The Ultimate Home Electrical Repairs Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Your power keeps tripping and you're all wired up with frustration. Keep cool, because help is at hand. With a few simple tips, you can solve lots of electrical problems, as long as you bear in mind safety first. Check out this quiz on electrical repairs and see whether you know a hot wire when you see one.

In what way are plumbing and electrical systems comparable?

Water flows through pipes under pressure (with a flow rate measured in gallons per minute) and electricity flows through wires under pressure (with a flow rate measured in amperes).

On an electricity meter with numerals, what do the numbers indicate?

The numbers, read from left to right, indicate your total electricity consumption.

Which of these are names for the weatherproof box that contains the electricity mains?

It's called the main entrance panel or main box. Sometimes they also call it an entrance box.

If you didn't have a circuit breaker, what would happen if you operated too many appliances on one circuit?

At best, it would most likely short-circuit. At worst, without a circuit-breaker, it could start a fire.

What is the rule if you want to replace a 15-ampere fuse?

Replace a 15-ampere fuse with the same-capacity one (15 amperes) or less (15- amperes), but never more.

The circuits in your home that run from the main entrance panel or from smaller panels to their respective points of use are:

They're all called branch circuits. Feeder circuits, on the other hand, have thicker cables and are used for redistribution of power in only some homes.

Many newer homes have incoming power lines of 110-120/220-240 volts AC. What are they used for?

They're used in order to provide 110-120 volts for all small appliances, lighting and outlets, as well as 220-240 volts for all large appliances.

It is recommended that you check wiring regularly for safety. What are you looking for and what should you do to make it safer?

You're looking for wires whose insulation is brittle or damaged from age or wear. If there are any, you need to replace them.

Unless you use a circuit tester, pull the fuse or trip the disconnect plug, what should you always assume?

You should -- or rather, must -- always assume that an electrical receptacle is energized unless you do one of those three steps.

What does grounding do?

Grounding channels electrical energy groundward by means of a conductor that is less resistant than a person is.

Why is the entire metal appliance dangerous when its power cord's insulation is worn away?

The entire metal appliance can become alive with electricity if it comes into contact with the open wire.

How do you determine which outlets and fixtures are on which branch circuit?

Step by step, you trip a circuit breaker or remove a fuse. Then you see which equipment is deenergized by plugging in, say, a small night lamp. You carry on doing this till you've figured out which fixtures are on which branch circuits.

If a circuit trips, there could be a perceptible indication of the problem. What might this entail?

You might hear a sparking sound or see a bright flash or flare. They're usually signs that the circuit has tripped.

You are experiencing a power outage but your main breaker is still in the ON position. Where might the problem lie?

If this happens, the problem probably lies somewhere between your main box and the power transmission lines. If so, you need to call the electricity company.

In the case of recurrent tripping where no electrical faults have been found, you may need to install a larger entrance panel. How do you do this?

This is something you don't do. It's definitely a job for a licensed electrician.

Which of these items would be useful in an emergency power-outage kit?

A circuit tester and replacement cartridge fuses would be ideal for an emergency kit. Other useful items would include candles, a flashlight and electrical tape.

Why do the newer kinds of two-pronged plugs have different-sized vertical slots?

It's in order to ensure that the prongs can only be inserted the correct way, with the proper polarization.

What do the lights on a polarity checker indicate?

The lights indicate if the polarity is correctly wired. If it's not, the lights will indicate which wires are reversed.

Some outlets have two-pronged receptacles, while others have three. What is the function of the third prong?

A third-pronged receptacle usually functions to ground the outlet.

In two-pronged outlets with slots of different widths, which slots are for which wires?

The wider slots are connected to the white (neutral) wires, whereas the narrower slots are connected to the black (hot) wires.

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