Adding a new receptacle

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Steven Palmisano, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Steven Palmisano

    Steven Palmisano New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Florida
    Please...need some help.

    I am trying to add a receptacle in my garage. The easiest run is to come off a light that operates a two way switch, tie in and drop the line from there.

    Here is where I don’t know what to do. Inside the box there are 3 white wires tied together with a leg going to the light, 1 Red with going to the light and 3 black wires tied together wire nutted (is this a word?) off. Do I tie the new run to the (white and red,) (white and black) or (red and black)?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    From your description, and that is all we have to go on, the red wire aappears to be the switched wire to the light, so you would NOT connect to it, unless you want the switch to also control the receptacle. Where is the "hot wire" to the switch? You probably want to connect to the black and white wires, but again, without seeing it that is just the most common way for it to happen.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,832
    Location:
    New England
    If you have a meter, with the light off, measure between the black and the white wires. If there is a constant 120vac there, it is hot all the time and not switched. Keep in mind that any receptacle in a garage must be GFCI protected to meet code, so if not already protected, your outlet needs to be a GFCI device. Also note that there is a box fill requirement, and adding another wire into that box may exceed the current code...you may need an extension to meet codes. This would screw onto the existing box and lower the light a bit, if required. The alternative is to break out the existing box and install a larger one (if needed to meet the max fill rules).

    There may be a terminology problem...is there one or two switches that control that light? If only one, the above info should work, but if it is two, all bets are off.
  4. Jeff1

    Jeff1 New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    So Cal
    A couple other items of interest: Is there a ground wire in the mix somewhere? Can you see if one of the black wires goes to the switch with the red wire or are there more lights on this switch? Be sure to shut off the breaker before starting any work unless you really like that tingling feeling and don't mind medical bills.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,239
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    The "easiest run" may not be as it appears. There is a limit to the number of wires which can be in a box and it is dependent on the wire gauge and the size of the box. Depending on where things are located, it may also need to be installed in conduit.

    Without seeing how the existing system is wired, we would only be guessing as to how best to add a receptacle that is safe and meets the minimum code requirements.
  6. Steven Palmisano

    Steven Palmisano New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank You everyone, I appreciate your help. I think I will call an electrician on this one. Best to All!
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