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How to Install an Electrical Outlet

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Before any work is done, you should have a certified electrician come into your home or business to do this work. It is the one thing in your home that will create a fire rather easily and put your family in jeopardy.

If you want to move an electrical outlet, if you had one on the wall already and you need one higher (for a television for instance), the first step is to go to your panel and turn your circuit breaker off. Test it with a tester to make sure the circuit is off and there is no voltage present whatsoever.

Remove the outlet plate from the outlet. It has two screws in it that are attached to a plastic box in your wall. Take those screws out that allow you access to the black, white, and copper wires (which are your hot, neutral and ground wires).

At this point you have access. It is pretty easy to take the wire up the wall because most wall cavities are empty and hollow. There is a little hole on the back of the box when you peer into the existing box that the outlet is in. Take a wire, and shove it through that hole, and keep pushing it through the wall until you have enough to get to where you are going.

At this point, go to the location at which you want to have an outlet. Take your remodel box, a pencil, make sure it is level and where you want it. Make your marks around the box so you know what hole you need to cut out. Take the drywall saw, take out those cutout holes. Reach in and grab the wire itself. Pull the wire through the hole. You can put it inside the box, which will have holes on it or tabs to push through. Slide the wire through the box, give yourself 6-7 inches to play with, and put it back in the hole you just cut.

The box itself will have screws, a caddy corner tying down the screws themselves. They’ve got tabs on it that will hold it up against the drywall and essentially that is what will hold the box in at that point. Your markings have to be fairly accurate, to make sure your box has something to hold onto.

Once the box is screwed in, strip out the outer insulation of the wire. This is where we get into connecting the outlet itself. When you strip out the outer insulation of wire you will reveal a black, a white and a bare copper wire. The ground wire gets connected first. Any connection you make on the outside of an outlet or a switch needs to be made around the screw terminals that the outlet/switch has.

We do not recommend taking the wires and pushing them into the holes in the back. It is code that they pop out later and create heat. So you strip out your wire, about a half-inch at the most. Take your black wire, strip about a half-inch, and make a loop with needle-nose pliers or strippers. Wrap these around the screws. Attach the copper wire to the green screw (this is your ground). Then attach your white wire to your silver screw (this is your neutral). At this point, make your connection with your black wire to your remaining screw.

At this point, screw the outlet into your wall. Keep your ground wire away from your copper screws, so that you don’t get any short. Push it into the box and put your plate on. Then, go back to the outlet that you originally came from, and strip out the insulation. More than likely you will have at least one black, at least one white, and at least one bare copper.

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