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Basic household electrical wiring question(16 posts)

Basic household electrical wiring questionPaulCL
Nov 30, 2003 4:21 PM
Sorry, not a political question or a picture of an obscene tree. Where'd ya get that one??

My wife wants me to build into our basement wall, a faux fireplace. A fireplace only for candles. Ok...ok...stop laughing. Sometimes you just shut up an accept it. Hey, at least I get to build it myself.

Here's the question. There is a plug and wiring right where I want to install the thing. The wiring has to be moved. Essentially, I need to lengthen the wiring so that it can move about 3 feet higher up the wall. I plan to install a plug into the top of the mantle that I am building for the fireplace. There is a second wire running parallel with the plug wire - it has to be lengthened also. I am an electricity chicken and novice. Is there a safe way to splice household wiring???

I plan to get another opinion on this from my neighbor who has completely wired a garage by himself. In fact, I will probably try to bribe him into doing this tiny job. I can handle the rest of the fireplace job.

Thanks Paul
Sure. Splice with plastic twist connectors.OldEdScott
Nov 30, 2003 6:31 PM
Piece of cake. Any handyman book will show you a picture. Don't be scared! Flip off the breaker!
Thanks....I'll check out a "handyman" book. nmPaulCL
Dec 1, 2003 6:48 AM
Dec 1, 2003 7:15 AM
What Ed didn't mention is that every splice must be in a box, not just behind the sheet rock. Boxes are cheap, blue plastic ones are about $1.50 at Home Depot.
I assumed he would do the splice in theOldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 7:30 AM
existing box. But since he's moving the outlet up three feet, yeah, he'll need a blue cut-in box for the new device. Those things are pretty nifty.

Here, here's a link about splicing wires. The little yellow thingies in the photo are the twist-on connectors I was referring to.
I'm w/Ed--done it several times bzzzt OUCH @#$#!Cory
Dec 1, 2003 9:36 AM
Seriously, if the job is as you've described, it's cake. Twist connectors will do it safely and easily. I'd still check the procedure in a book, though, because this isn't a place where you want to take short cuts or make mistakes.
One other caveat: If the house is old and/or amateur-built, the wiring may not have been done right to start with, and that can screw you up. Mine is both, and I find surprises everywhere I look.
I kind of like shocks. It's almost like ECT.OldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 9:55 AM
I'm a lot cheerier afterwards.

I DID stick my left temple accidentally against the hot bus of a service panel once (don't ask) and got a royal shock that was NOT so pleasant. 'Working hot' is one thing; working stupid is another.
don't do it yourselfDougSloan
Dec 1, 2003 7:23 AM
Have a qualified union contractor do it. Not only could you jeopardize your house and family's lives, but those of your neighbors, too. Plus, by doing it yourself, you are depriving a hard working union worker of income.

Self reliance.OldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 7:32 AM
Yours is the sorry, helpless, 'victim' attitude that has poisoned this country since the toxins of the Welfare State entered our national bloodstream.
that's fine, butDougSloan
Dec 1, 2003 8:00 AM
That all find and dandy in theory, but who will be the victims when your house burns down and kills your children and maybe the neighbors' children? Self reliance is fine if you can guarantee that only you will be affected. Again, you don't live in a vacuum. If you want to go live in Montana by yourself, have at it. Just try not to take out an entire forest when that self reliant wiring shorts out.

'Guanantee?' There are no guarantees in this life.OldEdScott
Dec 1, 2003 8:17 AM
The only 'guarantee' I know of is, 60 percent of my income will be stolen from me before I see it! And then I die!
Amen Brother! And then the death tax will take the rest (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 11:10 AM
Pearls before swine, Ed....Cory
Dec 1, 2003 9:32 AM
As a stand-up comic friend of mine used to say, you're too hip for the room.
53T is right, but a potential improvementpitt83
Dec 1, 2003 7:34 AM
Leave the outlet in the box you're stealing power from. Sounds likt the "second wire" you mention may continue on to other outlets and needs to be fed anyway. The "jumper box" is a good idea and makes the project simpler in the long run. You can jump off of the holes in the back of the outlet, or from the screws if the fed in uses the holes.

I assume you're running vertically only? I also assume this is an exterior wall with insulation? Makes the snake more difficult, but not impossible.

1.) Cut power to the circuit at the breaker box and be sure no one else touches that breaker.

2.) Cut the hole in the sheet rock for your new outlet.

3.) Punch a hole in your existing lower box where your new feed romex will eventually exit

4.) Use a snake (plumbing snake works well) up the wall to the hole you cut in step 2. You may need a helper to catch the snake. If insulation is in that wall, this won't be easy.

5.) Tape your new romex to the snake and pull downward to the box. Make sure the tape / romex / snake will fit into the bottom box.

6.) Strip the new wire and add the receptacle.

It's not that tough, but requires patience (especially snaking through an insulated wall). Remember black to black, white to white, ground to ground. I'm assuming this isn't a switched application or the complexity goes way up. 3-way (2 locations) switch or old wiring not to modern code are even worse, but do-able.
You've scared mePaulCL
Dec 1, 2003 8:08 AM
The wiring is on an inside wall without wallboard on one side. So, all of the wiring is exposed.

My gut is to have someone else do it. Why? Becuase I followed my own advice on wiring once and the result was not good. I didn't burn down the house, but I did cause a short that appeared many months later. Not knowing who did the original work, the electrician who repaired my handy work referred to the job as "faulty wiring" and a fire hazard. Oh wiring job was done in my infant daughter's bedroom. 'nuff said.

I'll do the very basic electrical work (new switch, plug, etc..) but this is beyond me. I'll feel better if someone else does it.

thanks. Paul
just make sure the power is off before splicing (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 1, 2003 11:08 AM