Hi MMM community, I'm hoping to do some household electrical repairs that are beyond my current comfort zone. The extent of my previous work is simply replacing older outlets with GFCI in the kitchen and replacing some ceiling fixtures. Does anyone know of a good household electrical reference/resource? Either a particularly good book or a maybe a good online resource? Something geared towards absolute beginners, but extending up to what most competent DIY homeowners should know.
"Electrical" DIY has always made me uncomfortable, but I'd like to stretch my comfort zone a little bit and save some $ in the process.
If interested, the current project is a switch & outlet at my back porch that periodically will lose power and then mysteriously gain power again seconds later. The outlet also is "loose" (things plugged into it don't always stay plugged in). Oh, and it's not GFCI. And it's housed in an inappropriate metal box (definitely not outdoor rated). And there is a ground wire running from the switch to the outlet that has all the green plastic sizzled around it whereas all of the other wires look great. As best I can tell the installer relied on metal conduit as ground, yet when I go in my basement and look at the upstream box, it doesn't look like they ever properly grounded the conduit. I figure if I can learn enough electrical to figure out WHY this failed, and how to correct the problem, maybe I will feel confident in doing the repair myself. And if I decide I still don't understand it, at least I will know MORE than I did to start with and can speak competently with the electrician.
As a related question, are there general thoughts about pulling permits when doing minor electrical repairs? My city requires permits when making any change to any hard-wired system which seems overkill for the simple stuff I've done thus far (switching old outlets to GFCI, switching ceiling light fixtures, etc).