Book Review: Complete Wiring, 2nd Edition

There won’t be many household electrical problems that this book doesn’t address in a straightforward, easy to understand style.


Complete Wiring, 2nd Edition

"Do we really need another book on home wiring?" you might ask yourself. There are certainly more than a few books devoted to the subject, though this second edition of Complete Wiring is as good as any, and better than most. There won’t be many household electrical problems that this book doesn’t address in a straightforward, easy to understand style.
A glance through the table of contents tells you that its 287 pages and accompanying DVD deals with pretty much every issue that a typical homeowner would be confronted with. Complete Wiring begins with a comprehensive introduction to household electricity - a bit of theory, the nuts and bolts of wires, switches, boxes, light fixtures, etc. It then goes on to explain how to hook it all up, and covers specialty topics like doorbells, security lighting, outdoor service and kitchen range hoods. Finally it covers repairs of various kinds. The presentation of each topic is user-friendly and very well illustrated; the book includes over a thousand photos and drawings. Any technical terms and techniques are thoroughly explained in layman’s language and through 'Pro Tips'.
Another welcome feature in this ’expanded edition’ is the addition of topics completely unheard of just a few years ago such as setting up a home theatre, halogen lighting, installing radiant floor heating, wiring a home media network and going wireless. While these topics deserve books of their own, Complete Wiring provides the reader with a good introduction to each topic.
I do have a couple of reservations about the book. There are some topics like the installation of a sub-panel or working with 240 volt circuits which should be left only to a certified electrician. Even with a warning to work with “extreme caution”, I think the book should clearly direct homeowners to a pro for these kinds of jobs. My other concern is regarding knob and tube wiring. Complete Wiring says it is “not necessarily unsafe”. However, throughout Ontario, where I live, it’s almost impossible to insure your house if it's found to have knob and tube wiring.
But these reservations aside, if I was to have one home electricity book in my library, I could do a lot worse than Complete Wiring.



  • Introduction
  • Working Safely
  • Getting Ready
  • Checking Your Electrical System
  • Basic Techniques
  • Repairs
  • Switches & Receptacles
  • Lights & Fans
  • Planning New Electrical Service
  • Installing Cable & Boxes
  • Installing New Fixtures
  • Installing Fans & Heaters
  • Household Voice, Data, & Security
  • Outdoor Wiring
  • Appliances & New Circuits
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Metric Conversions
PUBLISHER:John Wiley & Sons
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 288 pages
 Reviewed by Gerry Tsuji, January 2010
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