Last summer, I replaced my thermostat with a Nest thermostat. It worked great until now that winter is here—when the temperature drops below freezing, my heat pump can't produce warm air. Tomorrow night it's forecast to be 8°F. Can you help me figure out what I've wired incorrectly? [more inside]
A bar I visited the other day had old-school Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling, and I noticed that in several of them, the filament was vibrating. And by vibrating I mean vibrating big time — swinging back and forth a full inch or so inside the bulb multiple times a second. The bartender didn't seem to know what caused it, but seemed to think it wasn't uncommon. Any idea? [more inside]
I discovered this week that the closet light in my new home is wired in a questionable way, and I need to know if this is a problem. [more inside]
I removed some sconces from an interior plaster wall in my house. My house is old and the wires are single strand copper wires with woven insulation, inside metal junction boxes. I would like to patch over the holes. Is it sufficient to cap the ends with wire nuts before patching? If not, what else should I do?
I was sitting in bed with my laptop about an hour ago. When I reached out to tap my partner's arm, we both felt a buzzing, dragging feeling - like touching the handle of a turned-on electric razor or something - and pulled back from each other. This only ever happens with MY laptop, regardless of what my partner is doing/holding/touching. [more inside]
I need to replace the power cable for my rice cooker. The kitchen area of my apt is pretty small, and the cable was stupidly close to the stove and I burned a hole through the insulation. On the end of the cable that connects to the mains, it says 16a 250v while the end that plugs into the cooker says 10a 250v. The appliance itself is labeled as 10a 250v. [more inside]
Or what do I have to look for on a portable generator to recharge my camera and tablet. [more inside]
is this ConEd solutions on the level, as providing more eco-friendly electricity than my regular Con Edison provider? What are the pros and cons? The agent who is trying to sell me this says my bill will go up a little. This is for residential usage in New York City. Any experience or information on this is much appreciated.
I just moved into a new room in a shared house, only to quickly realize none of the outlets in my room (except for one) is 3-Pronged. Until an electrician comes in to update it, how can I hook up my computer equipment safely? [more inside]
There was a huge lightning storm this morning, in the middle of it my power went out. All the breakers on my boat are on, all e breakers on the power bollard are on. The odd thing is that the bollard has power to the meters and register 5v on the ac setting of my multimeter across live and earth. Also the RCD buttons trip out the breakers. This suggests that it has power. But nothings coming out. Any ideas for a) How come it has some power but no output b) Is there anything I can do. My electrical skills = I own a nice multimeter My fear of zappy death = relatively high [more inside]
We had an electrical incident where I work a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around it. Our house engineers have maintained systems at 150 amps on legs with 200 amp fuses. The power company reported a power dip, shortly after which we blew two of the 200 amp fuses. What happened? We had a drop in available voltage, so our amperage demand shot up? [more inside]
We've had PG&E SmartMeters installed at our building for awhile, and our landlord is very concerned about the health risks and surveillance risks he believes they pose. He's sent us a bunch of "literature" to read and it all reads like wackadoodle conspiracy theories with no basis in science, as does everything else I've found online. As easy as it is to just roll my eyes and dismiss his concerns, I feel like I should make a good faith attempt to discover if there's really anything to be concerned about. Are there any good, reality-based reasons to be anti-SmartMeter? Any science-based studies from reliable sources on their safety? Any well-thought-out articles on the subject that don't include the phrases "molecular earthquakes" or "like hundreds of cell phones being on at the same time"? Help a skeptic out!
I once read a great article explaining why we use polarized plugs, grounding, and GFCI outlets in household AC circuits. It was written from the perspective of an electric company whose customers keep getting electrocuted by their appliances. The company introduces the safety measures one by one and the article explains how people still get shocked. It might even have been a comment on Metafilter; I'm not sure. Where can I find it?
I just bought a subwoofer from a thrift shop, but unfortunately the power adapter (13.5 AC in) is missing. My neighbourhood shops seem to be fresh out of adapters with that voltage, so I'm wondering if it would be possible/safe/advisable to use a different adapter? I have several lying around the house with output voltages ranging from 5 to 16V.
I'm moving to Germany in a couple of months and have a few questions about using various 110V US-purchased appliances on the local 220V power. Specifically the 50Hz/60Hz issue - how big of a deal is it? My understanding is that anything with a motor may have a shorter lifespan and run somewhat less efficiently (and of course anything that uses AC for timing will run slow), but any other issues? [more inside]
Why is my oven crackling and sparking at the on/off switch and will it start a fire in my wall? [more inside]
Nearly 12 years ago I underwent cranioplasty, which involved dissimilar metals being added to the inside of my skull. Could it be possible that I'm generating a low voltage current? This would explain roughly 90% of the unexplained symptoms I've noticed since that time. This seems like a case of electrochemical capacitance to me. I understand that YANMD; in fact, it may even be the case that YARNAD. That's just fine, I don't really want anyone's 'medical' advice. What I need is some advice on what questions to ask and which specialists I 'should' actually be seeing to properly diagnose and resolve these issues. [more inside]
I know this question is a little bit arbitrary, but any response will be helpful. I live in a 2 family spilt house/condo. I noticed that my electrical box is powering the OTHER unit's gas boiler. I assume that the electrical just feeds the thermostat and maybe triggering the pilot to boil the water?? (My knowledge here is limited.) Without knowing too much about their heating use, I am trying to determine the urgency of getting an electrician to switch it from my electricity to the other unit's electrical box.
We've been in our new house about 3 months, and our power bills feel a lot higher than they should be, based on our perceived usage. Looking for ways to track down errant usage. [more inside]
I have (legal) access to a building slated to be demolished and can take whatever I want. Specifically I want to remove a Simplex clock Similar to the one here. [more inside]
Who makes reliable, well manufactured step down transformers? [more inside]
I get painful static shocks to my hands where they touch the cart as I'm pushing it around at Costco. As far as I can tell this happens while wearing various kinds of shoes, although I haven't experimented rigorously. Help me devise a method to prevent this that I can realistically implement during impromptu trips to the store. [more inside]
Explain to me the technology of charging devices. Is it mainly about voltage? About current? How close to the "required" values must you be? [more inside]
My computer cycles off without warning, and it's on a battery pack/surge protector UPS. What gives? [more inside]
How do I keep my iguana alive during an electric blackout? All of her lighting and heating elements demand electricity. I don't have a generator or the funds to purchase one. I'm most concerned about her getting too cold. Under 80*F for extended periods is the danger zone.
I have a question about my house's ground wire, and may need recommendations for an electrician in Minneapolis. [more inside]
I want to buy a fabric steamer to iron curtains, but not sure which model to choose (details inside) [more inside]
Will turning up the thermostat on my central air and buying a window AC unit for the one room I use the most make a significant difference in my electric bill? [more inside]
I am considering changing my electricity provider and I have never done this before. What I want to know are what things should be considered before making a switch such as this. My basics reasons are cost and that Comed, the local provider has treated me like crap over the years and I am tired of their corporate doublespeak and crappy service. [more inside]
In 2009, 91.2% of Seattle's electricity was from hydroelectric sources, and in 2010, 87.9% was hydro. Is the hydro capacity maxed out, or will it scale up to meet additional demand and maintain that ratio? Here's what I'm getting at: If I were to use more electricity than now, will that incremental power effectively come from non-renewable sources rather than ~90% hydro?
Correct way to put a 110V (three-prong) dryer onto a 240V circuit? Or should we just throw it in and get a new one?
We've swapped out a three-prong dryer cord with a four-prong one but not wanting to plug it in and potentially blow something up. Approach from here? [more inside]
Explain alternating current distribution across "the grid" to me in terms an educated layman can understand. Specifically, I have a question about how to talk about which power plants are providing power to a particular consumer. [more inside]
Want to install an ungrounded hanging light fixture in place of an existing grounded flush-mount dome light. Controlled with existing three-way switches. [more inside]
Does flipping a switch on and off rapidly damage electrical equipment? [more inside]
Why do my headphones give my ears little electric shocks in the winter, and how can I avoid it? [more inside]
In a bid to prolong bed-time, my four-year-old just asked me, "What is electricity made of?' I told her to close her eyes and go to sleep, which has bought me 9-10 hours till she wakes me up and asks me the same question again. What's the most accurate answer I can give her that she will understand and not be bored by?
How can a lightswitch that controls both outlets be converted to switch just one? [more inside]
Help me understand the national electric code with regard to rewiring and updating several rooms in my 1940s-era house. [more inside]
Why does my electric range trip the circuit breaker when the oven and all burners are used? This behavior is new. [more inside]
What can I do to reduce static cling on my glass coffee grinder hopper so less coffee sticks to the sides and makes a big mess? [more inside]
What is it like to work on a tree/line crew restoring power after a big storm? [more inside]
So I'm watching The Stand, and I noticed late plague, the power's still on. So how long will the power run without maintenance. [more inside]
Why would nearly all of a 1940s-era house be run on two 15-amp circuits? [more inside]
Need a step-down converter for plugging a printer sold in the US (110V power) into a 3rd-world socket (240V power). I get the voltage part but watts and amps and such are a bit beyond my electronoobicity. [more inside]
Could a bolt of lightning have fixed my landline? [more inside]
There's a downed cable/wire in my building's backyard. It is similar to this previous question, but there is no serial number on the wire so I can't confirm what it belongs to. Also, one side is attached to our building and the other end is attached to...nothing. What do I do with it? [more inside]
I got a mild shock while putting together a seed starting light set-up in the unfinished basement of my rental apartment. The light was unplugged when I received the shock. What gives? [more inside]
Please help me find the lamp I want (or tell me that the one I can find is hackable). [more inside]
Do natural gas and oil fired power plants release radiation in the form of radium, or otherwise? How much radiation per MW would be released by a typical plant? Would the release of such elements be reduced by cogeneration of steam? [more inside]
I want to convert a wall switch into a door switch (for a wardrobe light). Is this easily feasible? [more inside]
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