Electrical Wiring An Outlet | Complete GuideGet rid of those unsightly and frequently hazardous extension cables. If you already have an electrical outlet on the opposite side of the wall, you may install a new outlet fast and easily without breaking open a wall. No more holes. No need for a messy fix and repaint.
Many of the fundamental methods used in wiring electrical switches and outlets (officially referred to as receptacles) are the same. The circuit wires that will end up connecting to the device must be properly prepared and secured to the appropriate terminals in order to make connections that are both secure and long-lasting.
Make sure the electrical current to the circuit you are dealing with has been turned off at the home's breaker panel before beginning any electrical component maintenance. Before continuing, make sure the current has been turned off using a multimeter or other equivalent equipment. Before starting, educate yourself on safety.
Remember to make use of a voltage tester on all the wires to verify that the power is off before touching any exposed wires or terminals on a switch or outlet. Make a call to an electrician for advice on safe connections if your wiring is ancient and fabric-insulated. This type of outlet wiring typically lacks a ground wire and makes it difficult to distinguish between the hot and neutral wires because both are covered in black insulation.
Talk to an electrician on Video Chat a Pro before you begin to make sure you are following all safety steps and procedures. Get electrician help to ensure you wire the electrical outlet correctly. If you do not feel comfortable completing your own electrical repair contact a local electrician.
Screw Terminal ConnectionsThe usage of screw terminals, which are normally found on the sides of the device body, is the accepted best practice for attaching circuit wires to a switch or receptacle. To connect securely and safely using screw terminals:
Stripping and Bending The WireUtilizing wire strippers, remove roughly 3/4 inch of insulation from each circuit wire. It's possible that the ground wire is not insulated. Using needle-nose pliers, bend the wire's exposed end into a hook- or "U"-shaped form.
Attaching the WireEach wire's hook should be placed over the proper screw terminal so that its end is on the right side of the screw. Make sure that only the bare metal of the wire comes into touch with any component of the screw; the wire insulation should be near (but not underneath) the screw. With needle-nose pliers, tighten the hook around the screw's shank.
Tightening the screwUse either a Phillips screwdriver or a square recess screwdriver, depending on which one fits the screw the best, to tighten it clockwise. The hook is wound around the screw in a clockwise direction, so tightening the screw further shuts the hook. The wire should be held securely below the screw head by a very tight screw.
Wiring OutletsThere are two ways to wire an outlet receptacle when it is situated in the midst of a circuit line, with other outlets "upstream" and more outlets "downstream."
The incoming wires can be wired to the receptacle's one pair of hot and neutral screw terminals, and the outgoing wires can be wired to the other set of screw terminals. In this design, the metal linkage inside the plug itself serves as the circuit's only source of power.
This facilitates relatively simple connections, but it has the disadvantage that if the receptacle malfunctions, the downstream component of the circuit also fails since no current can pass through the receptacle. Because of this, professionals almost always wire outlets using the second technique, wherever available.
The second way to wire middle-of-run outlets is by using "pigtails" to attach them to the circuit wires. A pigtail is a brief section of wire that connects the circuit wires, which are linked together in the outlet box using a wire connector, to a hot or neutral screw terminal on the receptacle.
The pigtails only tap into the hot and neutral lines to supply the outlet because there is a complete pathway flowing through the electrical box to the circuit's downstream half in this layout. If the receptacle malfunctions, the circuit pathway to the outlets and fixtures below the receptacle remains intact.
About PolarityThe safety mechanism that keeps the energy flowing in the right direction includes polarity. The "hot" wires in a normal domestic electrical circuit are black circuit wires (and occasionally red), which transport electricity from the source to the switch or outlet. After the energy has passed through all of the fixtures or devices in the circuit, it returns to the home's service panel (breaker box) through the white wires, which serve as "neutral."
While wiring a receptacle, attach the black hot wire to one of the hot bronze-colored terminals to preserve appropriate polarity. Connect one of the silver-colored neutral terminals to the white neutral wire.
The wires that are attached to ordinary switches are both hot. If there are neutral wires in the electrical box, they can be connected to one another without using a switch by using a wire connection. Attach the circuit's ground wire (bare copper or with green insulation) to each switch and outlet's ground screw.
Appropriate ConnectorsFor "stab-in" connections, many switches and receptacles feature holes on the rear of the device's body. When the wire's stripped end is placed into the hole, a spring clip inside the hole secures the wire.
For a stab-in connection, high-quality gadgets contain screws that can be tightened after the wire has been inserted. It is okay to use these gadgets since they provide a secure connection. These screws are frequently absent from inexpensive devices, therefore the connection is solely dependent on the tension of the spring inside the hole. This makes the connection of this kind unsuitable.
Use the conventional side screw terminals in place of the stab-in connections if a device lacks screws for fastening the connections.
Three-way switchesA light fixture or outlet can be controlled by a three-way switch from two distinct places. These switches contain one "common" wire and two "traveler" wires. Marking the common wire on the previous switch before removing the wires is the secret to replacing a three-way switch. Since each traveler wire may be connected to either traveler screw terminal on the switch, the traveler wires don't need to be labeled.
Attach the identified common wire to the switch's COM terminal, which is often bronze or a dark color, to complete the wiring for the new switch. Both of the other two wires should be connected to a terminal on the light-colored traveler.