The Great Coat Closet Remodel Project – Outlets and Switches and Romex, Oh My!

In my last post, I showed you the latest progress in The Great Coat Closet Remodel Project. I had installed the electrical boxes and drilled holes to run the Romex. As it turns out, I had forgotten that 12/2 NM is not quite as flexible as 14/2. When I started running it, I immediately encountered difficulty trying to bring the NM into the boxes. The holes that I had drilled were too close to the top of the boxes. So I had to drill a couple of new holes several inches above the boxes, to allow better clearance for manipulating the NM.

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I ran one end of the NM up to the switch box …

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… and the other end through the corner studs …

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… and across the interior wall to where the junction box will be installed.

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Where the NM ran vertically along a stud, I attached it with Romex staples.

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With the Romex in place, I was ready to install my two GFCI outlets. I stripped the outer sheath from the Romex, and then stripped about 3/4″ off the black wire and white wires.

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First, I took an extra length of ground wire and, using my needlenose pliers, made a clockwise hook at the end.

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I slipped the hook around the green ground screw on the outlet, and tightened the screw to lock down the wire pigtail. Tip: If you make the wire hook clockwise, it will lock the wire down securely when you tighten the ground screw.

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Next, I needed to connect the ground wire pigtail to the line (incoming) ground wire and load (outgoing) ground wire. This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to use my push-in wire connectors.

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They were pretty straightforward to use – simply push the wires securely into the holes of the connector. The connectors in the multipack that I bought came in different sizes, for two, three, or four wires. I used a three-wire connector for the three ground wires. I used my needlenose pliers to help push the wires in fully.

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I decided to use the push holes on the back of the outlet rather than the terminal screws. I connected the incoming black wire and white wire respectively to the hot and neutral inserts marked LINE on the back of the outlet. I tightened down the screws securely. I then connected the outgoing black and white wires to the LOAD inserts, and tightened the screws. I gave all the wires a good tug to make sure that they were securely fastened.

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I then folded the wires back into the electrical box and screwed the outlet into the box.

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I then repeated the procedure with the other outlet.

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With the outlets installed, it was time to move on to the switch. First, I needed to run another length of NM from the switch box up through the ceiling joists to where the pot lights will be installed. I secured the NM with more staples.

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Unlike outlets, switches usually don’t have push-in connections. I used my needlenose pliers again to make clockwise hooks in the black line and load wires.

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I attached the line and load wires to switch terminal screws and tightened them securely.

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I created another ground pigtail and attached it to the ground screw on the switch. I used a three-wire push-in connector for the line, load, and pigtail ground wires, and a two-wire push-in connector for the line and load white neutral wires.

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With all the wires tightly secured, I folded the wires back into the box and secured the switch with the provided screws. Before I install the switch and outlets plates, I will use my level to make sure that all three are level and plumb.

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Here are the outlets and the switch, installed and wired, just waiting to be tied into the incoming power.

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Next, I will install nail plates over the studs through which the NM passes. Then, I will be ready to install the rest of the insulation along the outer wall.

Progress!

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