How To Wire An Outlet

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Wiring an outlet is a fairly straightforward process that can be completed in less than 30 minutes and will save you the cost of hiring a professional electrician.

However, all homeowners should have a basic knowledge of electricity and electrical circuitry before attempting this task.

In this article, we will discuss the steps it takes to install an outlet from start to finish so that you can rest assured that you are doing it right.

Here's all you need to know. 

Turn off the power to your home's breaker box

Before you begin wiring the outlet, you need to make sure that the power is off at the fuse box.

Understand that if you don't put the main breaker in the “off” position, there is a chance of getting shocked with electricity while working on your home electrical system. 

How to Wire Electrical Outlets and Switches
Image Credit: http://thespruce.com

By turning off the power, you are ensuring the safety of everyone in your home and will prevent an accidental fire from occurring.

Start by running the wire that carry power

After you've flipped off the main breaker, you'll need to run the electrical wires that will carry power from your fuse box and through your walls. Run a pair of 14 ga or 12 ga wires from your breaker box to where you want to install the new electrical outlet.

Set the faceplate and attach the electrical box to the wall

Once you have the wires run, it's time to mount your outlet. In this case, we'll be using a single outlet for a lamp or small appliance to plug into. 

Use an electrical box that will fit the size of wire that you're running. It should be noted that if you plan on installing more than one outlet at one time, then you need to use two-gang boxes.

Don't try to use just one larger gang box — it won't work.

Next, attach your box to the wall. It is not recommended that you mount an electrical box directly to drywall since it may not be as strong as metal studs; however, if this is all that's available use at least two screws in addition to the plate cover below. Just make sure that when using plastic anchors (and screwing into drywall) that no part of the screw or anchor breaks off under interior paint/coating and remains embedded in drywall.

Connect your wires to the outlet and screw it in place

The last step is to connect the wires to the new outlet, including a ground wire if applicable, then attach the entire assembly onto the box you installed above with provided screws. Note: Before installing an electrical outlet, make sure that your power is still off. 

At this point, you're almost done. At this point, turn on the main breaker again. When you flip that switch back on, there will be a flash as your light comes on; however, don't worry — nothing will catch fire or explode because of electric shorts since both ends of each wire are intact and secure.

Turn on the main breaker and test your work

After you flip your main breaker back on, make sure everything is working correctly by turning your new outlet (or multiple outlets) on and watching to make sure that no sparks fly from the connection points. Once certain things are working properly, cover up any exposed wires with wire nuts or electrical tape. Now you've successfully installed an outlet in your home. Be sure to repeat these steps for each additional socket that you install so that all areas of your house have power.

Wiring specific appliances

There are certain situations where it pays off knowing how to hotwire specific applications. For example, knowing about hot tub wiring is valuable to a large percentage of individuals who are doing DIY stuff at home. This is due to the fact that you may be in a position where you need or would like to hotwire your electrical system with deep cycle batteries and solar panels.

Hot tubs require the same wiring as swimming pools

A common misconception is that you don't have to turn off your main breaker when working on hot tub wiring; however, this isn't true. It costs more money if you flood your home while applying workarounds that could have been avoided by simply turning off power from the breakers. Whether you are learning how to install an outlet for light or an emergency backup generator – always make sure power is turned off before beginning any work on your electrical system.

Consider the fact that specific appliances might also have different parts that should be tested to ensure they are working correctly. 

For example, testing your water heater element is a particularly important skill to know before you buy a new one. If you stumble across a broken element or find out that the thermostat isn't working, then you can decide whether to invest in a new water heater or not based on your personal preferences.

What is the difference between a switched outlet, an unswitched outlet, and a GFCI?

Switched outlets are for devices that run constantly while plugged in, such as lamps or computer equipment. Unswitched outlets can be used for any appliance that you might turn on or off occasionally, like a toaster or your TV. Remember: never plug an ungrounded device into a GFCI outlet.

What is the difference between high-left and low-right wires?

If you take apart an outlet you will see these two wires attached to each screw terminal. The left wire (which leads up to the side of the outlet above the topmost hole) feeds half of whatever's plugged into this socket; meanwhile, the right wire sends power down to everything else through one other opening at the lower right. It's a simple way to add extra sockets in a room without requiring new circuit wires.

How would you wire an outlet for your pool and spa?

Once you have all the necessary tools at hand, it's time to get down to business. The first step is connecting the conduit (black PVC pipe) that will carry power from the breaker panel of your house directly into your water heater. Simply place your hole saw bit into your drill and make sure that it fits snugly into the pipe — you don't want any gaps between the drill and the conduit because those will cause overheating near your electrical connections further below. It's also important to note that cutting plastic conduit with a hole saw bit heats up fast, so simply hold the conduit in place with a clamp and make sure you have thick gloves on to protect yourself from the heat.

Wiring a Duplex Receptacle
Image Credit: http://finehomebuilding.com

Just like plumbing, electrical wiring is a specialized skill that requires constant practice as well as relevant education. If you want to create and maintain pools that work perfectly with your home's wiring, then it pays off knowing how to install outlets properly. You should be able to locate your breaker panel easily — all major panels are at least 2'x2′, though not all of them are painted or labeled.

Final thoughts on how to wire an outlet

In conclusion, it is important to know how to wire an outlet. A home electrical wiring job can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. An error in the main panel or a loose wire connection at an outlet can trip the breaker and cause a fire that damages your house and possibly burns down your house. 

Electrical fires can also start in kitchen cooking appliances, clothes dryers, and water heaters. These fires can cause severe burns or even be fatal, depending on the circumstances.

By being aware of the hazards that exist in your house and by using a little common sense you can avoid most electrical problems.

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin has been a household enthusiast for a long time and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also is an avid writer, who enjoys composing everything from blogs to articles. Kevin has been writing professionally for 5 years now, with numerous topics and niches covered.

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