THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WIRING, Black & Decker DIY Series from the Brand You Trust, Updated 7th Edition, Cool Springs Press/Quarto Homes


For more than ten years, BLACK+DECKER The Complete Guide to Wiring has been the bestselling home wiring manual in North America. Now with more than two million copies in print, this is the home reference book more DIYers choose than any other for many reasons.

As the most current wiring book on the market, you can be confident that your projects will meet national writing codes. You’ll also spend more time on your project and less time scratching your head thanks to more than 800 clear color photos and over 40 diagrams that show you exactly what you need to know about home electrical service; all the most common circuits, all the most-needed techniques, all the most essential tools and materials. You can trust BLACK+DECKER to only provide the most concise information. This manual won’t bog you down with unnecessary information; the easy to understand step-by-step instructions and explanations treat only those situations that a single-family residential homeowner is likely to encounter.

The information in this book has been created and reviewed by professional electricians under the watchful eye of the experts at BLACK+DECKER. You can find plenty of articles and videos about wiring online or in other publications, but only The Complete Guide to Wiring has passed the rigorous test to make it part of The Best DIY Series from the Brand You Trust.


Paul Slipak

Paul Slipak is a ticketed machinist millwright, and has been in the industrial avenues for over fifty years. He has an extensive background including the skills associated with his certification, that also encompass a vast knowledge regarding plumbing, electrical, construction specifications, gears, pumps, welding, brazing, and working with all types of metals. His knowledge doesn’t stop there. He is experienced/certified with elevating devices, breathing equipment and was a volunteer firefighter for twelve years.  He also is a trainer for those instructing CPR.

He’s worked in the industrial food industry for over thirty years and in Plant Maintenance for the remainder. He’s sat on many advisory boards for health and safety, built homes and businesses and has an endless of remarkable knowledge and skills gained throughout the years.

He has graciously offered to review this book.

“Thank you for the opportunity to review this book. The first thing that I noticed, was in the upper right hand corner of your cover was printed: “The Best DIY Series from the Brand You Trust.” This grabbed my attention immediately as I know something about wiring, and wanted to see to whom this quote was referring to–the beginner, or, the professional?

I decided to look at the book as a beginner and took my time reading all the warnings in the beginning of the book about safety when executing or planning anything involving electricity. If I were a beginning, this part of the book would serve a very important issue that many beginners often pass over without consideration. 

I then carefully read your description: “How Electricity Works.” It too was excellent, easy to read and follow. The accompanying photos made it very thorough, and any beginner would be able to understand both.  I think without the presence of the photos, there may be some parts left unclear or even misunderstood.

The added bonus to this book, was the included glossary of electrical terms laid out in basic terminology easy enough for the beginner to understand and appreciate.

I then proceeded to scan the bulk of the book, noting the very clear photos used throughout to describe various procedures.  It is at this point where I had the only problem I’ve encountered, remember, I’m reviewing this as a beginner… I found for some of the more complicated installations, there just wasn’t enough point by point  installation photos to help through each step necessary to completion of a job. Yes, there are great photos showing many important points, just not enough for a beginner.

Overall, I found the book enjoyable, interesting and informative, but I have an electrical background.  The beginner may have trouble following some of the step by step formats as they are currently laid out. Does this mean this book wouldn’t be useful? Absolutely not. If someone has the experience, then this book would be a great resource tool to keep handy and I highly recommend it for the experienced worker.

Knowing, because of the economy, how people are doing more and more of their own repairs and work, someone out there needs to put out a book that is for beginners, starting with even the basics such as ‘white to white’ and black to black’ connections… what’s a grounding wire… Simple schematic drawings on how to wire a simple light switch has yet to appear in any beginner book, but it’s something that is absolutely needed. How about something showing how a ceiling fan is installed, or removed for a different kind of light.  Changing a plug, running wire, topics like these are what beginners need shown with step by step photos to clarify any issues that might spring up, along with simple terms that are easy to understand and perform.

In conclusion, if you have an electrical background, then this book is exactly for you. I highly recommend it to the experienced installer.

This is my honest review.”

My thanks to Paul Slipak for his time and review.


I would like to add the following:

This book covers a range of topics, they are:

Working Safely with Wiring: six sections outlining how electricity works, a glossary of electrical terms you may encounter or need to understand, an understanding of electrical circuits, what grounding and polarization is about, what tools you’ll need and wiring safety.

Wire, Cable & Conduit: four sections covering wire and cable, NM cable, conduit, and surface-mounted wiring.

Boxes & Panels: three sections about electrical boxes, installing boxes, and electrical panels.

Switches: four sections that describe wall switches, types of wall switches, specialty switches, and testing switches.

Receptacles: four sections that introduce the types of receptacles, receptacle wiring, GFCI Receptacles and testing receptacles.

Preliminary Work: in this section you see how to plan your work, what are the highlights of the National Electrical Code, how to wire a room addition and a kitchen.

Circuit Maps: here you learn about the common household circuits.

Common Wiring Projects: there are thirty sections, that make up the body of this book. This section is laid out for the experienced installer. They are shown with page limitations, photos and key points.  They are: GFCI & AFCI Breakers; Whole-House Surge Arrestors; Service Panels; Grounding & Bonding a Wiring System; Sub-panels; 120/240 – Volt Dryer Receptacles; 120/240 – Volt Range Receptacles; Ceiling Lights, Recessed Ceiling Lights; Track Lights; Under-cabinet Lights; Vanity Lights; Low-Voltage Cable Lights; Hard-Wired Smoke & CO Alarms; Landscape Lights; Doorbells; Programmable Thermostats; Wireless Switches; Baseboard Heaters; Wall Heaters; Underfloor Radiant Heat Systems; Ceiling Fans; Remote-Control Ceiling Fan Retrofit; Bathroom Exhaust Fans; Range Holds; Backup Power Supply; Installing a Transfer Switch; Outbuildings; Motion-Sensing Floodlights; Standalone Solar Lighting System.

Repair Projects included are: Repairing light fixtures, repairing chandeliers, repairing ceiling fans, repairing fluorescent lights, replacing plugs & cords, replacing a lamp socket.

At the back of the book  you have: appendix: Common Mistakes; Conversions, Resources, and an Index.

This book has been given:


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