Is It Possible to Change the Location of an Electrical Outlet?

Most of the time, the existing electrical outlets in your Seattle home are sufficient to meet your daily needs. However, if you’re making a major change to a certain room in your home, the location of a specific outlet may no longer work for you. To fix this problem, you have a few options. One option for a temporary fix is an extension cord. However, extension cords aren’t designed for long-term installation. The best option, then, is to move the outlet. Whether you take on this project yourself or have a professional electrician do it for you, moving an outlet is fairly straightforward.

Be Careful With Location

When moving an outlet, location is key. If you simply move the new outlet directly above the existing outlet, everything should work out. However, you may run into a cross-brace between the studs that could cause some problems. Depending on the location of the wall in your home, you could also run into electrical cables, insulation, or even concrete block.

Therefore, if you’re unsure of what’s behind the wall in the location where you want to put the outlet, make sure to test it first so you don’t run into a time-consuming surprise. Additionally, you’ll want to check the local electrical codes to ensure your new outlet’s placement doesn’t break any rules.

Test Using Multiple Methods

When moving an electrical outlet, make sure the power is disconnected using two different methods. The last thing you want to have happen is for a fairly simple project to turn into a life-threatening emergency.

The first step in all of this is turning off the power to the outlet at the circuit breaker. Hopefully, you have the circuit breaker labeled. If not, you’ll need to turn off various breakers until you find the correct circuit. You can check to make sure you’ve got the right one by plugging something into the outlet and then checking to see when that device turns off.

Once you’ve checked the power with this method, it’s also a good idea to use a voltage tester. By measuring that the reading on this tester is zero, you can be extremely confident power isn’t running to the outlet you want to move. This lets you know you can proceed with your project safely.

Know Which Wire Is Which

When you’re running the wires to your new outlet, it’s important to know which wire is which so you don’t cross any wires and cause a short. In a typical residential setup, the black wire is the “hot” wire while the white wire is the “neutral” wire.

The uninsulated copper wire is the ground wire that helps prevent electrical shocks. Make sure to match the new wire you’re running through the wall with the existing wire, and then attach those wires to the correct points on the new outlet.

Dual Receptacles or a Faceplate

Moving an outlet to a new location can essentially be thought of as adding a branch to the existing outlet. In other words, the new outlet location is “sharing” power with the wires that run to where the outlet was originally located. This means you have a decision to make after you’ve installed the new outlet. One option is to leave the existing outlet in place so it can continue to function as an outlet.

The other option is to put a faceplate over the junction box to effectively remove the outlet from the circuit. If you think you might need both outlets at the same time at some point in the future, it might make sense to leave both outlets in place. However, if you’re going for a cleaner look, cover up the existing outlet.

The Right Saw for the Job

When you’re cutting the hole for the new junction box, it’s important to have the right tool for the job. The best tool for cutting through drywall is a drywall saw. This saw features a sharp point so you can poke through the drywall to get the hole started. Once punctured, drywall is fairly easy to cut. However, initially getting through the drywall can be quite difficult without the right tool. Plus, a drywall saw has a sharp serrated blade that bites into the drywall and makes your job easy.

Keep in mind that cutting drywall creates a lot of dust. Therefore, you’ll probably want to have a vacuum running while you make the cut so dust doesn’t get everywhere. Another crucial thing to keep in mind is that there may be wires behind the drywall where you’re cutting. A drywall saw can easily slice through these wires, causing major damage. Therefore, use shallow strokes when using the saw so you only cut the drywall.

Be Careful Not to Overload

Anytime you add a new outlet, it’s important to think through what you plan to use the outlet for. For example, if you’re moving the outlet in order to mount a television, that outlet will be permanently occupied. Therefore, if the items you’re plugging in are high-draw devices, you’ll need to be careful to avoid overloading the circuit when you need to power other devices in the future. Ultimately, it may be necessary to have an electrician install a separate circuit for the devices you need to power so you can avoid any problems.

Don’t Risk It

Working with electricity can be dangerous. The key to staying safe is to respect its potential for harm so you take all of the necessary precautions. Ultimately, though, if you don’t feel confident in a particular project involving electricity, your best bet is to have an electrician do the job.

Beyond completing a project for you, an electrician can take a look at what you’ve already done to ensure it was done correctly. They can also provide pointers to help you successfully and safely complete projects in the future. When it comes to electrical projects, there’s no shame in asking for help.

Taking on Projects Big and Small

At Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning, there’s no project that’s too big or too small for our electricians to take on. Whether it’s something simple, such as moving an outlet, or something complex, such as rewiring an entire home, Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning can get it done quickly and affordably. We can also help improve the comfort of your home with our HVAC services, including the repair, maintenance, and installation of furnaces and air conditioners.

On top of that, we can install water heaters and indoor air quality improvement systems to ensure you’re comfortable and healthy in your Kirkland home at all times. This holistic approach to home services is what has kept us strong for over 20 years and is why we consistently receive five-star reviews from our customers. For more information about upgrading your home’s electrical systems, contact us at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today. We want to be your one-stop-shop for all your home improvement needs.