You can wire an additional electrical socket on the wall near a computer or entertainment centre. Many of the local electrical codes that specify a number of outlets do not account for the multiple power plug needs of a home office, or the expanding number of components attached to stereos and a televisions. A single circuit will deliver power to only a limited number of devices. Put in more outlets for the multitude of electronics in a home, and avoid tripping breakers.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Local and national electrical codes
- Drywall saw
- Romex cable
- Electrical socket box
- Cover plate
- 15-amp breaker switch
- Fish tape
- Utility knife
- Wire cutters
- Phillips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Torque wrench with screwdriver attachment
Check the local and national electrical codes for installing wires and receptacles. Remember that local codes take precedence over national. Use the wire gauge indicated by the code when purchasing Romex cable.
Select an appropriate wall location for the power socket. Be sure the wall height meets any governing codes. Use a pencil to trace the pattern from the electrical socket box onto the drywall, with one side next to a stud. Cut the drywall along the pencil marks with a drywall saw. Install the socket box and secure it to the stud with the hardware provided in the package. Most contain Phillips head wood screws.
Run a fish tape down the wall to the cut-out from the attic. Hook the Romex cable to the end of the fish tape, and pull it up the wall and into the attic. Pull the cable through the attic to the wall supporting the breaker panel.
Turn the main power switch off. Remove the breaker panel cover holding screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Beware of the thick incoming wires that bring power into the panel. These are still live and must not be touched by skin or metal tools.
Run the fish tape up through an open slot in the top of the socket box until it reaches the attic. Connect the Romex cable to the hook at the end of the tape and pull more cable up through the attic to reach the breaker panel. Pull the fish tape down through the wall and into the box. Pull 10 inches of cable into the box.
Slice the Romex shield inside the socket box with a utility knife, and cut it away to free the three wires. Feed the bare copper wire into an open terminal on the ground bus bar with pliers. Set a torque wrench to the specification of the panel, and tighten the terminal with a screwdriver attachment.
Strip the black and white wires with the blades of wire cutters. Expose 1/2 inch of bare wire on both. Connect the white wire to the neutral bus bar in the panel. A white neutral incoming wire will identify the neutral bus. Tighten the terminal firmly.
Connect the black wire to a 15-amp breaker switch. Feed the bare wire into the terminal clamp and tighten the terminal screw with a slotted screwdriver. Slip the holding clamp onto the support bar in an empty slot for a breaker switch. Plug the power prongs on the other side of the switch into the power ports. Push both sides of the switch firmly into place, and break out the cover piece on the panel cover that fits over that breaker space.
Pull 10 inches of Romex into the receptacle box. Slice the outer shield, cut it away, and strip the black and white wires to expose 1/2 inch of wire. Connect the black wire to a brass-coloured screw terminal on one side of the receptacle. Wrap the wire in a clockwise direction, and tighten the terminal screw to cover all wire threads. Connect the white wire to one of the silver terminals on the opposite side.
Cut two strips of the copper ground wire at 3-inch lengths. Connect one to the ground terminal on the receptacle and the other to the ground terminal inside the socket box. Twist the two free ends around the ground wire end from the Romex, and cover with a wire nut. Gently push the wires into the box, and secure the outlet with the mounting screws.
Double-check all wire connections. Put the cover plate over the outlet and tighten the holding screw. Put the panel cover on and tighten all holding screws. Turn the power switch on at the main breaker, and test the outlet.
Tips and warnings
- Working on household electrical installations requires training and/or experience. Do not attempt to do your own electrical wiring unless you are qualified.
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