Moving an Electrical Outlet Step-By-Step

An open electrical outlet.
  • 5-10 hours
  • Advanced
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Drywall or keyhole saw
Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
Cut-in electrical box
12x3 electrical wiring
Wire nuts
Blank electrical plate
1-inch paddle bit
Side cutting pliers
Wire strippers
Electrical gloves

Sometimes it becomes necessary to move an electrical outlet. There are many reasons this may become necessary, but one of the most common situations is during the installation of a plasma television on the wall. Frequently this involves moving it to a higher level where it will be covered by the TV.

Step 1 – Cut the Power

Before working with any type of electrical outlet it is mandatory that you cut power. To do this, turn the breaker off that is connected to the outlet you will be working on. You can use a volt meter or a light that is connected to that breaker to test the outlet to verify that the power has been cut.

It's a good idea to wear electrical gloves for added protection.

Step 2 – Prepare the New Location

Place the new cut-in electrical box on the wall in the location where you will be moving the outlet to and draw a line around it using a pencil. Use the keyhole or drywall saw to cut this line out.

Step 3 – Move or Run New Wire

It is often possible to simply move the existing wire to the new outlet location. If this is the case for you, pull the wire up through the attic or down through the basement and move it to the new location. You will need to run a new wire from the existing outlet to the new outlets location if the wire is not long enough. If this ends up being the case, then you will need to strip off approximately one inch of insulation from the new wire and splice it with the old wire. To get a solid connection use side cutting pliers to twist the wires together and cap them off with wire nuts, and then run the other end to the new location.

If you will be moving into a different stud bay, then you will also need to drill a hole into the wall in the stud bay you are moving the outlet too. Use a drill and a 1-inch paddle bit to make the drill. Stick the wire out of the hole.

Step 4 – Install the Cut-In Box

Pull the wire through one of the wire feeds in the electrical cut-in box and mount it in the wall where you cut the hole. Tighten the two Phillips head screws in each corner until the wings catch the drywall, and pull the box tight and flush with the wall.

Step 5 – Install the Receptacle

Connect the receptacle to the wire. The black wire will connect to the copper or hot screw, the white wire will connect to the silver or neutral screw, and the solid copper wire will connect to the green or ground screw. Screw the receptacle into the cut-in box using the Philips screws which held it into the previous electrical box. Finally, put the cover plate on over the receptacle.

Step 6 – Mount the Blank Plate

Screw the blank plate into the old electrical box using the supplied flathead screws. Your outlet is ready! Plug in a lamp and turn the breaker back on to test it.

It's time to mount your new TV on your wall. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the clean look of hidden wires!