:57 pm

lthenderson wrote:
neilpilot wrote:and that the thermostat was the least reliable part of the system
I replaced enough 50 year old still perfectly functioning thermostats to know that this is not the case. In fact, I've never replaced a thermostat that broke. People either want a change of style or a change in program-ability. I have replaced a lot of broken dimmer switches.
You maybe missing my point. When I said "the thermostat was the least reliable part" I was referring to the entire thermostat assembly, which has as it's weak link the temperature sensor. Let me explain....

The thermostat used in the under-tile electric heat pad system that I was referring to is not the same as a HVAC thermostat that senses air temperature at the case. This thermostat uses a hard-wired sensor imbedded along with the heat-pad, in the tile thinset. The common failure mode that I was referring to is the failure of the temperature sensor. The actual thermostat remains functional, but the temperature sensor becomes open wire and cannot be replaced without removing sections of tile, which would likely also destroy the heat pad. If the dimmer happens to fail, as you suggest, then it's easily replaced without the need to disturb the heat pad installation.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Ged » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:21 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
"Intrinsically safe" starts well below 110.
Intrinsically safe is a terminology that applies to the ability to detonate an explosive or ignite a flammable material. Not relevant to a handyman looking to replace an electrical outlet in his home.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by S&L1940 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:44 pm

about a previous post where an electrician simply goes into the box of live wires. Had a guy like that working for me and marveled how he went about it with such skill and confidence. Me, I tend to shut down the power in the whole neighborhood before removing a plate. Simple stuff, switches, outlets, light fixtures, not a problem. Move up the scale of difficulty and I call the pro.
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by tim1999 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:52 pm

No. Any electrical work in my house gets farmed out to a contractor.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:09 pm

The Wizard wrote:...I never turn off the main breaker if I need to work on something, just the breaker or fuse for that branch circuit...
Why not?
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by sport » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:11 pm

nisiprius wrote:
The Wizard wrote:...I never turn off the main breaker if I need to work on something, just the breaker or fuse for that branch circuit...
Why not?
I also just turn off the branch. However, I verify it is off before working on it. The reason is so the rest of the house operates normally.

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lthenderson
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:13 pm

neilpilot wrote:
lthenderson wrote:
neilpilot wrote:and that the thermostat was the least reliable part of the system
I replaced enough 50 year old still perfectly functioning thermostats to know that this is not the case. In fact, I've never replaced a thermostat that broke. People either want a change of style or a change in program-ability. I have replaced a lot of broken dimmer switches.
You maybe missing my point. When I said "the thermostat was the least reliable part" I was referring to the entire thermostat assembly, which has as it's weak link the temperature sensor. Let me explain....

The thermostat used in the under-tile electric heat pad system that I was referring to is not the same as a HVAC thermostat that senses air temperature at the case. This thermostat uses a hard-wired sensor imbedded along with the heat-pad, in the tile thinset. The common failure mode that I was referring to is the failure of the temperature sensor. The actual thermostat remains functional, but the temperature sensor becomes open wire and cannot be replaced without removing sections of tile, which would likely also destroy the heat pad. If the dimmer happens to fail, as you suggest, then it's easily replaced without the need to disturb the heat pad installation.
It's easy to miss the point when the word thermostat is used instead of saying thermister when referring to the least reliable part. But still I would be cautious about using a dimmer. Most household dimmers are rated for 600 watts though 300 watt ones can easily be found. A typical in floor electrical heating system needs between 12 and 20 watts per square foot. That means you can only have in floor heating for a 30 to 50 square foot space (assuming you bought the 600 watt dimmer) before you run into "over-lamping" issues.

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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:19 pm

nisiprius wrote:
The Wizard wrote:...I never turn off the main breaker if I need to work on something, just the breaker or fuse for that branch circuit...
Why not?
So you can run an extension cord over to an active outlet and have light/power in the work area.

dave_k
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by dave_k » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:43 pm

TonyDAntonio wrote:
livesoft wrote:I do lots of handy work. I start by watching youtube videos. Doesn't everyone?
This. I actually did a bathroom remodel this way. I only contracted out the countertops and some drywall work everything else, plumbing, tiling, carpentry, I did myself and I watched tons of videos for help. Change outlets yourself. One tip, take a picture of the wiring before you disconnect the old switch, especially threeway switches.
I've done the same thing, a complete bathroom remodel, by watching videos, reading up on codes, and applying some common sense. Right down to taking pictures of the wiring of 3-way switches.

dave_k
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by dave_k » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:57 pm

Lynette wrote:
dpc wrote:
He did not even switch off the circuit breaker - said he did not need to - been an electrician for over 30 years
Sigh.... as an electrical safety person, this is always disheartening to hear. Electricity won't care how long he's been an electrician. He absolutely should have de-energized that circuit. Residential electricians often do energized work because homeowners hate having to reset all of their clocks and other devices. On a 120 V circuit, you're unlikely to kill yourself, especially if certain tricks of the trade are used. But it can happen. The risk is fairly low, but it's a completely unnecessary risk. If you use this knucklehead again, don't stand too close.
The electrician told me which was the "hot" wire and not to touch it and the electrical outlet. He made me stand back. My handyman who installed the initial switch did not turn off the circuit either. I joked that he would kill himself but he did not seem phased. He has done a lot of my electrical work such as installing multiple lights that I bring home from the Big Box Stores when I decide I want a light replaced. So I think it is standard practice for contractors not to turn off circuit breakers when they do work.
I must admit, I've done this also. Replaced switches with dimmers without turning off the circuit (lazy), and added a circuit to a live panel (no main breaker). Not recommended, but I did them with one hand behind my back, and with insulated tools (plastic grip screwdrivers, rubber covered handles on pliers), never touching any wires. Normally I make sure the circuit is off though.

The Wizard
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:23 pm

sport wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
The Wizard wrote:...I never turn off the main breaker if I need to work on something, just the breaker or fuse for that branch circuit...
Why not?
I also just turn off the branch. However, I verify it is off before working on it. The reason is so the rest of the house operates normally.
Same reason for me.
I don't have to go around resetting everything afterwards...
Attempted new signature...

The Wizard
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by The Wizard » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:29 pm

dave_k wrote: I must admit, I've done this also. Replaced switches with dimmers without turning off the circuit (lazy), and added a circuit to a live panel (no main breaker). Not recommended, but I did them with one hand behind my back, and with insulated tools (plastic grip screwdrivers, rubber covered handles on pliers), never touching any wires. Normally I make sure the circuit is off though.
This is more of an advanced topic,
But when I install a new branch circuit (quite infrequently) I've always left the main breaker on while attaching the ground and neutral wires and then pushing the new breaker into a vacant slot.
You just need to pay attention...
Attempted new signature...

TonyDAntonio
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Re: Do you replace your electrical switches/outlets or use an electrician?

Post by TonyDAntonio » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:05 am

dave_k wrote:
TonyDAntonio wrote:
livesoft wrote:I do lots of handy work. I start by watching youtube videos. Doesn't everyone?
This. I actually did a bathroom remodel this way. I only contracted out the countertops and some drywall work everything else, plumbing, tiling, carpentry, I did myself and I watched tons of videos for help. Change outlets yourself. One tip, take a picture of the wiring before you disconnect the old switch, especially threeway switches.
I've done the same thing, a complete bathroom remodel, by watching videos, reading up on codes, and applying some common sense. Right down to taking pictures of the wiring of 3-way switches.
I learned that picture thing the hard way :shock:

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