How to Wire Electrical Outlets

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 14:00

Well, I was really hoping to have new decking to show you today.

Step 1 Diagram
Step 1

But the weather turned on us halfway through our decking project .... and one thing we know about living in Alaska is you have to pick your battles, and taking on Mother Nature rarely works out for us.

So we decided to put our decking project on pause, and move inside.

As much as we want to start throwing flooring down and putting trim up, building kitchens and closet systems, there's one thing we decided we should do first.

Step 2 Diagram
Step 2 Instructions

Install the electrical outlets.

Not nearly as fun, but it has to be done at some point, and having power accessible throughout the finishing stage will make work much more convienent and efficient. And once we put flooring down, we'll have to be much more careful about protecting the floor.

Hiring an electrician can be as much as $100 an hour, so as much as we dread installing the hundreds of outlets throughout the Momplex, DIY is the answer.

Step 3 Diagram
Step 3 Instructions

First step is to go down to the electrical panel and flip the breaker for the circuit that we are working on.

Step 4 Diagram
Step 4 Instructions

Even with the breaker flipped, you can double check with an electrical tester to make sure the circuit is dead.

Step 5 Diagram
Step 5 Instructions

Then we gather up tools. A drill isn't necessary, but when you've got a few hundred outlets to put in, can save some time. We use wire strippers, wire cutters, and a screwdriver.

Having a stool will save your back. It's been two days of steady electrical outlet installation up at the Momplex, so sitting at the right height can really help.

Step 6 Diagram
Step 6 Instructions

We've got the wires all neatly tucked inside the boxes following the drywall finishing stage. The wires are all pulled out of the box.

<p><a href="; target="_blank">Remember this?</a></p><p><img src="…; alt="" style="height: 705px;" /><br /></p><p><br /></p><p>Last winter <a href="; target="_blank">we already stripped the </a><a href="; target="_blank">romex&nbsp;wire</a> so we are one step ahead here.</p>

Step 7 Diagram
Step 7 Instructions

So the romex wire is stripped and three wires are inside the boxes.

The bare copper wire is the ground. The black wire is the hot, and the white wire is the neutrel.

Step 8 Diagram
Step 8 Instructions

The ground is neatly placed back inside the box, with just a little left out.

Step 9 Diagram
Step 9 Instructions

And then it's time to work on the white neutrel and black hot wires.

Step 10 Diagram
Step 10 Instructions

The Ram strips off the protecitve plastic coating at the end with the wire strippers.

Step 11 Diagram
Step 11

And then uses the wire strippers to make a hook shape with the exposed end.

Step 12 Diagram
Step 12

White neutrel wire done ....

Step 13 Diagram
Step 13

And the same is done with the black hot wire and the copper ground wire.

Step 14 Diagram
Step 14

The black hot wire is hooked around the gold (or brass) screw.

If you are wiring your own outlets, note that your outlets may be different from the ones we are using and you should read through manufactures instructions.

Step 15 Diagram
Step 15

Hook the wire so that the open end of the hook is to the right so when you tighten the screw, it tightens the wire down. 

Tighten the screw.

The second screw is also a hot and can be used for daisy chaining multiple outlets together according to your electrical plan.  Here, we just have a single black wire, so this screw can be simply tightened.

White is neutrel and pairs with the silver screws.  As we did with the black hot, the white neutrel is hooked around the silver screw

And then the screws are tightened down, securing the wire to the outlet.

The bare copper ground wire goes to the green screw.

The ground wire is hooked around the green screw and the green screw is tightenend.

Then the outlet is secured to the box with screws.  

And then the face plate is screwed on over top.

One down ......

A few hundred to go!

Where's my "I'd rather be decking" shirt?


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