Home DIY projects have grown in popularity exponentially all over the United States, including projects involving electrical wiring.
However, there are approximately 400 electrocutions in the US each year related to these DIY projects. Electrical malfunctions cause some of the largest residential building fires.
Is there a way to move an electrical outlet in your home safely? Here are some tips you should know before you attempt any electrical projects yourself.
Turn Off Your Power
The first thing you need to do before opening any outlet is to cut your power at your circuit breaker. Ensure you are not overloading your breaker if you need to add any new wires.
You will need to test which breaker is connected to the outlet you want to move. Insert a multimeter into your outlet slots to test whether there is voltage or not.
Prepare Your Electrical Outlet Location
Your new outlet location will depend on what you’re using it for. Kitchen and bathroom wiring may not need to move all that much, but a living room outlet may need to move farther up or down the wall.
You should always take wall studs into account as well. Some electrical boxes can attach to a wall stud, while others will need to be in a hollow area. Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs and choose the appropriate location.
Move Electrical Wiring
After you choose the location for your new outlet, you will have to cut a hole in the wall for the electrical box. Then, you can move the electrical wiring to the new place.
If the old and new locations are close together, you may be able to extend the wires from the old box to the new box. You may only do this if you aren’t planning on covering up the old box, however.
It’s important to understand which wire is which. Usually, the black wire will be “hot” and the white wire will be “neutral.”
You will also see a copper wire without insulation. This is the “ground” wire which is there to catch any excess electricity and prevent electrocution. Ungrounded outlets are a huge threat to electrical safety and could easily cause a fire.
The last thing to do when you move your electrical outlet is to put the wallplate back on securely.
You may be able to allow both outlets to share an electrical current. If you choose to do so, you can put plates over the original and the new outlets. If not, you can cover the original location to cover the wires and just use your new outlet.
When in Doubt, Call a Professional!
Now that you know all the steps to move an electrical outlet, it’s time to decide whether or not it’s a project you want to take on. Moving electrical wiring takes skilled hands to do – and a mistake could be costly, not to mention dangerous.
There are many rules and codes found in the National Electrical Code, that must be followed to ensure safety and that help to avoid potentially large problems later. Changes to the National Electrical Code happens every 3 years. If you are unsure about the rules and codes, please call a professional!
If you need help with your home renovations, schedule an appointment with an electrician. At Down to the Wire Electric, we can take care of any electrical project safely for both residential and commercial properties.