Adding An Electrical Outlet

Old 12-19-04, 09:11 PM
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Question Adding An Electrical Outlet


Well guys, I have a problem. I need to add an outlet or two, and was hard can it be!!
All of the outlets are exactly 16" from the floor
If there are allready outlets on these walls, would it not seem logical that adding in another wouldn't be too scary?? Or hard to locate??

Thanks for any advice!!
Old 12-20-04, 05:32 AM
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Please buy (or borrow) and read one or more books on residential electrical wiring. These books will tell you all you need to know. Then when you have specific questions post again. Reading will tell you more than most of us are willing to type, and will cover many little things that we will forget to mention or assume you already know.
Old 12-20-04, 10:47 AM
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There are some variables to consider. Like how many total receptacles are on that one circuit already. In general, half a dozen receptacles on a circuit is, in my mind, a reasonable number. Eight is OK. Once you get up around 10 I wouldn't add any more. That is not Code, just my personal experience and preferences. I do not think the NEC actually gives a firm maximum.

Also, consider what they will be used for primarily. If for home electonics and convenience use, like a vacuum once in awhile, floor lamps and other non-contiuous loads, you can feel safe with a larger number of receptacles. If you have a refrigerator, freezer, electric heater and other continuously running stuff, less is better.

And it depends on the amperage of that circuit. 15 amp circuits - fewer receps (half a dozen +/-. 20 amp circuits, maybe more, but again this all depends on what will be continuously running on that circuit.

Generally speaking, it is usually OK to add one or two receptacles to an existing circuit.

Now here's a word of caution: If you add additional receptacles to an existing circuit, the Code says the entire circuit must be brought up to the 2002 Code (soon to be the 2005 Code). Kitchens, for instance, must be supplied with two 20 amp small appliance branch circuits. Each circuit may supply receptacles in the kitchen, pantry, dining area and no other room. No permanent lighting can be on these circuits. So if you're adding receptacles in the kitchen you'd technically have to do as I described above.

If you have a livingroom or a family room or something and there's only 2 receptacles and you'd like four, it should be as simple as just adding two. Just be careful. If it is a 20 amp circuit it should be wired with #12 wire. No #14 wire should be used anywhere on a 20 amp circuit. If it is a 15 amp circuit it can have #14 or #12. (I previously wrote #14 or #20. The 20 is obviously a typo. (---Thanks Chickware for pointing this out to me.)

But I agree, any electrical DIY person, if she/he is just starting out or is otherwise a novice, would do well to obtain a home wiring book. They start at around $11.95 at Home Depot or the like. I've checked them out. Good, clear photos, diagrams and descriptions of the work, the materials and the tools required for common electrical jobs like the one you described, and usually some Code info on the various projects covered.

Hope that helps.


Last edited by JuiceHead; 12-21-04 at 10:46 AM.
Old 12-23-04, 08:46 AM
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You should check with your electrical authority and municipal building department. Some municipalities forbid DIY installations. Most allow you to work on your own home so long as you purchase a permit. When the work is done, you call for an inspection. This is to make sure the work is safe.

A book is a great idea.....most public libraries have a variety on wiring.

Here are a couple links you may find helpful...

Good luck, and post back when you have specific questions.

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