It's a problem that many a DIY electrician has run into a time or two: You want to move an outlet, or add a new light to a room, but the wires on your current circuit just aren't long enough. Does that mean you have to rewire the entire circuit? Fortunately, no. Savvy electricians can splice wires together, safely adding the length they need to reach their destination. Read on for some tips on getting started.
Safety First is the Electrician's Code
The first step that you need to take when performing any electrical work on your home is to turn off the power, either to the specific circuit or to the entire house. Use a non-contact voltage tester to double check that the electricity is actually off before you ever touch a wire.
Next, you need to have junction boxes anywhere you wish to splice wires together. Junction boxes come in various sizes and are required by municipal building codes to help keep the splice safe. Ask at your local hardware store if you need help figuring out which junction box will work best for your particular project. Finally, before you get started, make sure the wires you are splicing have the same gauge and number of wires so they can easily transfer electricity from one to another.
Splicing the Wires Together by Color
When you're ready to splice the wires, strip about five inches of casing off the ends. Then take off about half an inch of plastic coating, leaving the ends of the wires exposed. If your junction box isn't already set up with clamps, you may have to install some into the openings on the opposite ends of the box using pliers.
Next, pull the wires you want to splice through the clamps so the exposed ends are inside the junction box. Pull them far enough in so the clamp closes over the wire casing. At that point, you can twist the wires together with their counterparts-- make sure you match colors, and twist the ground wires together as well. Use wire nuts to secure the twisted ends.
And that's that -- all that's left is to attach the cover to the junction box and secure it to a joist or rafter. Test out your new connection and you should be all set to wire in whatever fixture or outlet you need.
When You Need to Call an Electrician
Remember, electrical work can be tricky, not to mention dangerous if not performed correctly. If you aren't comfortable working with your wiring yourself, don't hesitate to have an expert do the job instead.
If you need help with your home wiring, call a qualified electrician today.