How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot
Cabinet Contract Flowers Lightning Paintroller Teardrop Toolbox Pin Cross Search Search Arrow Thin Arrow

Wiring Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > Wiring Installation Guide
Wiring Installation Guide

Doing a simple, basic wiring job can be fairly easy, but playing with electricity should be left to the big guys – like a professional electrician. Here’s an overview of what you should consider and expect as you take on just one of the easier tasks.

 
  1. 1.Safety

    Whenever you do a job—any job – do it as safely as possible. In this case, start by powering-down, at the breaker box, the place where you’ll be doing the work. Don’t just take the off-switches word for it. Verify that there’s no electricity coming through by testing the wires. Use a neon tester or a volt meter to be positive.

     

    Some other precautions that you are going to need to use are having tools with a rubber handle, wearing rubber-soled shoes and taking off your watch and all other metal jewelry.

  2. Doing a simple, basic wiring job can be fairly easy, but playing with electricity should be left to the big guys – like a professional electrician.
  3. 2.One Example: An Outlet

    The most popular project that people tackle is switching-out a receptacle or an outlet. When doing so, get up to code by replacing the old one with what’s known as a ground fault circuit interrupter or a GFCI. That’s one of those new units with a reset and test button in the middle of the thing.

     

    Be mindful that you should never swap an ungrounded outlet with a grounded one if you can’t actually ground the unit.

     

    Let’s take-off the cover plate and unfasten the outlet from the wall. Now, disconnect the sets of wires. Most likely you’ll see a couple of black wires, a couple of white wires and one green wire.

     

    It also wouldn’t hurt to buy a good, understandable layman’s guide to electrical wiring.

     

    Lastly, not all wires are created equal. Usually the thickness in your home will be either 12-or-14 gauge. Safety code-wise there are two things to remember: Fourteen-gauge is the thinnest wire allowed; and never mix two different thicknesses together. The gauge needs to match.

     

    Anyway, the black ones are hot, the white ones are neutral and the green one is the ground. All of those wires will need to be connected. One wire at a time, wrap the strand, clockwise, around the correct screw on the new outlet.

     

    As for the other three wires, you want to strip-off enough insulation to make contact with the screws. The black wires will connect to the brass-colored terminal. The white wires will attach to the silver-colored terminal.

     

    By using the basic principles of good wiring, you’ll be able to tackle uncomplicated electrical repairs. But keep it simple. Unless you have an education that encompasses electrical engineering, best practice dictates that you call-in a professional.

     

    Some other precautions that you are going to need to use are having tools with a rubber handle, wearing rubber-soled shoes and taking off your watch and all other metal jewelry.

Find Electrical Wiring Installation Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 24 hours or less.