Your outdated home is likely short on electric outlets if you have not had an electrician do some updating. If you are like a lot of people who are pretty handy with tools and wiring, you may assume that piggybacking a new outlet off of an existing one should be a simple job that you can handle. However, running a new outlet from the wiring of an existing one can be a lot more complex than you anticipate. Here are a few of the most common mistakes homeowners make when trying to install a piggyback electrical outlet.
Mistake #1: Inadvertently interrupting electrical current to other outlets or fixtures.
Older homes are especially known for being wired in unusual ways. You may have an outlet that you would like to tap into, but this one outlet may also be a piggybacking source for other fixtures in the house. Therefore, if you add on another wire, you could easily interfere with the flow of electricity and see some other electrical feature stop working, such as a light or a different outlet. If you pull open an outlet to find that it has several unknown wires connected, it is best to just leave it alone. Even further, if you find one outlet like this, it is likely that your whole electrical system needs an update.
Mistake #2: Using the wrong size of electrical wire to run the new line.
If there is one thing an electrician will tell you, it is that not all types of electrical wiring are created equal. Different wiring types are rated for different amp loads. For example, some wiring is capable of carrying 15 amps of current safely. If you just head to the hardware store and grab a roll of wire because you think it looks like what you need, you could make a costly mistake that will leave you with a fire hazard buried right in your walls. You need to know the wire amp capacity and how much current is being delivered by the circuit to get this one right, and if you are unsure, it is always best to leave it to a professional.
When it comes down to it, even something that seems as simple as installing another outlet can get complicated really quick. If your outdated home is lacking in outlets, talk to an electrician who will likely install a new one for you professionally for a much better price than what you expect.