HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

The Ultimate Home Electrical Repairs Quiz
by Staff
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 and electricity flows through wires under pressure.
• Water flows through pipes from up to down and electricity flows through wires from up to down.
• Water pipes are dangerous to touch and electrical wires are dangerous to touch.

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

• the maximum AC allowance in your home
• the ampere to voltage ratio
• the total electricity consumption

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

• hot wire panel or main circuit
• main entrance panel or main box
• entrance panel or electricity wire box

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

• Everything would work just fine. The circuit breaker is only an optional extra for single-story homes.
• It would short-circuit and possibly start a fire.
• The electric company would offer you more amperes to suit your needs.

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

• Its capacity should not be the same as the current-carrying capacity of the conductors, because it is for this reason that it needs replacement.
• Its capacity should be the same (15 amperes) as the current-carrying capacity of the conductors or more (15+ amperes).
• Its capacity should be the same (15 amperes) as the current-carrying capacity of the conductors or less (15- amperes).

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

• branch circuits
• feeder circuits
• circuit branches

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

• 110-120 volts for lighting and outlets; 220-240 volts for small and large appliances
• 110-120 volts for small appliances and outlets; 220-240 volts for lighting and large appliances
• 110-120 volts for small appliances, lighting and outlets; 220-240 volts for 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?

• colored wires that have faded
• wires that have brittle or damaged insulation
• bunched up wires

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

• that an electrical receptacle is energized
• that you can fix the electrical problem
• that the electrical wiring is faulty

### What does grounding do?

• It collects electrical energy within the ground for later use.
• It extracts electrical energy from the ground toward your outlets.
• It channels electrical energy groundward.

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

• because the appliance might cease to work and the power cord might still be energized
• because contact between the two might make the entire appliance alive with electricity
• because both of them overheat and become faulty

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

• You examine them with a circuit tester.
• Trip a circuit breaker or remove a fuse, then see which equipment is deenergized.
• Examine the outlet, then follow its wiring all the way to the main box.

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

• a loud noise from the electricity mains
• a call from the electrical company to inform you
• an audible sparking sound or a visual bright flash

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

• between your main box and the power transmission lines

### 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?

• You switch the circuit breaker to OFF, unscrew the box and reattach a larger one with better wiring.
• You disconnect the white and black wires and reconnect them to a larger panel, making sure to attach the hot and neutral wires correctly.
• You don't; you call in a licensed electrician.

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

• a blowtorch and an insulation blanket
• a circuit tester and replacement cartridge fuses
• a night lamp and a replacement electricity meter

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

• so that the prongs can only be inserted one way
• so that you can feel the difference in the dark
• so that they have a modern, sleek look

### What do the lights on a polarity checker indicate?

• if the polarity in the outlet is correct or not, but not which ones are reversed
• if they're neon or fluorescent
• if the polarity in the outlet is correct or which lines are reversed, if not

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

• to ground the outlet
• to trip the switch
• to prevent a power outage

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

• The wider ones connect to the 110-120-volt currents; the narrower ones connect to the 220-240-volt currents.
• The wider ones connect to the black (hot) wires; the narrower ones connect to the white (neutral) wires.
• The wider ones connect to the white (neutral) wires; the narrower ones connect to the black (hot) wires.
more stuff
more stuff