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Old 01-16-2011, 08:11 PM   #1
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


I just wall-mounted a TV, and now need to hide the wires. There is an existing power outlet on the same stud directly below where I want to add a new one, about 6 feet above and behind the TV. My question is, exactly how do I connect the wiring between existing and new outlet? The existing outlet appears to be in the middle of a circuit as I can see both an incoming and outgoing wire connected to it. Can I just run a single romex line up to the new outlet, or do I need to make it part of the same circuit, instead of just branching off. I.e., do I need to run two romex lines...up to and back from the new outlet, then disconnect the "outgoing" line from the existing outlet and connect this to the return wire from the new outlet? I hope that makes sense...thanks for any guidance on this.

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Old 01-16-2011, 08:14 PM   #2
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


The new outlet is a surge protector type, if that makes a difference.

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Old 01-16-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


First you will have to flip the circuit breaker off for it, then second you will have to pull some romex to the other outlet. If 20 amp, it will use #12/2 romex, if 15 amp, it will use #14/2. As for getting it into the bottom outlet, you would need to cut a hole in the drywall above it to allow you to place into the box, so you can connect to the feed in that outlet. If you have never worked with Electric, suggest reading through the NEC regarding Branch circuits in section 200, and also you can pick up a copy of Black & Decker's Complete Guide to Home Wiring (2008 version is last one published, May this year they publish the ver. that corresponds to the 2011 NEC).
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
First you will have to flip the circuit breaker off for it, then second you will have to pull some romex to the other outlet. If 20 amp, it will use #12/2 romex, if 15 amp, it will use #14/2. As for getting it into the bottom outlet, you would need to cut a hole in the drywall above it to allow you to place into the box, so you can connect to the feed in that outlet. If you have never worked with Electric, suggest reading through the NEC regarding Branch circuits in section 200, and also you can pick up a copy of Black & Decker's Complete Guide to Home Wiring (2008 version is last one published, May this year they publish the ver. that corresponds to the 2011 NEC).
200 has nothing to do with branch ckt.210 has branch ckts.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


I didn't have it pulled up at the time, and yes, I could have just stated Chapter 2, but yes, 210 is the correct section.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:44 PM   #6
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


I don't have access to the NEC, but researched branch connections on numerous web sites, and found that I don't understand the terminology enough to confidently interpret it for what I'm trying to do. Can anyone that does understand it tell me if it is OK to just run a single run of wire from the existing outlet to the new outlet? I'm comfortable with all other aspects of running the wire through the and making the connections...I just want to make sure I'm making the right connections.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


Yes, as I have already stated it is okay. Only catch 22 is, how many outlets are on that circuit already with stuff being powered on it, and what amperage is it. That is the only catch 22.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


The size of the box(in CI) is another factor to consider.
Adding another wire may overfill that box, by code.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


Greg, thanks for the clarification, sorry if I misunderstood...I just wasn't clear if a single run to the new outlet was OK vs. running two wires to connect the new outlet in series with the other outlets on the circuit. Aside from this TV and its accessories, there are two desktop computers on the same circuit. It is currently plugged in outside the wall so it doesn't appear to be overloading the circuit.

jbfan: the existing outlet box appears to be a regular outlet box--not sure of the terminology for it. It currently has just the one wire coming in and one going out. Seems to be plenty of room for another wire. Do you think that could be a code violation?
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #10
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


Inside the box, stamped to the box, will be a ci rating, and some boxes tell you how many wires will fit.

If you have # 14 wire, the each black and white wire will count as 2
All grounds will count as 2
The device will count as 4.
2 whites=4
2blacks=4
all grounds =2
The receptacle =4
For a total of 14 cu inches of wire.
Adding anothe cable will add 4 for a total of 18 cu inches.
Most nail on boxes are at least 18 cu inches.
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Last edited by jbfan; 01-17-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:04 PM   #11
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How to tap into an existing outlet to add a new one?


If you look in the back of a plastic box it will have a marking to show the number and sizes of conductors allowed. It should also show the cubic inch capacity of the box.

Two 2 wire cables (4 counts) + a device (2 counts) + 1 ground = 7. Adding another 2 wire cable would take you to 9. #14 is 2 cubic inch per conductor, #12 = 2.25. Using #14 you could fit this all into a 18 cubic inch or larger box. This is assuming a single gang plastic box with no clamps.

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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