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Wired Again

August 25, 2010

Don’t be shocked by what you are about to read. I’m positive that you won’t have any negative outcomes if you stay current on the proper way to work with wires. But if someone gives you static about taking on such a high voltage project, you just tell them to find another outlet for their concerned energy, lest they find themselves in some sort of a black out.

 Here’s what you need to know to stay safe while working with wire: 

  1. Turn off the current.
  2. Turn off the current.
  3. Turn off the current.
  4. Before you disconnect the wires in the project you are working on, write down how they are connected now. You can even draw a little schematic. This will keep you from having to guess when you put it all back together.
  5. Create a map for your circuit breaker panel. What does each switch go to and what is the number of the breaker? Then per tips #1 through #3 above, use your map to turn off the electrical power to the electrical outlet you are working on. Post your map on the inside the panel box for future reference.
  6. If you’re making your map solo, plug in something that makes noise like a vacuum, dryer or radio. This way when you flip the breaker switch you can tell what goes to what. Test each outlet until they are all listed.
  7. When wrapping wire around a screw terminal, twist in a clockwise direction. This is the same way you will tighten the screws, so it will keep the wires from falling off.
  8. Twist wires together before putting on the wire nut. The nut is the little plastic cap that comes in different colors and sizes. You will need to pick the one fits over all the wires. Just like when buying a bra, find the size that keeps everything securely in place.
  9. Buy the right outlet or switch by checking the voltage and amps indicated on the package. Household switches and receptacles are typically 120V current; most lighting circuits are 15 or 20 amp capacity circuits. In most cases, the National Electrical Code allows for 120v/15 amp switches and receptacles on residential circuits rated up to 20 amps. You won’t need more than a 15 amps toggle switch or receptacle to be up to code. You can buy the 20 amp version, but it will just cost you more money.

 Follow these basic tips and you won’t get fried when working with electricity. I gotta bolt now.

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