Inspecting Boxes

Inspecting Boxes

Once you've removed a cover plate or light fixture, it takes only a few seconds to check the wiring inside for damage or unsafe connections.

Shut off power and test to see that power is off before you touch any wires. Use rubber-grip tools. Often you need to gently pull the device out of the box to inspect it.

Always assume that the wires are hot, even though you have de-energized the circuit. Touch only wire nuts or wire insulation -- never bare wires.

Before you replace the devices in their boxes, wrap the terminal connections with electrical tape if local codes allow. The added protection helps hold wires in place and keeps terminal screws from touching the sides of a metal box.

Check for Incorrect Wiring: Reversed Connections

The black or colored (not green) wire (hot) must be connected to a terminal with a brass-color screw; the white wire (neutral) to the terminal with the silver screw. If the wires are reversed, the receptacle supplies power but is not polarized. Connect the wires to the correct terminals.

Check for Incorrect Wiring: Too Many Wires

It is against building safety code to connect two or more wires to a single terminal because they can easily come loose. Instead, splice the two wires into a pigtail and connect the pigtail to the terminal.

Check for Incorrect Wiring: No Ground

A receptacle that is not grounded delivers power but lacks an important safety feature. Connect the ground wire to the receptacle's ground screw and test with a receptacle analyzer.

Check for Incorrect Wiring: Not Enough Insulation

A good electrician covers as much bare wire as possible. The bottom wire has too much insulation stripped, making it unsafe. Cover it with tape. Better yet, cut, restrip, and reconnect the wire.

Comments (1)
Fred694 wrote:

The callout should be for the brass terminal.

5/23/2014 05:38:48 PM Report Abuse
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