The world of wiring tends to move in cycles, so to speak. The basic science that causes your blender to whir
when you plug the cord into a wall outlet doesn’t change, but the ways we harness and manage electrical
power are constantly improving—always with an eye toward safety. The Complete Guide to Wiring changes, too.
Now in its 5th edition, this million-selling book is the most popular do-it-yourself wiring manual in stores today.
A big reason for its success is that we take pains to carefully update the book every three years, as the national
electrical codes are revised.
If you were to place this 5th edition of The Complete Guide to Wiring next to the 4th edition, you’d notice
many similarities off the bat. But when you look a little more closely, you’ll spot some subtle but key differences
that reflect current practices and product preferences. For example, recent code changes require the use of
tamper-resistant receptacles with a protective shield that covers each slot so children cannot poke anything
into it except a plug. In this book you won’t find a picture of a receptacle that is not tamper-resistant unless it is
being replaced. We’ve also eliminated circuit testers that are not of the much safer touch-free variety, and we’ve
included updated grounding strategies on many projects.
Along with these and other updates, we’ve added some new projects that reflect current interest. Readers
demanded more information on backup power generators, so we have added a complete step-by-step sequence
for a transfer switch installation (the transfer switch redirects key circuit power demand to a standalone generator
during power outages). Because home power demands are higher now than when many houses were built,
upgrading the capacity of the electrical service panel is a popular project. But one aspect of upgrading a panel
that is often overlooked is the need to upgrade your grounding and bonding system, too. So we have added a full
sequence for this job: down to driving the 8-ft. grounding rod into the earth.
Are you tired of relying on a couple of pull chains to operate your ceiling fan and light? We show you how
to retrofit a convenient remote control device so you can turn the light on and off and change fan speed without
leaving your seat.
Alternative energy sources are expanding rapidly in popularity. As interest grows, manufacturers are finding
ways to make the technology DIY friendly. A perfect case in point is solar energy. It may seem like a simple
technology, but unless you maintain a large RV or boat, working with DC power sources is a brand new concept
to most homeowners. So we have included a step-by-step demonstration that shows you exactly how to install a
standalone DC power distribution system that is energized by a photovoltaic panel. You won’t find this project in
other DIY wiring books!
Most DIYers who have done it will agree that home wiring is fun and rewarding. But it is also fraught with
danger. That’s why it is critically important to involve your local electrical inspections department with your
wiring plans from the start. If you are installing new circuits or adding capacity, you need a permit and most
likely a physical inspection of your work. Do not avoid this step. Local inspectors are generally very helpful and
should be considered valuable resources. Failing to obtain permits or inspections can result in fines. If the wiring
is incorrect or of substandard workmanship, major disasters can occur. If at any time during a wiring job you
encounter a situation about which you are unsure, stop and get assistance.