How To Add An Electric Line

12 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog

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Attempting to use an electric circuit that is powering many other electrical appliances will likely result in a tripped circuit breaker. You'll need to run a separate line from your breaker box.

What you will need

  • 20 amp breaker
  • 15 amp outlet and outlet cover plate 
  • "Old work" gang box
  • Wire
  • Wire cutter/stripper tool
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdrivers (flat and Philips head)
  • Drill with 3/8" bit that is 12 inches long

Preparing the outlet location

Place the open edge of the gang box against the wall near the floor and trace the outline with a pencil, then remove the box and cut along the outline with a utility knife until you have a rectangular hole.

Place the 12 inch drill bit into the opening on an angle and drill downward until you break through the floor inside the wall.

Push out one of the tabs on the bottom of the gang box and place the gang box inside the hole in the wall, then tighten the two diagonal screws to lock it into place.

You will then place the end of the wire sheath into the gang box and feed it through the hole created by the punch-out tab, then feed it into the opening in the floor inside the wall.

Running the wiring

This is the most difficult part of the project, and frustrating enough to tempt you to swear off both electrical work and ironing forever. However, with patience, it can be done. 

You will need to analyze the walls and floors between outlet and breaker box, and feed the wiring on the path of least resistance and withe the least amount of drilling.

If you find too many obstructions, you can always call an electrician like RDS Electric to save the day, but you can do it yourself with patience and planning.

At the breaker box

When you have reached the location of the breaker box, you will use the stripper portion of the tool to remove 1 inch of insulation from the ends of each of three wires in the sheath.

You will now turn off the main breakers to the house, so have a flashlight or cell phone flash ready if needed. After turning off the main breakers, remove the cover panel from the breaker box, then knock out a punch tab on the side of the breaker box.

Slip the wire sheath through and connect the white and green wires to the screw terminals on the white grounding bars inside the box. Connect the black wire to the single wire terminal on the 20 amp breaker. Punch out an available slot tab, then push the breaker into the slot until it clicks into place.

Replace the breaker box cover.

Connecting the outlet

You will need to cut the wire sheath at a point approximately 6 inches away from the outside of the gang box. Strip the ends of the wires as before, then connect the wiring to the outlet.

The black wire will be connected to the top brass terminal of the outlet, the white wire to the top silver terminal, and the green wire to the single green terminal.

When all terminal screws are tightened, push the outlet into the gang box and secure it with the two screws, then attach the cover plate with the single center screw.

Turn on the main breakers, then your new 20 amp breaker, and  try it out.