As part of our butler pantry project, we needed to add a new outlet for our beverage cooler (for more info about our butler pantry project watch the blog in the coming weeks). Currently, there is an outlet in our pantry, but it will be above the counter once those are installed. We didn’t want to put a hole in the countertop just to be able to plug in the beverage cooler plus we wanted the outlet to use above the countertop for other things. The only reasonable solution was to add an additional outlet below the countertop for the beverage cooler. Since there is already an outlet within the same stud bay it will be easy enough to draw power from that outlet and create a new one.
Tools & Supplies
Always check your local building department to determine if a permit is needed for any electrical work. Electrical codes can limit how many outlets can be on one run, how many wires can enter an electrical box, different rules for kitchen or bathroom areas, etc. Always work with the power switched off at the breaker box and use a voltage tester to make sure the power is off.
Step 1 – Shut Off Electricty
First, turn off the electricity by identifying the correct breaker and switching it off (you can use a lamp/fan/radio that is plugged into the outlet to identify the correct breaker). Identify the studs on the left and right sides of the outlet from which you will be drawing power. Trace your old work box where your new outlet is going to go making sure it is between the two studs identified. Cut out the hole using a drywall saw. Unscrew the existing outlet and punch out one of the knock-outs at the back of the box.
Step 2 – Feed the New Cable
Make sure that you use the correct electrical cable (14/2 or 12/2) by matching the color of the cable to the cable on the existing outlet. 14/2 electrical wire goes with a 15-amp circuit and 12/2 goes with a 20-amp circuit, which can be identified on the breaker you switched off (see the numbers on the breaker box in the picture above). Next, feed the cable through the knock-out holes, through the wall to reach the new box leaving a bit of extra wire.
Step 3 – Rewire the Existing Outlet
Strip the outer plastic sheathing from the new cable to expose the black, white, and copper wires. Next, connect the new wires to the existing wires using wire nuts, or the screws on the plug. Replace the existing outlet in the work box and replace the cover.
Step 4 – Add a New Outlet
Mount the old work box to the opening that was cut out, making sure that the wire goes through one of the knockouts. Secure the work box to the drywall by turning the screws that hold it in place. Strip the outer plastic sheathing from the new cable to expose the black, white, and copper wires. Next, connect the wires using wire nuts, or the screws on the plug. Next, place the new outlet in the box and secure it in place, then attach the cover.