Tips from The Master Texas Electrician

Tip #1: Finding the right fuse: There are a number of ways to do this, from shouting back and forth to a second party at the fuse panel, as they pull one fuse after another, or the use of walkie-talkies. If you are alone and want to save time, try plugging in a small electrical tool, which makes a little noise like an electric razor or hair clippers, small electric drill motor, etc.. As long as you can hear it from the fuse panel location, you’ll be all set, simply pull fuses and listen.

Tip #2: Connecting the ground wire: The bare conductor should be passed under the 10/32 green screw in the electrical box, and then on to the green screw on the receptacle. These connections are very important and if you fail to connect them properly you leave the device in much worse shape than when you found it. This is the number one fault of most amateur electricians, they don’t connect the wire if they don’t know what it does; if everything works without it being connected, who needs it? Beware, electrical grounding is the one electrical safety rule you should never break.

Tip #3: Terminal Types: Some GFCI receptacles, as well as other devices, have screw “posts” which you wrap the conductor around, using a fish hook bend in the conductor end, wrap the conductor clockwise and close the “u” with a pair of pliers or dykes. Make the connection firm, or as tight as you can without breaking anything. Other devices, switches included which have what look like floating washers, with a screw passing through the center, you may see the slots where two conductors can slide under the washer or into a conductor hole, on the back of the device, which are made also fast with a screw.

Tip #4: Screw Posts: Always wrap a conductor around a screw post in a clockwise direction, so that as you tighten the screw, the conductor is pulled into a tighter circle around the post. In the alternative, counter clockwise direction, the conductor is pulled away from the post; loosening the connection.

Tip #5: Stab connections: Never use the stab in connections (look Ma, no screw) on any electrical device, it is not legal!

Tip#6: Terminal colors: The black conductor connects to the brass screw on the new receptacle and the white conductor connects to the silver screw.

Tip #7: Markings: A GFCI receptacle is marked “Line” and “Load”, with a piece of tape, usually yellow, that covers the terminals on the “Load” side of the device. If you have just one cable, with a white, a black and a ground conductor, connect to the exposed screws marked “Line” and leave the yellow tape in place.

Tip# 8: Finessing the Task: If the receptacle is not fitting snug against the wall surface, it may be necessary to break of the tabs on the receptacle, which are delineated by creases, they look like small washers once you cut or pry them free. Bend them back and forth, or cut them at the crease, and this will allow the device to go back further into the box and the plate to fit flush against the wall.

Tip #9: When trying to lift conductors off screw posts: It may help to apply a little leverage by using a pair of pliers, grasping the conductor on the insulating plastic covering and prying against the device back, to open the fish hook around the terminal. If you hold the conductor tight and not let it slip on the insulation, you won’t tear the plastic covering.

Tip #10: Never put two conductors under one screw terminal, it is unlawful!

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