I have a friend who knows very little about home improvement, and when he is in a jam he calls on me to help get his project off the ground. Sometimes he even lets me do the job from start to finish instead of getting it part way done, and then bailing on it because it was too complex.
So what I have been trying to do is to educate my friend as we go through these projects by having him be my helper while I am working there. This theory has not worked for me so far since I have learned he does not want to go on the roof and help fix a leak for he fears heights, and he does not want to hold the voltage tester in the electrical panel box since he is afraid of electricity, and lastly he does not want to be in the room when the fireplace log set is tested since he is afraid of getting blown up.
Not sure how he gets those girls who come to his house to light the fire! I would love to hear that dialogue, my friend goes “hey honey would you please light the fire I have to go to the bathroom, and if you cannot get it call my friend Mike since he left instructions on the coffee table with his phone number.” I hope the girls think he is cute.
so anyhow back to our story of installing a Ground Fault Electrical Outlet into a wall where there once was none. First thing I usually do is to figure out where the nearest panel box is to the wall or area where you would mostly prefer the new outlet to be. My friend was certain of the location since he had bought a used freezer and wanted that to be located on the wall he picked for the outlet.
So far so good since there were no other items in that wall to interfere with wiring. No water pipes to worry about, no existing wires to avoid, it was picture perfect. The nearest panel was about 15 feet away with a drop ceiling to run the wire through. Last but not least there was an empty breaker in the panel with no other circuits connected to it. I was so excited because this almost never happens like this for me!
The outlet I chose to use was a $15 GFCI outlet found at any hardware or home supply type stores. The term means Ground Fault Circuit Interruption, and it can literally save your life in the event something goes wildly wrong with your electrical system or appliance that you have connected to the GFCI.
Marking the desired spot on the wall I used a jigsaw to cut out the perfect rectangle that was just slightly smaller than the outside of the plastic junction box I selected for the job. Next I ran the house wire which is 12 gauge with two conductors and a ground. This is a fairly standard wire size to use for this kind of outlet. The wire was then attached to the GFCI, which was placed into the plastic box after I had inserted it into the hole in the drywall that I had made previously.
The wire was then attached to the joists in the ceiling and routed over to the electrical box. Once the power was off to the entire box I removed the panel cover. This allows access to the breakers for wiring. I ran the wires through a knockout hole in the side of the box using a fitting that holds the wire in place and prevents it from rubbing on the sharp edges of the hole after you knock it out. Next I connected the white wire to the “Neutral bar” and the Ground to the “Ground bar” and the black to the screw terminal on the breaker.
Now with nothing plugged into the new outlet I put the panel cover back on, and put power back into the panel. Next I turned on the new breaker to the new GFCI outlet and i checked it with my voltage and circuit testers. Next I set and reset this outlet by pushing the black then the red buttons a few times each to “Cycle” the outlet on to off then on.
With all of my tests done it was time to connect the freezer, and it turned on and started cooling right away!
This model GFCI comes with a small green LED that lets you know when the power is on to this outlet. If there is something wrong then this light will go off! For this reason I aligned the outlet so that it would be visible once the freezer was in place. This has been working for about a month now with zero complaints.
Many of you would be surprised to learn exactly how easy this job is to do. The GFCI outlet comes with complete instructions as to how it is wired, and the rest you can learn from reading my articles, or searching the Internet.