Do I need an electrician to add an outlet?
If you’re doing any sort of home renovations that require electrical work, such as adding or replacing an electrical switch, then you might need to add an outlet (also called electrical plug, electrical socket, etc.) in some of your rooms. The main issue is that electrical work can be complex and complicated to perform. With that in mind, you might wonder, “Do I need an electrician to add an outlet?”
In order to answer this question, you’ll probably want to know some of the basics of an outlet or electrical panel, a smart outlet, electrical circuits and voltage, outlet grades and special wiring, and other important topics.
Unfortunately, this info is usually spread out all over the internet. Because of that, we’re going to cover all of it in this one article. Scroll down to learn the answer to the question, “Do you need an electrician to install an outlet?”, as well as many other important questions and answers for installing outlets yourself at home.
Can I install an outlet myself?
First things first: Can you install an outlet yourself?
Here’s the short answer: Yes, you can install an outlet yourself at home.
The longer answer involves some knowledge of your home, electrical work in general, and the tools and hardware you have available.
Adding an outlet yourself at home, and the specific way that you do it, could depend on a few things:
- The existing hardware and circuits at home
- Electrical work already in your house
- Your working knowledge of electricity
- Tools needed to add an electrical outlet
Once you know what you have, you can get started on determining the best route for installing an electrical plug in your own home.
Keep in mind that installing anything electrical by yourself can be extremely dangerous and may result in injury or worse. Please always contact an electrician before trying to do any work on the electricity in your own home, condo, apartment, or any other building.
Do I need a circuit installed to add an outlet?
For most modern homes, you should be able to use the existing circuits when you install a new outlet, often by splicing the wire into the new plug installation. To be sure (and safe), you should always contact an electrician first.
How much does it cost?
In Columbia, South Carolina, and surrounding areas, electrical outlet installation cost runs from roughly $90 on the low-end, all the way up to more than $330 on the high-end. The median cost is about $160. You might be able to save a little money by getting the parts and attempting to do it yourself. But, if you end up damaging the wiring, it could cost you a lot more than if you just hired an electrician instead.
How many outlets do I need?
Generally speaking, a contemporary bedroom will have 1 outlet for every 12 feet of wall space, with a minimum of one outlet on each of the walls in the room. Have an electrician come by and take a look at the rooms where you want new outlets installed. A professional will be able to tell you how many outlets the room needs and exactly how to get it done the right way.
What type of electrical outlets are there?
There are a whopping 8 different types of electrical outlets that can be found in homes in the United States of America:
- Standard 20 Amp-125 volt — This is a standard wall plug.
- Heavy duty/20 Amp-250 volt — These are “heavy duty” outlets for major home appliances, such as washers and dryers.
- GFCI — Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets. Best used for outlets that are close to water in places like kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas.
- AFCI — Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets. Used to prevent “heat arcing”.
- Duplex — These are your typical outlets, with one outlet on top and one on bottom, for a total of 2 plugs. A “two-duplex” outlet has double: two plugs on top, and two on bottom, for four total outlets.
- Smart — Have the ability to connect to the internet for extra functionality, often through the use of smartphone apps.
- USB — These plugs also have USB-connectors built into the outlet itself for easy charging.
- Rotating — Can be rotated to find the right orientation to plug in
What are the different grades of outlets?
There are 3 different outlet grades that you should be aware of:
- Homeowner Outlets — Intended for residential use in homes where devices do not need to be constantly turned on. Typically last about 5-10 years.
- Commercial — Intended for commercial use in locations that have devices that need to be connected to electricity constantly. Can last up to 100 years.
- Hospital — Intended for use in medical environments where devices cannot be allowed to shut off. Only used in residential spaces when someone needs medical-grade equipment in the home.
The only grades of outlet that you will likely use at home are Homeowner and Hospital. Homeowner grade outlets are intended for everyday use, while Hospital grade outlets can be installed if you have someone with special medical needs and equipment residing in your house.
Do USB/Smart outlets require special wiring?
No, you do not need special wiring when installing USB outlets or smart outlets. They can usually just be connected to your existing wiring and electrical circuit.
As you can see, there are several different grades and types of electrical outlets. Each of these has its own unique advantages, and the one that you choose will depend on your current and future needs.
That being said, installing an electrical outlet at home, while it can be done, is nearly always something that you should hire an expert for. Dealing with wiring can be tricky and delicate, and it requires knowledge of how electrical circuits work.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “Do I need an electrician to add an outlet?”, then we highly encourage you to hire a locally trained professional from Rytec Electric to do it for you. We can get it done safely, quickly, and affordably. Call or email us today to get a free quote and have your new outlet installed right away.