Eric Stromer shows you the easiest way to add an electrical outlet with surface wiring.
Tags:How to Wire an Outlet,Adding an Electrical Outlet with Surface Wiring,aol living,eric stromer,eric stromer tips,home improvement advice,Home Improvement Tips
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How to Wire an Outlet
Featured Pro: Eric Stromer Category: Home Improvement Time: 5:33
ERIC STROMER: Installing extra power outlets can add convenience to just about any room. I’m Eric Stromer, and I’ll show you how with another GMC Trade Secret.
Here’s a room with an outlet over there. But, because there’s nothing over here, we have a mess of extension cords. Now, we can fix this by putting in another surface outlet here. Essentially, surface wiring is a low-wattage option that consists of channels or runners that carry wires from your original outlet to a new surface-mounted outlet box. You’ll need to check with your local building inspector to determine if a permit or inspection is required for surface wiring.
Now, the first step is to turn off the power to the outlet you’re working on. The rule of thumb is that one circuit can handle nine outlets. So make sure you’re not adding more than that to this one circuit. Use a circuit tester to confirm that the power is off.
All right. Now, with the power off, I’m ready to remove the outlet cover and screws that secure the receptacle box. So from this point, I’m going to go ahead and clip these wires right as close to the switch as possible. All right, good.
Now, the next step is the metal plate that’s going to actually hold the box that’s on top and overmounted on the wall. So this metal plate gets fed over our wires. There’s this nice little area here that we can feed the wires through. And then we’ll just hand-tighten it around those wires. Okay, good. That plate is nice and tight.
Next up is to measure for the surface wiring channel for where my next box is going to be – 87 inches. I’m going to cut that channel strip. So I’ve cut my channel strip, and conceptually this stuff basically works like this. You can pre-drill holes into your plaster and then it plugs right in, and these things connect then if you need to have a couple of extender pieces, which we will actually do that. So I’m going to mark a hole where I’m going to drill my first wall anchor.
Then we’re going to work our way all the way down the line so we can plug this end into our male piece here; slide it down across. Now, again, we’ll mark the hole for this right-angle elbow here by putting it in the channel. And I’ve already marked the place on my plate onto the wall where I’m going to put my screws here, so I’m going to go ahead and drill two wall anchors in as well. I’ve got my marks right there. Now I’m going to go ahead and feed my wire through the channel. You’re going to want to make sure you leave enough wire on both sides. Eight to 10 inches should do it.
So our next step is to go ahead and strip this wire about two inches up from where the channel ends here. We can use a utility knife to do that. Okay, good. Now, that leaves us with our hot, our neutral, and of course our ground again. And in relation to the ground, I’m going to go ahead and put a screw, this tiny little screw here, right into this spot on the plate for our ground. Go ahead and screw that down.
All right, so our next step is to go ahead and apply the surface mount box over the top. And what they come with are these little knockouts here that are – you can run that down right over the top of the box. There it is.
So now it’s time to install the outlet. And there are two sides to it, obviously. You’ve got your white side and then you’ve got your black side here. And then there’s a ground as well here. So first I’m going to attach the ground. But before I do any of that, I can cut some of these wires back a bit. And then I can go ahead and strip them about three-sixteenths of an inch back.
I’m going to do my ground first, same way I did it on the plate on the wall. Then the next step is to plug in either the top or the bottom screw. It doesn’t matter. Either one’s okay. Now we’ve got to just tuck these wires back into the box.
Our last step is to go ahead and put our cover plate on our outlet. Okay, good. Now, this one’s done. I’m going to go back to the original one and hook that one up as well.
So we basically have the same configuration as the other side. I’m just going to go ahead and install that now. I’m going to go ahead and install my wire here on the top screw hole. There’s one here. That’s going to be for the new wiring. And then the one below it will be for the old wiring so that these two can conduct a circuit, obviously.
Now I’ve got all my connections made. The old wire’s coming out of the wall into the bottom of the outlet. The new wire is coming out of our channel here into the new outlet. And all I have to do is press this back in and screw it into the overmount box.
Okay, now that I have the cover plate on, our next step is to paint our channel strip. We’re going to match the color of the wall. We’ll go ahead and leave our boxes and our plates white. All we have to do is turn on the power.
Well, it’s just that easy. Surface wiring is a nice-looking solution that’ll save time and money and the hassle of going through the walls. I’m Eric Stromer, and that was your GMC Trade Secret.