How to Move an Electrical Outlet?

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-10-04, 08:21 AM
tommyreno
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
How to Move an Electrical Outlet?

Hi.

I built a built-in bookcase which, unfortunately, will require covering over an existing standard eletrical outlet in the wall of my living room. Rather than "lose" the outlet behind the case, I'd like to move it so it fits on the baseboard on the front of the bookcase.

The problem: though I'm only moving the outlet only 18-24 inches, the wires to the exisiting outlet are too short to reach the new location. How do I safely and properly extend them?

Thanks!

--Tom

P.S. I am a novice at wiring, but I can learn quickly and am willing to research the right way to do it. I'm hoping to be able to do this myself, but if it really requires an electrician I would hire one.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-10-04, 08:50 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Your immediate problem is arranging for the connections in the existing receptacle outlet-box to accessible after the book-case is in place.

This suggestion presumes that any damage to the wall-finish will be concealed by the book-case-----

Try to re-locate the outlet-box on the other side of the wall where it will be accessible. This requires exposing the outlet-box so it can be un-fastened from the stud, and "turned-around" and set in the opposite-side of the wall. If the box is a "Gem-box",which is rectangular in shape,Setting the box in the other side of the wall can be accomplished without nailing the box to a stud.

If you need futher assistance in implementing this suggestion,Please determine the type of the O-B and the number of cables that terminate in the box, "submit" the info, and we'll proceed further.

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience!!!!!!!!!!
 
  #3  
Old 02-10-04, 09:23 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I suggest you think of this project as "adding an outlet" rather than "moving an outlet".
 
  #4  
Old 02-10-04, 11:56 AM
tommyreno
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the suggestions.

1) I'll think of the project as "adding an outlet" rather than "moving an outlet."

2) The idea of turning the original outlet box around in the wall so that it is accessible is a good one -- *however*, on the other side of that wall is the bathroom, and worse, the bathtub/shower. I can't imagine I'd want an outlet there (even just for access).

Both of your suggestions bring up another question: I assume that making the original outlet accessible (even though I won't ever use it -- I'll be using the new one in the bookcase) is for code/safety reasons? If I must make the original outlet accessible, and I can't turn it around (because of the bathroom), do you have any other ideas about what I could/should do?

Thanks again!

--Tom
 
  #5  
Old 02-10-04, 12:41 PM
arcspark
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The code requires all junction boxes to be accessible. A box or receptacle left behind a built-in bookcase would not be accessible. So you have two choices, make it accessible, or eliminate it.
Is this receptacle the end of a line, or does the circuit continue to another device somewhere. If it is the end of the line, you might just disconnect this outlet from the next upstream receptacle, and then treat the job as a new installation.
You'll need to kill power and remove the outlet and box to determine what direction the wires are coming in from. If they are coming up from a crawl space, then just pull them back down into the crawl space and install a junction box there, and feed a new line up to your new receptacle. If you have enough slack wire, you may be able to raise the receptacle up on the wall and have it come through the rear of the bookcase, usable and accessible. Since the bookcase will be covering up the wall anyway, it shouldn't be a problem to open up the wall to move the wiring.
 
  #6  
Old 02-10-04, 12:43 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
In your situation, the original outlet needs to be accessible because the wire is not long enough to reach the new outlet.

Whenever you make an electrical connection it must be permanently accessible.

With a bathroom on the other side you are SOL.

Where is this outlet fed from?

Can you replace the existing wire with a longer one, one that will reach?

If the existing wire runs in an attic or in the basement and you have access to it, you can install a junction box in the attic or basement and run a new wire from there, removing the wire to the old outlet.
 
  #7  
Old 02-10-04, 03:04 PM
dougm's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: The Colony, Texas
Posts: 917
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm not an electrician so this might not be acceptable, but why not just run a new wire from the old box to the baseboard on the front of the book case and cut a hole in the back of the book case where the box is to make the box accessible. Make the hole the same size as the electrical box, so the plate will cover the wooden edges of the hole. You may need to use a box extender to make this acceptable (so no wood is within the wiring space). Then, put a blank cover over the old box in the back of the book case. The wiring could be run from the old box, inside the wall and out at the bottom of the wall, then under the bookcase so it wouldn't be exposed. The box cover could be painted a color similar to the book case and would not be overly obtrusive. If that isn't within code (may not be acceptable to put a plug in a baseboard...) just make the hole, use a box extender to cover the wood edges and keep the plug in the back of the bookcase. I've seen a number of built-in book cases with plugs in the backs of them, probably for just this reason...

Doug M.
 
  #8  
Old 02-10-04, 11:58 PM
tommyreno
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I've learned a lot about wiring in one day -- thanks!

The outlet I want to move, by the way, does appear to be the end of a line. It appears the next closest outlet -- the one that it might be hooked up to -- is about 8 feet away.

Seems to be my options are:
1) use an extender and push the existing outlet (or junction box) in the back of the bookcase -- though for functional and aesthetic reasons it's not my first choice but I guess it is something to think about.
2) disconnect the original outlet, drop the exisiting wire below into the garage, install a junction box, and run the wire back up into a new box and outlet (at a place of my choosing)
3) disconnect the original outlet, remove the wiring from the wall back to the nearest next outlet, and rehook a new, longer wiring to a new outlet (at a place of my choosing).

Followup questions:
1) how does one best remove wiring from a wall? how does one tell for sure which outlet is the next one down the line? It looks like the wiring runs through the studs in the wall and not below in the basement joists. (BTW, the house was built in the 30s; the walls are lathe and plaster.)
2) from reading around, I gather it's not possible to install a junction box where the original outlet is and seal it off befhind the bookcase -- as a junction box must be accessible. What constitutes a concealed junction box?
3) any books or magazine articles to recommend on this topic?

Thanks again!

--Tom
 
  #9  
Old 02-11-04, 04:09 AM
phillyguy
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Followup questions:
1) how does one best remove wiring from a wall?
A lot of the time you'll just end up disconnecting it at both ends and leaving it in the wall. Especially if its the older knob and tube stuff. Most of the time that stuff just won't budge.
 
  #10  
Old 02-11-04, 05:06 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You do have another possible solution.

If this outlet is indeed the last in line and the wiring comes through the studs, then perhaps you can move it to the right or left far enough to allow the wires to make it out to the fron of the bookcase.

The danger here is that you will violate the 12 foot spacing rule.

One caution however. If this wiring is knob and tube (as someone suggested) then disregard what you have read here. Do not attempt to move knob and tube, but rather replace it.
 
  #11  
Old 02-11-04, 05:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 510
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The danger here is that you will violate the 12 foot spacing rule.
How does a long run of built-in bookcases count against the 12 foot spacing rule? Seems to me it should be calculated similar to a doorway - 6' rule applies from either end of the bookcase. I am planning a similar project and would like to know.
 
  #12  
Old 02-11-04, 08:55 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Built in bookcases count as regular wall space.
 
  #13  
Old 02-11-04, 10:03 AM
tommyreno
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks everyone.

I don't think I'll be violating the 12 foot rule.

I believe my wiring is knob and tube. (It looks like two wires in two separate cables -- which look 1930s original, BTW -- running into the outlet. There doesn't appear to be a grounding wire coming into the outlet, but there is a wire -- separate from the other two I just mentioned -- which leads from one part of the outlet back into another part of the outlet.)

Anyway, to a novice, it looks like knob and tube, and maybe not even grounded at that. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

If it is knob and tube, can I detach the knob and tube that leads to the outlet and attach new wiring from the next outlet down the line so I can rig up a new outlet? In other words, if 5 outlets in a circuit are knob and tube, can I add a 6th outlet at the end of the line with new wiring that is not knob and tube? Or do I have to replace all the knob and tube wiring in the circuit with new wiring?

Thanks again.

BTW, I'm getting several electrical wiring books from the library today. I don't want to be wear out my welcome on this board.
 
  #14  
Old 02-11-04, 10:07 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This suggestion presumes there is only one 2-wire cable in the O-B. A lath & plaster wall-finish suggests that the 2-wire cable is Armored Cable.

Remove the cable from the O-B and let it "float". Neatly scribe the out-line of a metal "old-work"gem-box on the back of the book-care and make the cut-out in the wood for the gem-box. When the book-case is in place, you will have 2 cables protruding thru the gem-box cut-out-- the existing cable and a cable for the new receptacle-outlet.

Connect the 2 old/new cables- both Armored- to a "Duplex" Armored Cable connector which you have fastened to the 1/2" K-O in the back/rear of the gem-box, set the box in place, and fasten the box to the wood. Seal the box with a blank-plate stained/painted to match the wood-finish.

If possible, locate the box where it's both un-obtrusive and convienent for connecting to the existing cable. .
 
  #15  
Old 12-19-07, 06:19 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
More questions - New Guy Same Issue

Hi All,

So, I'm in the same situation. Can I just remove the junction box, use wire nuts and extend the wire to the junction box I mount on the builtin bookshelves? Okay, so of course I can do that, is it likely to violate code?
 
  #16  
Old 12-19-07, 06:37 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: (near) Boise, ID
Posts: 442
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes, you will violate code. Connections must be made in junction boxes.
 
  #17  
Old 12-19-07, 06:38 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It would violate code in a HUGE way. Don't do it. Don't even consider it. There are lots of ways to do this safely, and they are probably no harder than the unsafe way you propose.
 
  #18  
Old 12-19-07, 06:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ya bummer, connections have to be made in junction boxes, junction boxes need to be accessible. My home is log, so wiring is incredibly difficult, I don't know that I could fish a new wire, also it's an exterior wall.

So actually there will be a drawer in front of the junction box. Since the drawer can be removed, do you think that would pass as accessible?

Other options?
 
  #19  
Old 12-19-07, 07:25 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'd just find out where the circuit originates and disconnect it. Then you could leave the wires where they are once your sure they are dead and cover them up with the book case. It's K&T anyway so it's useless. If you do need a new outlet I'd add one with a proper ground . With a log home, wiring is a real *****. Your stuck with pretty much wire mold or conduit..
 
  #20  
Old 12-19-07, 08:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 58
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
.

Can you leave the outlet "as is" and cut a hole in the back of shelving back plate? Seriously!!!! This 4x6" hole would allow that outlet to be is accessable from the front (of your large bookcase).

We have an outlet in our kitchen wall. If I remember correctly, it's a 20A circuit on 12/2 wiring. Great for plugging in a toaster or coffee pot. On that far kitchen wall, we wanted to install floor to near ceiling cup boards that are 12" deep. Thus, wall/wall cupboards (or wall/wall pantry system) on that wall. The cabinet installer didn't want to cover up our electrical outlet either. So, we asked the kitchen cabinet installer guy to cut a 4" x 6" hole in the back of his cupboard board. When we open one of our cupboard doors, it has an outlet. To reduce risk of fire, we inserted those plastic kid-proof inserts. Works great for our needs and still keeps this outlet "within code".

If you can, simply leave this wall outlet "as is" and if possible cut a 4"x6" opening in the back of your bookshelf back platting. Thus, your existing outlet will be accessable from the front as well.

Also... If you want a "new outlet" in a different location in the same room, I'd install a new oulet - using today's newer materials and depending on its load, use appropriate size wire / breakers. For example, use 20A on 12/2 wiring for high electrical drain devices. Or, stay with the general grade 15A on 14/2 wire for smaller electrical demand devices.
.
 
  #21  
Old 03-11-08, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 14
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Lightbulb K. I. S. S.

> K.eep&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I.t&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;S.imple,&nbsp;&nbsp;S.martguy! <

Here's a safe & quick way to add that outlet!
This will work fine if the space between your existing receptacle and your wished-for receptacle location is pretty much inaccesible, normally.

> Get these items together <

--------------
* MATERIAL *
--------------

> 1 single- or double-gang "cut-in" receptacle box (metal or plastic)
> 1 Romex connector (metal or plastic, whatever works with your box)
> 1 or 2 Receptacle(s) (use a GFCI [Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupt] for extra safety)
> Faceplate for the receptacle(s)
> 1 3-prong male electrical plug
> ?? ft. of 12-guage electrical cord
NOTE #A: The cord must contain black, white & green wires & upon assembly, all of the wires must be connected: Black to the brass screw, white to the silver screw, & green to the green screw.
NOTE #B: If the wire is going to be exposed at all, in everyday circumstances, use indoor (yellow) Romex wire, 12-guage.
-----------
* TOOLS *
-----------

> A saw to cut the box-sized hole into the new location's material (drywall handsaw, electric jigsaw, sawzall, etc.)
> A drill with 1/2" bit to make a starter-hole for the saw
> Wire stripper
> Phillips screwdriver
> Now, build it <

----------
* STEPS *
----------

1. First, determine the location for your new outlet. Don't rush it..... think about all the variables & possible uses for the outlet, plus little-kid issues & safety in general.
Also, leave your existing receptacle, the one you want to "move," right where it's at.
2. When you've determined where you want the new receptacle to go, place the opening of your cut-in box on the material where you want it to be, and then trace an outline of the cut-in box with a marker. Note the odd shapes on the box that are going to have to fit into the hole; a straight rectangle will not do, in other words.
This picture shows a common plastic double-gang cut-in box:

BTW, that ain't me. Dunno who it is... I found the pic on Google Images.

3. Get your drill & drill a 1/2" hole in 1 or more corners of the box outline, then saw out the box outline. See how the box fits into the hole; if the hole's shape needs tweaking, do it. Don't mount the box in the hole just yet.
4. Get your 12-guage wire & measure off an amount to run between your existing receptacle & your new one. Make sure there's enough wire so that it can be stapled or otherwise anchored to nearby structures for safety reasons.
5. Now, get all the electrical components put together. Box, wire, connector, plug, receptacle(s). When you're done you're going to have a box with receptacle(s) mounted in it, the wire coming out the back of the box via the box connector you used, and a plug at the end of the wire.
6. When it's all together, run the wire through the hole you cut. Don't plug the plug in just yet. Using your Phillips, screw down the cut-in box's top & bottom screws until the box is good & snug in the hole (make sure it's straight & level!).
7. Last steps: Using staples or other electrical wire anchors, anchor the 12-guage wire to structures to take up the hanging slack; screw on the receptacle faceplate; & finally, plug your new receptacle's plug into your old receptacle.
> DONE! <
 

Last edited by kevin-in-idaho; 03-11-08 at 09:52 PM.
  #22  
Old 03-12-08, 10:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 272
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How does a long run of built-in bookcases count against the 12 foot spacing rule? Seems to me it should be calculated similar to a doorway - 6' rule applies from either end of the bookcase.
Keeping in mind that (here in Northern Virginia, anyway) the fixed glass panel of a sliding door counts as wall space, too.

Tom
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: