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This page contains tips and advice for lighting and electric projects around your home, including troubleshooting electrical circuits and wiring new fixtures.

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Electrician Working on Circuit Breakers

Troubleshooting Circuit Breaker ProblemsA tripped circuit breaker can be a sign of trouble with wiring, and may require a trained professional to get to the root of the problem. This page is about troubleshooting circuit breaker problems.

 

oil lamp on white background

Using Olive Oil as Fuel for Oil LampsThis is a page about using olive oil as fuel for oil lamps. Olive oil has low volatility and generates less smoke and less soot than most other oils.

 

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Smell Coming From Main Breaker?There is a hot smell coming from my breaker box and the surface around the main breaker is hot to the touch when the smell is present. I have taken the cover off of the box and the main wire coming in from outside is very hot to the touch.

 

electrician working on breaker box

Installing a New Circuit Breaker?This is a page about installing a new circuit breaker. To save money you can follow researched instructions to safely replace or install a new circuit breaker. Hiring a professional will save you time.

 

Electrician working on an Exterior Light Fixture

Adding an Electrical Plug to an Outdoor Light Fixture?This is a page about adding an electrical plug to outdoor light fixture. When you need a low voltage plug-in for outdoor lights you may not need to install a GFI electrical outlet.

 

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Color Advice for Exterior Light Fixtures?How do I choose what color exterior wall light should be used for an all white house? Do I use brass, white, pewter, silver, etc. The door is also white. Should the door locks match the light?

 

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Can I Change a 15 Amp Breaker to a 20?Is it possible to change a 15 amp breaker to a 20 to accommodate additional outlets?

 

Light Switch

Repairing a Light Switch?This is a page about repairing a light switch. Sometimes when a light doesn't turn on it isn't just a a burned out bulb. Use these handy tips for troubleshooting and fixing your broken light switch.

 

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What Causes a Circuit Breaker to Go Bad?What causes a breaker to go bad?

 

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How Many Amps Can a 20 Amp Circuit Handle?I was wondering actually how many amps can a 20 amp circuit breaker hold before it pops? I have an amp meter on it and it says 19.8. Somebody told me they can actually hold up to 21 amps?

 

A person changing a light bulb in a socket.

Marking Light Bulb Wattage on SocketYou can add a bulb wattage notes on the sockets of enclosed light fixtures to make sure they are replaced with the proper bulb. The factory tags can shrivel overtime and be difficult to read.

 

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Proper Electrical Wiring Based on Amps?I have an appliance rated at 17.6 amps. What type of plug, receptacle, wire, and breaker is required?

 

A food storage container with two slits on each side for cords.

Protecting Electrical Cords from RainIf you have cords that are plugged outside and exposed to the elements, use a recycled container to keep water out. This is a page about protecting electrical cords from rain.

 

A homemade LED vanity mirror.

Homemade LED Vanity MirrorIf you want a lighted vanity mirror but cannot afford the price tag, make one yourself with inexpensive materials. This page has instructions for a homemade LED vanity mirror.

 

Closeup of a fuse box, with a two pole breaker.

Wiring a Two Pole Breaker For a GeneratorAdding a generator to a breaker panel, can be done by the homeowner if they feel comfortable doing this type of job. Read the tips and how to advice in this page. Still unsure, call an electrician, some home improvement and repair projects are best handled by the professionals.

 

Wall Socket

Humming Sound Coming From Wall Socket?A sound coming from a wall plug, probably is electricity arcing and the receptacle needs to be replaced. This is a page about humming sound coming from wall socket.

 

Two electrical plugs with red dots on the top side.

Marking Electrical PlugsThis is a page about marking electrical plugs. Do you ever find yourself fumbling with an electrical plug, trying to get it in the right way? If you mark the side that should be up, it will go in quickly and easily every time. This is especially helpful when you can't see the outlet.

 

Inserting a Bayonet Style Bulb into Socket

Inserting a Bayonet Style Bulb into Socket?When I put the bayonet style bulb with the two lead lumps at the bottom and two small locking pins sticking out the side into the pigtail slot made for the locking pins and then give it the clockwise turn to lock it in place, they don't connect with the two terminals in the socket.

 

A man fixing a fluorescent light.

Fluorescent Lights Not WorkingThis is a page about fluorescent lights not working. Replacing the florescent bulbs in the fixture is the first thing to do, but sometimes the ballast needs to be replaced.

 

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Lamp Wattage Limits for Different Type Bulbs?I bought a lamp under the impession that it's maximum wattage was 25W. But it has different limits for different types of bulbs: 25W for regular, 9W for LED, and 18W for halogen. I never knew that was possible. So I have also ordered a 11W LED bulb (equiv. of 55W), but I wonder whether I can use it.

 

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Motion Detector Lights for Home SecurityExterior motion detecting lights do not cost a great deal more than other types of outside lighting. I particularly like them for the back of the house as well as the alley.

 

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light with black and white wires

No Ground Wire on Nightlight?I bought a photocell nightlight that you install into a junction box. It was from a thrift store but new in the packaging. The instructions say it should have 3 wires, but it only has 2. The white and the black. There is no ground wire. Can I still use this night light without a ground wire?

 

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Battery Wall Light Sconces?Have you used battery powered light sconces in your bathroom vanity? Wondering if two of them; one on each side of the wall would give me enough light for putting on makeup, etc. Don't want to hire an electrician and my current light is in the ceiling.

 

Hurricane Lantern

Burning Liquid Paraffin in a Hurricane Lantern?This is a page about burning liquid paraffin in a hurricane lantern. It is important to know what fuel you can safely burn in your lantern.

 

LED Lightbulb

Using LED LightbulbsThis is a page about using LED lightbulbs. LED light bulbs are becoming the next replacement for the incandescent bulb. Their newness in the marketplace and higher cost may cause us to question their purchase and use.

 

A hand holding an incandescent bulb.

Using Incandescent BulbsThis page is about using incandescent bulbs. These bulbs have mostly been replaced with fluorescent bulbs which are generally more energy efficient and environmentally safe.

 

Outdoor Flood Lights

Preventing Ice Buildup on Outdoor Flood LightsThis is a page about preventing ice buildup on outdoor flood lights. Winter rain and snow may cause ice to buildup on your outdoor flood lights.

 

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Turning Off a 220 Outlet Without Flipping Breaker?My dryer control panel stays warm when not in use. I am unplugging it when done with laundry as the breaker is outside. Can I get a switch put in next to it to turn it off?

 

Labeling Your Breakers

Labeling Your BreakersThis page is about labeling your breakers. An electrical panel can be confusing when the circuits are not marked.

 

Solar light mounted on interior house wall

Using Solar Yard LightsThis page is about using solar yard lights. There are many ways these lights can improve your living spaces and save you money.

 

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Shopping for Cool Craft Lighting?I do lots of hand sewing and it is necessary that I use a very bright lite. My problem is the heat it puts out. I can hardly stand it any longer. Are there craft lights available for close work that stay cool? I would appreciate any input. Thanks.

 

Solar lights mounted on top of fence posts.

Adding Lighting to a FenceThis page is about adding lighting to a fence. The addition of lights on a fence can light a patio or just improve safety and security after dark.

 

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Uses for Rope LightsThis page is about uses for rope lights. Besides Christmas decorating, there are a number of ways that rope lights can provide indirect lighting and save energy.

 

Assembling a ceiling fan.

Installing a Ceiling Fan?This is a page about installing a ceiling fan. Installing a ceiling fan is a relatively easy "do it yourself" project. Ceiling fans are not only attractive, but they can also increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.

 

Installing a Dimmer Switch

Installing a Dimmer SwitchThis is a page about installing a dimmer switch. Replacing your old light switches with dimmers will add more control over the lighting in your home and, if used properly, can save you a lot on your energy bill.

 

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Well Pump Wiring?I have a well pump that is currently on a 20 amp circuit and has 12 gauge wire. I want to add a light switch and receptacle in the pump house using 14 gauge wire.

 

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Wiring a Service Disconnect?How do you wire a 30amp disconnect switch box to #6 overhead wire? I am running 12-2 from the switch box to the #6 coming into the building. Do you connect the black 12-2 wire to one of the #6 wires and the white 12-2 wire to the other #6 wire?

 

Doily pinned to outside of lampshad

Doily to Brighten Up Drab LampshadeI recently set myself up a little table for just paperwork, radio and desk calendar. The only shade I could find to fit my lamp was a bit drab. I was unpacking crafts when I ran across a Michael's doily that I only paid $1.00 for.

 

How Can I Put an Emitter Sensor Inside a Flagpole?Can some one give me advice regarding a project I am doing about a flag pole with sensor for football? I want some advice of how I can put the emitter sensor inside the flag pole.

 

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Ideas for a Unique Lamp Post for Front Yard?Anyone have an idea for making a unique lamp post in front of the house? I am so tired of looking at all the identical 3 inch metal poles or 4x4 wooden posts.

 

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Wiring a Bathroom Ceiling Light and Fan Combination?I would like to replace a bathroom ceiling recessed light with a timed fan/light. The fan has 3 connections, live, neutral, and switched live. The old light has just 2, live and neutral. Where do I get the unswitched live from?Thanks.

 

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Wiring a 4 in. Octagon Box?How many #12 wires does the NEC allow in a standard 4 in octagon box?

 

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GFI Isn't Resetting Outlets?I have three outlets on one breaker. One in a master closet and two in a bathroom. The closet is the GFI that resets them, the two in the bathroom have stopped working, and resetting does not help. Any suggestions?

 

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How Do I Wire a 220 Dryer Plug?How do I wire a 4 wire 220 dryer plug?

 

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What is the Best Lightening for a Craft Room?What is the best room lighting, that mimics natural sunlight, for a craft room?

 

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Easy Light Bulb RemovalTo prevent outdoor light bulbs from sticking in the socket, rub a thin coat of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on the threads before inserting the bulbs. They will unscrew very easily.

 

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Use LED Clock as Night LightIf you need a night light and don't have one, you can use an old LED clock. They use very little energy and are pretty bright. Also, you will always know what time it is.

 

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Installing a Remote Control for a Ceiling Light?I would like my husband to install a remote control on one of our ceiling lights. We are not sure how to go about it. I purchased a ceiling fan remote control but it isn't adaptable to our ceiling light. Thanks for any help you can give us.

 

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Power Lines in Front of a Window?There are electrical power wires outside the upstairs window of our rental. Our tenant is concerned if he ever needed to jump out of the window in a fire. They have been there for 20 years. What can we do?

 

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Connecting 15 Amp Washer to 20 Amp Breaker Wired with 12-2?I am hooking up a washer that is rated as a 15amp. appliance. The outlet I am plugging it into is pre-wired with 12-2 gauge wire and has a 20 amp. circuit breaker. Will this cause problems (too big a breaker for the appliance, not trip when it is supposed to, etc.)?

 

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Trouble With a GFI Switch?I replaced an electrical outlet with a GFI switch. I plugged in a small fountain pump and it blew the fountain pump twice. Any thoughts on how to fix the electrical issue?

 

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Disconnecting a Beeping Smoke Detector Above the Drop Ceiling?I have read several threads discussing this topic and I understand the need to maintain home safety. However, my problem adds a new twist. I had a room added in the back of my lower level and the contractor put in a dropped plaster ceiling and covered up one of the smoke detectors.

 

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Wood Stove Blowers Aren't Working?I just got a new wood stove with two blowers on it. I had to put the thing together myself. I wired it up like the instructions said and even added a new grounded outlet. But every time I plug it in it trips the breaker.

 

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Wiring Requirements for a Nema 5-20r Plug?I am a weekend warrior musician and I just acquired a power amp that has a Nema 5-20r plug on it. Could someone tell me how to wire an outlet for it? How can I tell if my current wiring will handle it? At gigs I will run a pig tail with a 20 amp breaker to the breaker box.

 

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Dimmer Switch Tripped Breaker?I recently made the 3 lights that I had in the basement into 10 can lights. I also added a dimmer switch to that, which made the GFI in the garage permanently tripped. Therefore the outlets outside do not work at all because there is only one breaker. What should I do?

 

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Removing Broken Light Bulbs?I would like to know how to remove broken light bulb.

 

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Lighting for a Recreation Room?I need ideas on installing lights in a room that is 40'x40' with a 13' ceiling. The room is for kids to play basketball, dodgeball, etc. so I do not want anything in the ceiling, due to damage from playing. Any ideas?

 

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Choosing Ceiling Light Fixtures?I need to replace ceiling light fixtures. Would anyone please guide me on how to choose new ones? Our house is very traditional. The current fixtures are brass and glass. I understand that brass is a traditional look, but I'm seeing lots of silver ones and dark brown ones.

 

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Light Fixtures That Replace a Light Bulb?I am in need of a way to inexpensively change the poor lighting in my modular home's front room. Currently I have one single bulb ceiling light.

 

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Wiring Requirements for a 30 Amp Dryer Circuit?Which gauge electrical wire should I use for 220 volt 30 amp? It is about 35 feet from the switch box to the plug for the dryer?

 

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Connecting New Wiring to a 20 Amp Breaker?I have a very old house with the original porcelain wiring. It has been updated through the years. How many outlets with new wiring can be connected to a 20 amp breaker?

 

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Installing Grounded Electrical Outlets?I'm having this debate with my husband about how to install grounded electrical outlets. Should the 2 prong slots be on the top or bottom? I was told that when installed it should look like a smiley face with the round hole on the bottom. Does it make any difference?

 

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Help Wiring Outlet Replacing Baseboard Heater?Hi, While renovating a room I removed two baseboard heaters and have installed an electrical outlet to replace one of them.

 

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Concerns About Bathroom Plug BuzzingWhen I tried to plug in my hair dryer this morning the GFCI in my bathroom buzzed whenever the prongs touched the outlet. There was also a small puff of smoke.

 

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Outdoor Light Using Electricity When Turned Off?I have a high electric bill so I was looking into reasons why. Someone said to check out our outside lights. Come to find out one of the light posts had electricity going into the ground around the posts. If you stuck a meter into the ground near the post it read 110 amps.

 

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How Do Bugs Get Into Light Covers?Does anyone know how bugs get into a light globe or cover?

 

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Adding An Outlet Outside?I have an outdoor BBQ island coming and I will need to plug in the refrigerator and get power to the on board outlet that is built into the island to run the blender for drinks. My one and only backyard outlet is over 20 feet away from where I am planning to put the BBQ.

 

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Adapter for 20 Amp Power Strips?I purchased a few 20 amp multi-strips. The plugs are different than normal plugs and do not fit into the wall outlet. Is there an adapter I can buy to convert the plug?

 

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Lights Dimming?I am experiencing the electricity dimming and changing consistency frequently. I have contacted the Electric Company and they did an analysis by setting up some sort of measuring meter. As far as they know, it's not coming from their outside lines, therefore is coming from inside the house. What should I look into? How can I approach the problem to test it out? I just want to have as much knowledge so I don't get ripped off.

 

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Problem Replacing Outlets in my Bathroom?I decided to replace the outlets in my bathroom to GFCI. I made sure to follow the installing instructions very carefully. However, after my installation, the outlet is not providing power. I checked the power line and it is receiving power. But when I plug in a device in the outlet it does not work.

 

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Changing a Fluorescent Light Ballast?Where can I find information on changing a ballast? I've tried www.google.com and typed in the appropriate words. No luck! Until now, I hope!

 

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Problem with 220 Line?I am in the process of installing a subpanel using a pre-existing 220 line that is not being used now, but was used for a water heater. The problem is, measuring accross the hot wire and ground I get a normal reading of 115. Measuring across the neutral and ground I get a reading of 94v. at the main panel, both lines read correctly, 110-115. The cable from the main to the subpanel is short, not more than 3 feet. Both boxes are the old edison type fuses and have been converted to s type. Any input would be appreciated. thanks. Randy

 

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Help Replacing a Fluorescent Light?I have taken down a fluorescent light in my house and lost my wiring diagram. There are 4 wires inside 2 brown (I expect to be live), 1 blue (newtr) 1 purple (don't know) also it should be earthed. Help me please. Baz

 

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Help With Wiring A New Light?I've just fitted a new pendant light fitting using the existing electrical source. However, when I turn the main power on, the lights are on even though the light switch is off. When I put the light switch on, it blows the fuse!

 

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Open the ShadesUse the sunlight to light your rooms. Instead of turning on lamps, open your shades and curtains and let the sun shine in. It'll save you money and brighten your day. By Robin

 

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Foam Meat Trays For Stopping DraftsUse those foam trays from meat packaging to make draft stoppers for behind your outlets. It is quite simple to do. Remove one outlet cover and trace around the outlet cover. Using a sharp blade cut out the pattern.

 

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Make A Lamp Out Of a Wok LidGot an old Wok that doesn't work anymore? Don't throw away the lid, make a hanging lamp shade out of it.

 

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How Can I Confirm Electrical Problems?I have many outlets but only one outlet is out. I thought I would just replace the one so I got a free estimate and they want over 4 grand saying the whole house needed to be rewired. It's scary because I don't want a fire. How does one know if this is true, are there other signs to look for so I can make sure that this really needs to be done before I spend 4 grand? Chris

 

Dimmer400x600.jpg

How to Install a Dimmer SwitchInstalling a dimmer switch is a quick and easy way to add more control over the lighting in a room.

 

LED bulb in package

Switching to LED LightbulbsWe already use compact fluorescent bulbs in our house, which to be really honest, I haven't been very happy with. They burn out much faster than the packaging claims. It seems like I am always saying, "I just replaced that light!"

 

Attach Solar Lights to Your Fence - Solar light attached to a fence shown at night.

Attach Solar Lights to Your FenceHere's a unique way to use your solar lights. They aren't just for the ground! We took 2x4 and cut them into squares to fit the original existing posts.

 

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Wiring a 20 Amp Ceiling Fan onto a 15 Amp Circuit?Can a ceiling fan rated for 20a be used with a 15a circuit?

 

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Wiring a Sub Panel?I have added a sub panel box to a detached shed from the main house. I installed a 4 circuit sub panel receiving power from 2 - 50amp circuits in the main house panel. I added a separate ground bar and isolated the neutral bar inside the sub panel. When I turn the power back on the the shed I blow light bulbs.

 

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Wiring for Ceiling Fan and Light Fixtures?I took over a condo and I am installing ceiling light and fan fixtures in each of the rooms. The wires are present, however they are inactive. There is no power (voltage of ~14V instead of 110V), the wires are cut, never used, not capped.

 

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Adding an Electrical Plug to Outdoor Light Fixture?I would like to add string lights along my fencing and chainlink fence. I don't have an electrical outlet out back, but do have a light right at the door to go in. Is there a way that I can switch that light out and include on that an outlet in order to plug in my string of lights?

 

inside of breaker box

Installing a New Circuit Breaker?I have a double wide trailer. On the pole outside I have a breaker with a double 60 amp breaker that is hooked up to everything in the trailer. I would like to know if there is any way to put a bigger breaker in there like 100 amp or maybe even 120 amp? Please someone help me.

 

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Circuit Breaker Box Information?I bought a house in December of 2014, the seller replaced the breaker box due to rust. When I was having someone install a ceiling fan the other night, we discovered my whole first floor: 5 rooms are connected to one circuit breaker. Can this be legal?

 

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