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Electrical Wiring Residential: Based On The 2005 National Electric Code Paperback – Dec 7 2004


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Amazon.com: 18 reviews
41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Poorly organized and not on point Feb. 27 2007
By JRL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I spent quite a bit of time researching to find a good book on residential wiring for a rewire project I was looking to tackle in my early 1900 house. In the end, I purchased three books:

1. Electrical Wiring Residential - by Mullin

2. Wiring a House (for Pros by Pros) - by Cauldwell

3. Complete Guide to Home Wiring (Black and Decker)

Unfortunately I have to say that I found this (Mullin's book) to not be user friendly. While I think there is a wealth of information within the book, it is not organized in a very logical manner and tends to be filled with pages of details that aren't that meaningful for most readers.

For example, Chapter two spends quite a bit of time discussing electrical symbols commonly found on an electrical plan [how many people really need to know this?]. Then, intermixed in Chapter two is information of the number of wires in a box, selecting the right size box, etc. [important info for most people doing a wiring job]. Further, the specific NEC code is typically co-mingled with other [often not important] information throughout chapters, making it very hard to easily find code requirements on a specific topic. Point being, the book isn't logically organized, basically to the point of being distracting.

My recommendation to the author would be to have chapters laid out in a more logic manner (i.e. a chapter on a specific topic, e.g. a chapter on wire, a chapter on boxes, a chapter on lighting, a chapter on recetacles, etc.) and to have a consistent approach to where the code requirements would be found in each chapter (e.g. at the end of the chapter), so it is is always easy for the reader to find.

As side note, this book does not have any information on old wire and minimal information on doing a rewire project. Further, it does little to provide meaningful and helpful/practical hints.

I personally preferred Cauldwell's Wiring a House (for Pros by Pros). In my opinion, Cauldwell's book focuses more on giving the information you will TRULY need to know to get a job done. I got much more out of the approximate 200 pages in Cauldwell's book than the 700 pages in Mullin's book. Cauldwell's book is better organized, more on point, and written in far clearer language. Further, while Cauldwell's book respects and presents the code, he takes it further by providing best practices ("above code") and also provides many helpful/practical hints.

To the extent you want a book that has every detail on the topic of residential electrical (such as a several paragraph explanation of why code uses the term "Luminaire" rather than "Light Fixture"), then this is a book for you. If you want a book that gives the information you need to get the majority of residential jobs done AND delivers this information in a manner that is concise and easy to understand... then I recommend a different book, such as Cauldwell's book noted above.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
New work only Nov. 8 2005
By lk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a high school textbook for prospective homebuilders and electricians, not a reference on how to apply the National Electrical Code to residential buildings.

It has too many illustrations of things already familiar to homeowners, such as examples of commonly available receptacles, circuit interrupters, and illuminaries (courtesy of xyz corp.), and it makes too many generalizations about what a "common" residence will be like, instead of sticking strictly to the letter of the NEC.

It might be good for new work, where the person has the freedom to follow new codes, and can redesign the house to follow the new codes and new styles, but for someone who is trying to improve on old work while sticking to the code, this book is a disappointment.

Buy this book for new work only.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Great Book for Electrical Projects April 23 2006
By Jay A. Brunn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently completed rewiring a cabin and a old house in the Twin Cities area. My projects were probably a little more complex than some as they involved installing new service entrances and new panels. More importantly they involved getting an electrical permit, which meant visits from the local electrical inspector. For this reason I did a lot of reading. One of the books I read was the this book. I really liked it because of the detailed code information many books left out or assumed you already knew. Written as a textbook for students in the electrical trade it covers things like outlet spacing, number of circuits required in a kitchen, size of conductors for service entrances, box fill violations ect. The great thing about Mullin's approach is he covers a house room by room with what the code requires with references. The actual National Electrical Code is not well organized and you would spend a lot of time trying to find what you need. By applying Mullin's book to my work, all of my projects passed inspection the first time around! I agree with other reviewers that it does not cover some wiring skills things like fishing wires through old houses or how to wire an outlet or switch. For this reason, I have three other suggestions:

"Wiring a House" by Rex Cauldwell. This was a good book for learning how to plan out the wiring for my projects, it has excellent photographs and how to information. I especially like his "above code" suggestions for making your wiring more useful and safer.

Another suggestion is the Black and Decker Wiring book, it is very good at showing the basics of wiring and has good color photographs. I think it is much better than the Home Depot book.

There is also a handy little book (and cheap!) called "Step by Step Guidebook on Home Wiring Diagrams" by Ray McReynolds. It is a small orange book I found at Home Depot and have seen at other home improvement stores. This book is not flashy and is easily overlooked or dismissed, it just has black and white drawings of wiring diagrams for just about every wiring situation a homeowner could get into, like three way and 4 way switches, outlets, lights ect. This book also shows different ways to wire all these devices, such as when the power comes in at the switch or comes in at the light ect.

The bottom line, if you are doing any complex wiring in your home and want to be code compliant this is a good book for you. If you are just looking for how to wire switches and outlets, buy the Black and Decker book and the little home wiring diagram book. Happy Wiring!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A textbook, not a reference book May 26 2007
By Mike Blaszczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The National Electric Code explains how wiring is to be done in structures built within the United States -- plus a few other countries that have adopted the code. The code is extremely comprehensive and difficult at times to understand.

This well-organized book does a wonderful job of reviewing different types of installations and discussing the practical aspects of completeing the project within the requirements of the code. The explanations always reference the code so that you can find more details or the exact tables involving the work you're completing.

The book approaches the code in sections, starting with a discussion of the code itself, then moving to reading electrical diagrams as commonly found on blueprints. The book covers simple wiring for switches and lights, branch circuits, and two-phase circuits for large appliances. In all sections, the book throroughly describes physical installation requirements and explains the different conduit, wire types, and boxes that can be used.

The balance of the book discusses near-water installations, special purpose outlets, low-voltage installations and HVAC-related work. The book also includes discussions of service entrance work on both the service side and the load side, as well as stand-by power systems.

The book is well-indexed and includes a good glossary.

Throughout, this book is very well written, with very clear examples and explanations. It is easy to find information you need to work on your project.

I'd review this book with five stars except for one issue: it's not clear from any of the descriptions that the book is a textbook. Each chapter ends with a set of example problems and questions, but does not provide answers to the exercises within the book. Instead, the reader must pursue the instructor's manual -- which can't be ordered at Amazon, and also can't be ordered directly from the Thompson/Delmar site; presumably, it's only available to bona fide teachers.

The exercises can mostly be answered by carefully studying the material of the chapters. But for a book that describes itself as a "trusted resource", I'd expect solved examples, not quiz questions as in a student textbook.

Despite the fact that this is really a text book, there's plenty of reasons to buy and use the book if you're not a student. It does a great job of explaining the code with practical, current examples, good drawings, and clear pictures of real products.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
So far so good - Updated June 22 2006
By E. Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After buying the Black and Decker Home Wiring guide and finding conflicting information, I decided I needed a more thorough reference (but didn't want to have to decipher the NEC). After a bit of research, I decided to buy "Electrical Wiring Residential". Within the first hour of reading it, I had two major questions answered that the B&D book didn't even attempt to address. While I've only had it for a day, I'm already 100% more satisfied with it than I was with the B&D book. My advice: buy this book instead of the less expensive ones if you paln on doing your own wiring and want it to be to code.

Update (6/26/06): I've gotten through about 1/3 of the book now and continue to be impressed. The way the chapters are organized makes it very easy to learn the code. I did go out and buy the NEC Residential Handbook (2005) so I could reference it as I read through this book since some of the tables aren't reprinted (probably for copy right reasons). Even without the NEC, the book explains the codes and regulations very well. The more I read of this book, the better it gets.


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