installing receptacles and switches before drywall

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Old 10-15-09, 08:10 PM
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installing receptacles and switches before drywall

Since I am doing all the electrical work myself on my large addition and since I'm not an expert I would feel much better if I installed all my switches and receptacles before the drywall in order to test them and make sure everything is wired correctly. I will not be doing the drywall install myself, I will pay someone to do it and I will ask local contractors about this but thought I'd also ask on here what everyone's thoughts are. Is it a really bad idea to install them first, will it cause pains for the drywall installers. I guess if I did install them before drywall I would have to protect them somehome, I was thinking maybe painters tape. I obviously will double check the wiring but would still feel better if I could actually power some up and test them.
 
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Old 10-15-09, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by firedog79 View Post
Since I am doing all the electrical work myself on my large addition and since I'm not an expert I would feel much better if I installed all my switches and receptacles before the drywall in order to test them and make sure everything is wired correctly. I will not be doing the drywall install myself, I will pay someone to do it and I will ask local contractors about this but thought I'd also ask on here what everyone's thoughts are. Is it a really bad idea to install them first, will it cause pains for the drywall installers. I guess if I did install them before drywall I would have to protect them somehome, I was thinking maybe painters tape. I obviously will double check the wiring but would still feel better if I could actually power some up and test them.
A bad idea? YES.

Your sheet rockers would not like it at all. The worse part would be for you because the ears on the plugs and switches would not be doing their job. Those tabs keep the device from moving around. They are designed to lay on top of the sheetrock. By installing the devises first the sheetrockers would just cut around the ears (actually it would tear up their zip tool).

In addition to that the plate covers may not cover the holes the sheetrockers cut.

In short DON'T DO IT!
 
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Old 10-15-09, 08:29 PM
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If you've got it wired correctly and wires labeled (if necessary), then you should have no problem once the rock is up and finished just hooking them up. It is a royal PITA to have the switches and receptacles in place prior to rocking.
 
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Old 10-15-09, 09:16 PM
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I agree with everybody else. Unless you want your rock job around the boxes to be bad, leave the devices off.

Heres some little tricks for ya:
On your three ways twist the travelers together and then wrap the common wire (it will be the hot or switch leg) around them.

Four way switches twist both traveler sets together and then twist them together.

For single pole switches, put a loop in the wire that is the switch leg. Have a hot for each switch (thats needed) or one very long wire to loop around each switch for your hot.

For your GFCI receptacles, strip the line and not the load wires. Then you will know which goes where.

Lastly splice all the receptacle boxes so all you have is one black, one white and one ground to connect to your receptacle.
 
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Old 10-16-09, 09:26 AM
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Definitely have no devices installed when the rockers get there. You can certainly hook a few up to test, but remove them and fold your wires way back into the box before the rockers come. Not only will the cutouts be very poor, but your devices will be filthy from the mud and dust that gets EVERYWHERE, especially in the boxes.

Some other tips: cover your boxes with wide painters tape to keep some of the mess out. You can cut the tape off after mudding and painting is done to do final hookup. If the flooring allows it, make a mark on the floor under each box so you will know if the rockers forget to cut one out.

I agree with Tolyn about doing as much splice work as possible before the rock. After it's covered up you will forget what goes where no matter how much you think you will be able remember.
 
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Old 10-16-09, 03:30 PM
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Ben, good call on the marking the floor. Wish I had the sparkys do that at a church where I was installing metal doors and frames. Prints called for a left hand door opening into a room against a wall. Rockers covered up a wall switch behind the door. Problem.....do the sparkys move the switch....do I put in a right hand door which opens in the middle of the room or reverse the swing to the hallway? Nope. I notified the GC and left it alone. I think they lived with it.
It was a compounding of errors, mostly from our friends the Architects, who had already been paid and couldn't care less.
 
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Old 10-16-09, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
I agree with everybody else. Unless you want your rock job around the boxes to be bad, leave the devices off.

Heres some little tricks for ya:
On your three ways twist the travelers together and then wrap the common wire (it will be the hot or switch leg) around them.

Four way switches twist both traveler sets together and then twist them together.

For single pole switches, put a loop in the wire that is the switch leg. Have a hot for each switch (thats needed) or one very long wire to loop around each switch for your hot.

For your GFCI receptacles, strip the line and not the load wires. Then you will know which goes where.

Lastly splice all the receptacle boxes so all you have is one black, one white and one ground to connect to your receptacle.
i am just reading this,for my own information.
i dont understand-'splice all receptacle boxes'
 
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Old 10-16-09, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by newtofta View Post
i am just reading this,for my own information.
i dont understand-'splice all receptacle boxes'
So if you have multiple cables coming into a receptacle (also called outlets) box, you should splice all the blacks together, all the whites together, and all the grounds together leaving a pigtail out of each to connect to the device after the rock is on and/or all taped.
 
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Old 10-17-09, 12:36 AM
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firedog, if you're concerned about shorts (a staple through the cable?), strip the wires and check them with a meter.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 07:53 PM
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I'll add two more suggestions to prep for sheetrockers...

1) Make sure you fold the wires back into the box as far as they can go. Even the good rockers will just jab in the rotozip tool which will nick and cut any wires in the way.

2) I usually stuff in a half sheet of balled up newspaper into each box. It keeps the dust and mud out, and works wonders to keep things clean if you decide to spray the primer and/or final coat of paint. Plus, it's pretty darned cheap.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
1) Make sure you fold the wires back into the box as far as they can go. Even the good rockers will just jab in the rotozip tool which will nick and cut any wires in the way.
And even if you do that they still find a way to skin your wires!
 
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Old 10-20-09, 08:23 PM
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Thanks for all the tips. I will definately wait on installing any receptacles or switches. I was just anxious because this is my first big do it myself wiring project. I have been carefully double checking everything as I go.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 05:00 AM
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Then you have done more than some electricians do, but they do it for a living, so it looks like a wash. Good luck with the project!
 
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