Does your bedroom not have enough electrical outlets to meet all of your needs? This is a common occurrence, especially, for older homes. The process of installing an additional outlet can be much more complicated than you might realize. It can also be incredibly dangerous and potentially lead to unsafe conditions and fire hazards if not done properly. Therefore, if you’ve decided that you need a new outlet to allow you to charge your phone next to your bed or power your TV, there are a number of things you need to know before you attempt to install one on your own.
Get The Right Equipment
Prior to carving holes in your wall, you need to pick up the necessary tools and electrical boxes for your project. Typically, when a home is being built, a basic outlet box is installed, for example. However, since we don’t want to patch a large hole in your home’s already installed and painted walls, we need to do things a little differently. For example, you’ll need a remodeling box, which is an outlet box made with a special wing that comes out to grab onto the drywall.
- Drywall Saw
- Wire Stripper/Cutter
- 4 1in Screws (and screwdriver)
- Electrical Cable
- Receptacle Outlet
- Remodeling Box (A little different than your typical outlet box)
- Wire Connectors
Determine Where You Want the Outlet Installed
The first step is to determine where you want the outlet installed and also where the outlet can actually be installed. In a new home, the outlet box needs to be screwed into a stud. For this reason, it would be located directly to the side of an existing wall stud. However, since your home already has drywall, you wouldn’t be able to do that without removing and replacing a large hole in your wall. To prevent this, you’ll actually be installing the stud in the drywall without additional support from the surrounding studs. You will be somewhat limited as to its exact location due to stud location because most homes have studs every 2 feet. Furthermore, there are a number of potential issues that could affect where the outlet can and cannot go such as plumbing inside the walls and the location of your other wiring.
In addition to stud location, we also need a way to get the wiring to the new outlet. If the new location you want is in the same stud place as another outlet on the other side of the wall, this won’t be a problem. However, if you don’t have any dependable wiring in that part of the wall, then it is likely that you’ll run into issues getting electricity to that location. Probably one of the easiest places to put a new outlet box is at a different height from another outlet that you want to remove. For example, if you want the outlet to be 5 feet higher for some reason, that could work. If you haven’t done any electrical work before, you should hire a professional electrician for the task since they will have the knowledge and experience to know exactly where the outlet can go. Electricians will be able to complete each of the needed tasks while also ensuring safety.
Carve the Hole for Your Box
Once you mark where the studs are located, it’s time to measure the height of where the outlet box should go. Now, outline the outlet box making sure that the box is level. If you make a hole that is too big, the renovation box won’t be able to stay in place, making the outlining process very important. Once the box is outlined, take a drywall saw and carve out the box shape. At this point, you should have a hole that fits the electrical box perfectly.
Shut Off Electrical Power
Prior to installing the outlet box, we need to run additional wiring to where the outlet box will be. However, we need to work safely so turning off power to the circuit by shutting off the breaker or removing the fuse at the main electrical panel in your home will need to be done.
Run Additional Wiring to the New Outlet
Once you’ve pinpointed a suitable location for the new outlet, the next step is to run additional wiring to power it. In some cases, you might be able to splice the wiring and run it from a nearby outlet. In this case, you will need to cut holes in the wall at both the old outlet and the space where the new outlet goes to allow you to run the wiring. However, this can cause shortages so it’s ideal to run new cabling if possible.
However, it may also be necessary to run additional wiring from your main electrical panel depending on how the room is wired and how much power the existing electrical circuit is currently using. Should this be necessary, it will obviously make the job much more complicated as the wiring will need to be fed throughout the home from your panel all the way to the news outlet.
Install and Wire the Outlet Box
Once the wiring is in place, the outlet box will need to be mounted on a stud. The wires are then fed through the back of the box and connected to the outlet. Once this is completed, all that is left is to screw the cover plate on the outlet and then turn the power back on to make sure the new outlet works properly.
Attempting to do any electrical or wiring tasks on your own is almost always a bad idea unless you’ve been professionally trained. Trying to do the job on your own puts you at risk of injury or even death from electrical shock. If not done correctly, it could also overload the electrical circuit or cause a fire. Therefore, it is always best to hire a professional for any electrical task even if it is something as seemingly simple as installing a new outlet.