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Electrical Wire and Cable

Switch Outlet Wiring for an Old House

I’m installing an outlet off of a wall switch. I have no white wire to hook up to, how can I do this? How to Install Home Electrical Wiring for a Wall Outlet.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
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Identifying Electrical Switched Outlet Wiring
[ad#block]Electrical Question: I’m installing an outlet off of a wall switch. I have no white wire to hook up to. This is a very old house and I can’t get the outlet to work.

This electrical question came from: Rietta, a Handy-Woman from Michigan.
See more about Home Wiring for Michigan

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Rietta.

Electrical Wiring for a Wall Outlet

Application: Adding a 120 Volt Outlet.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be added and the access to the location for the new outlets.
Precaution: Identify the existing outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done through the local building authority, installed according to applicable local and national electrical codes, with a permit, and have the required inspections.

Installing Electrical Wiring for a 120v Outlet

More about Wiring Outlets


Wiring a Light Switch
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Electrical Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

This link is helpful as a Handy Woman
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Switch Outlet Wiring for an Old House”
  1. river says:

    I installed about two feet of white Romex brand wire to install a kitchen plug. After I installed the wire I found out that I should have installed 20 amp plugs instead of 15 amp plugs. Can I just change out the plug, or do I need to change the wire too? Can I just change out the plug or do I have to change the wire too. I was going to change just the plug but I am worried now about the wire too. It would be hard to change out the wire now. Is it OK to use the 20 amp plug or should I just leave it all alone, or what do you suggest I should do. Calling an electrician is not an option for me. To change the wire I would have to tear up the wall again. Everything is working fine now, I am just concerned that I did something wrong. Thanks River

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi River,
    Adding a Plug Outlet to an Existing Circuit
    When adding a plug to an existing circuit the additional wire should match the existing circuit wiring type and wire size or gauge. The same is true for the amperage rating for the plug, where the specification should be the same throughout the circuit. This will ensure the integrity and safety of the circuit.
    The Amperage Rating for a Receptacle Outlet
    Note: It is acceptable to install a 15 amp rated outlet on a 20 amp circuit, but it is not acceptable to install a 20 amp rated outlet on a 15 amp circuit.
    Mixed Wire Sizes and Circuit Amperage Ratings
    If it is found that a circuit has more than one rated wire type within the circuit, then the circuit breaker must be rated the same as the smallest wire type or amperage rating. It is best not to mix wire types or wire sizes within one circuit.
    Be Safe,