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Video:How to Wire and Install an Outlet

with William

Wiring and installing an outlet is something you can do on your own. This video will show you how to get an outlet up and running.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Wire and Install an Outlet

Hi, I am William with About.com and today I am going to show you how to install an electrical outlet.

Tools for Wiring and Installing an Outlet

The tools you will need are:

  • a wire stripping gauge
  • needle nose pliers
  • a utility knife
  • a voltage detector
  • and a screw driver

Instructions for Wiring and Installing an Outlet

Before beginning any electrical installation you must first turn the power off to the circuit on which you will be working. Don't assume the circuit is dead. Test it using a voltage detector. It's not uncommon for a breaker box to be labeled poorly or inaccurately. When your sure the circuit is dead you may proceed. If your installing an outlet for the first time on recently wired new construction, you will need to strip the outer covering of the Romex wire to about six inches. Using a utility knife make the cut in the center of the wire where the ground wire is located and make a shallow cut. You don't want to nick the insulated wires on either side of the ground.

More Instructions for Wiring and Installing an Outlet

Two or more outlets are usually wired in series on the same circuit. If the outlet you will be wiring is the last in the circuit, then only one Romex wire will be present. Now, carefully cut the excess sheathing and paper from the wire. For the wires to make electrical contact with the outlet, you must expose the tips of the black and white wires by removing the wire insulation.

Using a wire stripping gauge remove about 3/4" from the ends of each wire. Look closely and make sure you are selecting a setting that will cut the insulation without biting into the wire. The ground wires will need to be twisted together leaving one end extended to connect to the outlet. The ground wire will either be bare as in our example or covered in green insulation.

Tips for Wiring and Installing the Outlet

Using your stripper gauge or needle nose pliers bend the ends of wires into a hook shape to loop around the screw connections of the outlet. Bend the wires in the direction that the screw will turn to tighten. Some outlets are labeled where the black and white wires should go. If not then the black wire or wires will connect to the brass plate and screws. And the white wire or wires will connect to the silver wire or screws. Connect the ground wire to the ground screw connection.

Before pushing the outlet into the box make sure the wires will fold easily and that there is enough room for the outlet without pinching the wires or stressing the wire connections. Using a screwdriver fasten the outlet to the box alternating between the top and bottom screw so as not to bend the metal end of the outlet or strip the screw hole in the outlet box.

Putting on the plate cover is easy but be careful not to screw it down to tightly because the plate will crack very easily.Now that we are done, it's time to turn on the power and check the new outlet with the voltage detector. It should read about 120 volts from the hot to ground and from the hot to neutral. If so, your done.

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