How To Replace A Single Outlet With A Double Outlet

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If you don't seem to have enough outlets in a room, consider converting a single wall outlet to double outlet. Installing a double outlet also prevents safety hazards like overloaded circuits and tangled cords. Here are some tips for changing a single wall outlet to a double outlet in drywall.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • voltage tester
  • pencil
  • screwdriver
  • wire strippers
  • wire cutters
  • wire nuts
  • needle-nose pliers
  • hammer
  • 12-gauge electrical cables (black, white, and copper or green ground wire)
  • double outlet box plate cover
  • dry wall saw
  • dual receptacle box 

Turn off electricity in the room you are working by flipping the breaker switch that controls the power to the area. If you are unsure of the right breaker, keep testing breakers. Run the voltage meter over the outlet you want to convert to ensure that no current is present.

Remove the Single Wall Outlet

Loosen the screws on the single outlet cover with the screwdriver to take off the cover, and pull the box away from the wall slightly. Unscrew the terminal screws on the side of the outlet.

Unhook the wires, then pull the box completely out of the wall. Since you only need to extend the existing hole, set half the dual box against the wall on the hole. Trace around the area with a pencil omitting the screw mount tabs, and cut the lines with the drywall saw.

Install the Double Outlet

Hold the screwdriver on the double outlet box's knockout hole, and hit the screwdriver head gently with a hammer to free the knockout hole. Insert the cable into the knockout hole of the double outlet box, and lock the tabs in place. Set the box in the wall.

Cut four six-inch sections of wire from the cables: one black (hot wire), one white (neutral wire), and two green or copper ground wires. Strip ½ inch of insulation from each end of each wire with the wire stripper. Hook one end of the black wire to the gold or brass screw, and hook one end of the white wire to the silver screw.

Hook one end of one ground wire to the copper or green screw of one receptacle. Twist them together into pigtails with the needle-nose pliers, then add a plastic wire nut to each pigtail.

Cut two more six-inch sections of black and white wire. Strip ½ inch of insulation from each end of the wires, then attach the black wire to the unused gold or brass screw and the white wire to the unused silver screw on the first receptacle.

Attach the other end of the black and white wire to the second receptacle, the connect loose wire from the ground wire pigtail to the copper or green screw to the second receptacle, then tighten the screws. Align the screw holes on the wall with the receptacle box, tighten the screws, then install the face plate.

Turn on the power, and test the double outlet. If it doesn't work, or you don't trust your skill, hire an electrician from a company like Doctor Cool.

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