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Trending in the Aisles: Electrical Wiring Booklets

Gardner Bender Wiring Simplified 40th Edition

For some folks, wiring can be a project that they can do themselves. Even if you aren't a certified electrician, you can still safely & easily do basic wiring projects in and out of your home. 

Of course, from time to time, you may run into issues regarding certain wiring projects. No matter if it's encountering 3-way switches or running a new GFCI outlet to the outside of your home, having a handy reference guide is key.

Even if you are new or just need a reference as a pro electrician, having a good wiring booklet is great for making simple calculations and to refresh your memory on certain electrical setups.

This is where your local Home Depot comes in to assist. Be sure to pick one of the following wiring booklets sold in the electrical department.

Ugly"s Electrical References

Gardner Bender Ugly's Electrical References Revised 2014 Edition

The name may say Ugly's on it; but don't let that fool you! This is the best and handiest electrical guide we sell.

Even the most knowledgeable of master electricians will tell you to get this book as a handy how-to guide for wiring.

One of the best tools it has are tables and mathematical equations. This is important for when you encounter voltage drops (running wire a long distance) or needing to know amp capacity for certain devices in general.

Since it has updated 2014 National Electric Code (NEC), you are guaranteed a safe and concise way to wire what you need.

Wiring Handbook

Gardner Bender Wiring Simplified 40th Edition

This is another handy booklet, more or less designed for the do-it-yourselfer who would like to tackle wiring projects in their home.

The book is broken down into 4 sections: Getting started, the basics; Wires, circuits and grounding; Installing service equipment and wiring.

Since it is an easier read versus the Ugly's Reference Book, I recommend this for any first timer who wants to do their own wiring themselves.

Of course, these are just the 2 main books relegated for wiring projects. If you need to do other home improvement projects, the best book we sell is our own DIY favorite.

The Home Depot Home Improvement 3rd Edition with DVD

This book goes over everything form building a deck for your home to faucet repair. And yes, it has plenty of information going over wiring and electrical projects throughout your home.

Be sure to pick up any of these 3 books your local Home Depot sells. Be mindful that some books may or may not be NEC code updated. Additionally, we also sell other wiring books only found on our website.

This is also one of many reasons why no one at your local store or even here can safely quote you the proper electrical code.  Depending on what town, county, city, municipality, will be dictate what proper codes are.

A good example of this is the use of NM-B (or Romex) wire for your home. Some areas, this is fine, but not in the Chicagoland area, where MC (metallic cable) is required to be used for your lights and outlets.

With that being said, it's imperative you always consult a local licensed electrician in your area if you ever have any questions regarding any specific questions over any wiring and electrical installations.

For any other questions regarding these useful electrical books, please let us know here.


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Posted 2016-07-16T17:04:12+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL

I would also highly recommend Wiring Simplified.  It's a great reference for the DIYer as long the the projects don't get too complicated.

Not to quibble but for new construction in the Chicagoland area the code generally requires EMT or metal conduit.  That does vary from municipality to municipality and it's always a good idea to check with the AHJ before starting on any electrical project.  FMC or cables like AC or MC are permitted in certain circumstances like fixture whips or old work where installing conduit would be impractical.

What's interesting is that despite the general prohibition on NM-B it is available in every home center in Chicagoland.
Posted 2016-07-17T01:36:04+0000  by Adam444
Hey Adam.

Man, you do a great job here on the Community.

I work in a suburban Chicago store, and get these electrical code questions all the time.  I know that in the city of Chicago that EMT or rigid metal threaded conduit is required.  This also applies to many villages in the suburban area.  NM-B and UF cable is not allowed at all.  As a homeowner DIY, the town where I live is the only place where I know exactly what is allowed and what is not.  Nearby my store, there are unincorporated areas where apparently the rules are different, and cable is OK.  I think that is why my store sells the cable which I cannot use.  It seems that the farther away from Chicago proper one lives, the more likely that local electrical codes will resemble the National Electrical Code, but which code year is being enforced is another matter.  It's complicated, and that's why I can't help customers as much as I would like to on code specifics.

The problem is bigger than just what kind of conduit/wiring system.  In my town it is not allowed to back-stab outlets as they must be screwed on to the terminals.  There are lots of rules that may just be an inspectors choice, or may be local ordinance. 

This is why it is so important for homeowners as well as pros to work with their local building department.  If you think electrical is complicated, plumbing codes are even worse to figure out up here.

The most important reason to use the guides that Joseph recommends is to make sure that whatever you do is in accordance with acceptable standard practices, resulting in a safe project.  The basics of wiring and how-to is critical knowledge for anyone working with an electrical system.


Posted 2016-07-19T14:27:21+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

The rules seem to be more relaxed the further away one is from Chicago proper.  Joliet used to (and maybe still does) allow non-metallic cable but as you said, there are municipalities that have changed the rules from code revision to code revision.  I know Oswego allowed NM-B for a while and then changed back to conduit and may be back to NM-B...

Personally I like conduit, not because it's "better" as a wiring system but because it makes so much easier to retrofit something.  Some say that Chicago's preference for conduit stems from the Chicago Fire but I'm more inclined to believe it's a function of the strength of the unions.  While material costs are similar, the labor to install conduit is about 3x higher than Romex.  If you're running a union, you want to keep as many guys and gals working as possible.

If nothing else, it keeps you on your toes... <lol>
Posted 2016-08-02T12:16:15+0000  by Adam444
Just as an update, these wiring books are still available both online and at your local Home Depot store.  They are now updated versions as shown in the picture below:

Home Improvement 1-2-3 is now out of print.


Posted 2018-12-11T20:36:14+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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