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How to series: Moving an outlet

When installing electronics, such as a wall-mounted flat-screen television, having a plug in the wall directly behind them allows you to hide the wires rather than let them hang down the wall. Whether you refer to it as a plug, receptacle or an outlet, if it is not in a location that is convenient, you can always move it. The electrical code does not restrict the location of interior wall plugs, allowing you to move an electrical plug up a finished wall to a more convenient location.

Tools and materials needed:

  • Light or radio

  • Noncontact voltage tester

  • Screwdriver

  • Single-gang electrical remodel box

  • Jab saw

  • Tape measure

  • 12-2 nonmetallic electrical cable

  • Wire cutters

  • Hammer

  • Assorted electrical hole rubber grommets

  • Cable ripper

  • Wire strippers

  • Orange wire connectors

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Blank wall plate


  • Working with electricity can cause shock, burn and even death. Taking a few precautions can help keep you safe. Wear rubber-soled shoes when working with electricity, and use rubber-gripped hand tools. For extra protection against shocks. Always turn off the breaker to the circuit you are working on, and tape a note to the panel box to remind family members you are working on the electricity, warning them against turning on the breaker. Test each wire for electrical current using a noncontact voltage tester before touching any electrical wires. You must make sure the current is off, and it is safe to continue with your project.


  • Turn off the circuit breaker to the plug you want to move up the wall. If you are not sure which circuit breaker supplies electricity to the plug, simply plug a light or radio in the wall plug, turn the light or radio on and proceed to turn off each 15-amp and 20-amp circuit breaker until the breaker turns off the light or radio

  • Unplug the light or radio from the wall plug. Place a noncontact voltage tester against the plug. The tester will sound an alarm and light up if electricity is still present at the wall plug.

  • Remove the single screw holding the wall plate to the wall plug. Take the wall plate off the wall. Take out the two screws holding the plug to the top and the bottom of the electrical box.

  • Loosen the screws on the plug holding electrical wires. Pull the wires off the side plug. Set the plug aside.

  • Mark the height for your new electrical plug on the wall above the original plug. Place the template that came with a single-gang electrical remodel box over the mark you placed on the wall. Trace the template onto the wall. If your box did not come with a template, you can place the opening of the box against the wall and trace around it.

  • Cut the drywall along the traced line with a jab saw. The design of the jab saw allows you to push the end of the saw through the drywall, and, with little effort, cut a hole in the wall for the new plug.

  • Measure the distance between the original plug location and the new location. Add 12 to 18 inches to your measurements to account for your wiring connections. Cut a length of 12-2 nonmetallic electrical cable to equal your measurement using wire cutters.

  • Feed the cable up through a precut opening in the top of a plastic electrical box in the wall. If the original box is made of metal, you must create an opening in the box before feeding the cable up the wall. Place a screwdriver against the circular depression at the top of the electrical box. Strike the screwdriver handle with a hammer to knock the metal disk from the box. Insert an electrical hole rubber grommet into the opening to protect the electrical cable from the sharp metal edges.

  • Push the electrical cable up the wall until you see it appear at the new opening in the wall. Push the cable through one of the precut openings in the remodel box.

  • Insert the box into the opening in the wall. Tighten the two screws in the lip of the box to clamp the remodel box to the drywall

  • Insert each end of the 12-2 nonmetallic electrical cable into a cable ripper. Squeeze the handles as you pull the ripper from the end of the cable. The ripper splits the exterior sheath open to expose the three electrical wires inside it without damaging the wire’s insulation. Cut the loose sheath from the cable with the wire cutters

  • Remove about 3/4-inch of insulation from the each end of the white and the black electrical wires using wire strippers. The remaining bare copper wire is the ground wire and does not require insulation.

  • Match the two white wires together, the two bare copper wires together and the two black wires together inside the original box. Twist an orange wire connector onto each set of wires. Attach a single-gang blank wall plate to the original electrical box using the two screws provided with the blank plate.

  • Create small hooks in the ends of the three wires inside the new wall box using a pair of needle-nose pliers. Hook the black wire around the black or copper terminal screw on the plug, the white wire around the sliver terminal screw and the bare copper wire around the green terminal screw along the bottom of the plug. Tighten the three terminal screws.

  • Attach the plug to the new box with the two screws that you removed from the plug when you removed it from the original plug. Attach the wall plate to the plug. Turn on the circuit breaker to provide electricity to your relocated plug.

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