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A continuity testing flashlight

Tool Reviews

Dear Mr. Electrician:  What tool reviews have you written for products that you have used? Answer:  Tool reviews of my own tools are down below. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There are a number of tools I have grown to love working with because work just goes so much better with the proper tools.  Having the right tool for the job increases productivity and also helps ensure that the work is getting done correctly.  My tool reviews are based on my actual use of the tools as part of my work as an electrician. I can confidently say that not everything is manufactured to the same standards, and identical services from different companies don't always match up.  Now more than ever, it is important to shop around to find the best deal or product for you and your needs.  Read many tool reviews. One of my favorite tools from my young electrician days that I still use occasionally is my Bright Star 1618-CT continuity testing flashlight(s).  See the photo at the top of this post.  They are very handy for checking fuses and incandescent or halogen light bulbs.  They are also good for identifying wires on dead circuits or wires that are shorted together. The flashlight has a jack in the back screw cap that a set of alligator leads can plug into.  After the leads are inserted in, the flashlight will only light when the two alligator clips are connected together. I saw in a store LED upgrade kits for these flashlights so I bought one.  The original PR-type incandescent bulb was not that bright. These flashlight continuity testers are no longer made by the original manufacturer, but there are plenty of other types of testers available. I have always been a tool nut and when I was much younger would buy tools because I liked them and hoped to be able to use them one day.  Now I have many tools in my collection that I have never or hardly ever used. My current advice to myself is to wait until I actually need the tool before buying it unless a bargain buying opportunity comes along that is too good to pass.  My tool reviews are based on my own experiences with using them while working as an electrician. Top Of Page TOOL REVIEWS My three Ideal voltage testers have been with me a long time.  The model on the right also has a built-in continuity tester. I have an assortment of small pry bars that come in handy during remodeling jobs. Another handy tool to have is a thread restoring file.  Good for when you have to cut some screws or bolts. I love my Klein Lineman Pliers with the built-in crimper. If you want to give a gift to an electrician, this would be a good one.  A Burndy Wire-Mike is good for determining wire and conduit sizes. I bought the protractor level with a magnetic base initially for the bending of conduit. Top Of Page I have used BX...
Bare Kitchen walls after all old cabinets, counter top, and appliances have been removed

Extend Kitchen Electrical Outlets

Dear Mr. Electrician:  How do I extend the kitchen electrical outlets from the wall a little so I can add ceramic tile? Answer:  The use of electrical box outlet extenders or receptacle extenders is a simple and approved method to extend kitchen electrical outlets when the wall depth changes. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on eBay and Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  Using my links helps to keep this website FREE. To use outlet box extenders, the existing electrical outlet box must be in good condition, and the screw holes must be able to hold 6/32 machine screws tightly.  Otherwise, the existing electrical box should be replaced. Electrical receptacles or box extenders are required when adding depth to a wall as per article 314.20 in the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).  Electrical boxes must be flush with the finished surface to prevent sparks from getting onto combustible wall materials and support the wiring device. Below are photos from a kitchen remodel that I worked on where some of the existing electrical boxes remained in place while others had to be relocated.  Adjustable depth electrical boxes and ReceptXtenders were both used on this job. HOW TO EXTEND KITCHEN ELECTRICAL OUTLETS Often I find that the old original plastic electrical box needs replacing, in which case I use adjustable depth boxes so I can adjust the electrical box to be at the perfect depth when the wall is finished. Below you can see the process that I went through to accommodate the new kitchen cabinet arrangement and tile backsplash with new and existing electrical outlets. Most of the existing outlets did not need to be relocated, the electrical boxes just needed extending.   A new wall oven was going to be installed, so I moved the outlet from that location. I had to make some changes to the ceiling light switch that someone had moved in a previous renovation.  There was already a switch and light above the sink that I was able to use some of the existing wiring from for the new low-voltage sink lights. The first thing that I did was draw a couple of level lines at the backsplash height and cut out the drywall where I needed to work.  The job called for installing new undercabinet lighting in addition to extending and relocating outlets.  You can see part of the undercabinet lighting installation in my post here. I like to use adjustable-depth electrical boxes for kitchen and bathroom outlets and switches.  That way, I am prepared for any thickness of the finished wall or backsplash. After I install the adjustable depth boxes during the rough-in wiring phase of construction, I adjust them so that they stick out further than they need to be.  That ensures that whoever installs the wall coverings will fully cut around the electrical box. If I kept the box recessed, I would wind up cutting the hole bigger to accommodate the wiring device.  I have no problem cutting drywall, but tile and stone are more difficult to work...