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yummy mummy 12-17-2006 03:09 PM

Can a diyer install electrical outlets?
Is it fairly simple to install electrical outlets for someone who has never done it before?

I need extra outlets in my basement that I am refinishing.
I have never done it before and was wondering if I researched and asked a "million" questions if it would be fairly straight forward?

Or should I consider contacting an electrician ( or someone who is experienced with doing this ) to put them in?

Thanks for any help.

Tscarborough 12-17-2006 04:19 PM

Things that can kill you should be left to those who are licensed. It is not that it is difficult, only that mistakes are very costly in terms of life and limb and liability.

KUIPORNG 12-18-2006 08:39 AM

It is pretty easy to install electrical outlets... You need to identify hot wire(usually black), neutral wire(usually white) and ground wire(usually bare/green) and do not mix them. then connect the three wires properly to the main panel, or stealing power from existing outlet(s)(make suring you are not overloading an existing circuit though)... All these are pretty straight forward. Just make sure you turn off the breaker before wiring and with a good hot wire tester( those sounded) and you are all safe... I did my basement all wiring and obtained my electrical permit. I am not a license electrician. I do purchased a HD electrical book to read through it before doing anything though...

Hiring electrician is quite costly. If you are going to do all other stuff in the basement for the sake of keep your cost down. I do not know why you couldn't do that either...

yummy mummy 12-18-2006 09:50 AM

I would like to learn to do it myself.
I would like to just run it from the wires as opposed to hooking up to the panel.

There is a demonstration at Rona and maybe I will attend that, and see if I can understand it.

When I had my house built, the contractor had one of his workers who is not a licensed electrician do all the wiring and then an electrician came to do the hook up to the panel, and of course it passed inspection.
I was thinking of getting this guy to do the wiriing ( if he does not charge me too much).
All I need is 6 extra outlets, and I would like to put in about 10 pot lights and the switches to turn them on and off.

KUIPORNG 12-18-2006 10:05 AM

I don't like to attend demonstration myself and I never did. It is time consuming and the guy may talk 2 hours and only 10 minutes of what he talked really interested you. To me reading a book is better as I can revisit it as many time as I wanted and sometimes I forget things. If you are going to do what you said. I strongly recommend to get the book which cost me approx $30 bucks.

Anyhow, this is just my opinion.

Now for what you want to do, which exactly part of what I did. You need to do this: find out the load map in your house. what I mean is if there are existing circuits you can still power in your house from. This may sound scarely, but this is actually what you need to do: normally the builder build an outlet in the basement for you. Find out the switch for such outlet in your panel, plug a light in the outlet, turn off different switch in the panel until you see the light got turn off. then usually find out if there is anything else got shut off with the light, if there is none, then you are lucky, that means that circuit only got one device and you can use it for what you describe above for the 6 outlets... you then need to do the same thing as above for the basement light the builder build it for you... for the pot lights you intend to install...

once you have existing circuits you can use... stealing power and installing outlets / pot lights,... is rather simple.

If you don't have existing circuits and need to install new breaker in the panel... don't be scare of that either... you just need to turn off the main switch and with a handheld light to do the hook up... I did that and it is not that difficult either... but I know... this sounds more scarely and people don't like to work in the dark...

snmhanson 12-18-2006 01:47 PM

Above all though make sure you completely understand what you are doing and always test the wires before touching them (buy a wire tester - they're cheap). Even when you think you have turned off the breaker you should test the wires. Just an example, I was replacing and rearranging some switches in a triple gang box once and I knew I had turned off the power to the switch I was replacing because the light for that switch had no power to it. Anyway, apparently wires from more than one circuit was run into that particular box and when I was moving one of the other switches I touched the back of it and got a nice reminder to always check for current :eek: . All sorts of stuff you never thought about can creep up and surprise you so the best thing to do is to take every precaution and make sure there is no electricity running through any of the wires you are working with as well as any of the wires around the ones you are working with.

With that said, reading and understanding a book about wiring can give you all of the basics for doing simple things like wiring switches and receptacles. Technically they tell you most of what you need to know to wire a whole house but I think that is better left for the pros.

Good luck,


yummy mummy 12-18-2006 05:03 PM

thanks for the information, but it does sound kind if scarey to me, unless I take the time to learn and check with someone that knows about it, then I don't think I will attempt.

But I really want to know how.
I will see as I go along.
Because this project is going to take me a while to do, what I was thinking was to add my outlets and put in insulation and vapor barrier as I finish one wall at a time, rather than finish the whole basement framing and then add the lighting at the end.

Maybe I will do some research and ask my usual million questions.

KUIPORNG 12-19-2006 08:06 AM

Before giving up, I suggest you to borrow a electrical book from local library, one with pictures. Once you read one book. I think you may change your mind that you will do it yourself.

yummy mummy 12-19-2006 08:17 AM

I think I will do just that.
I am going to read up on it, and if I am completely confused then I will give up.

My husband said that if I have a degree in psychology, then I should be able to understand simple electricity. (He encouraged me to try and research it first).

I will let you know.

smokumchevy 12-23-2006 08:38 AM

And please don't forget.........

- Your DIY 'cheapy' tester will probably give you false readings if you don't have a very good understanding of how a particular electrical situation/setup works.

- Everyone thinks its funny when you jump from getting a tingle, yet forget it only takes 5 milliamps to stop your heart dead.

- I've seen the smartest of people from other fields turn into idiots while trying to perform electrical work based on theory with no practicle experience. As well as the joe handyman perform well with only some mechanicle understanding.

Know your limits, if electricity doesn't scare you then you should not be playing with something you don't respect as a potentiial killer of you or your family, regardless if its 120v or 27kv.


yummy mummy 12-23-2006 09:09 AM

Electricity does scare me, that is why I am holding off on this.
But I do want to learn just on how to add an extra outlet or two.

If I ever do work on it, I would turn the whole power off from the main panel.

Thanks for the warnings.
I don't intend on getting in trouble with electricity, and will take all precautions.


AtlanticWBConst. 12-23-2006 03:19 PM


Originally Posted by Tscarborough (Post 27177)
Things that can kill you should be left to those who are licensed. It is not that it is difficult, only that mistakes are very costly in terms of life and limb and liability.

I 2nd this advice. Even as a licensed GC, I don't mess with electrical.

As mention, regarding liability; ... realize that if you attempt to wire your own home and something were to eventually go wrong (a short, or other wiring issue, nail going thru a wire because of no nailing plate, or wire too close to nailing surface of wood, etc, etc, etc...) Your home owner's insurance will not cover the damages....

My Opinion: Electrical re-wiring or actual wiring and installations in a home should not be done by novices or DIYers. (my opinion excludes minor outlet, light switch, light fixture, resceptacle ..... swap-outs)

yummy mummy 12-23-2006 06:54 PM

Thanks Atlantic for the advice.

But what I simply want to do is just add some extra outlets, without touching the panel or adding a new breaker.

I want to just borrow from existing outlets and run it through, without overloading the circuit.
I don't plan on doing anything that would require experience.

All I want to add is about 4 extra outlets.

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