How to Install an Outlet in a Suspended Ceiling


A suspended ceiling has the advantages of hiding pipes, ductwork and cables. Suspended ceilings, also called drop ceilings, are accessible from both the bottom of the ceiling and the top, making the installation of lighting and electrical outlets relatively simple.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal electrical junction box
  • 5/8-inch raised plaster ring
  • 15 or 20 amp duplex outlet
  • 2-foot cross bar support brace (designed for suspended ceiling gridwork)
  • Support strap
  • Plastic duplex cover plate
  • Utility knife
  • Turn off the circuit breaker. Run an electric flex whip or BX feed to the location where the outlet will be installed. This should be done by a qualified electrician or someone with electrical construction competence.

  • Locate the 2-by-2 foot or 2-by-4 foot ceiling tile where the outlet will go. Remove the ceiling tile and the one next to it. In the tile that the outlet will be installed, cut a square the size of the raised plaster ring using a construction utility knife with a sharp blade. The cutout can be a bit bigger than the actual rectangular box configuration. Cut the tile from the face side so you don't mar or chip the finished face. Re-install the ceiling tile with the hole in it.

  • Connect the BX whip with a connector as required by the box, working from the other tile opening. Attach the raised plaster ring with the two screws provided. Attached the support brace from the inside of the box. These are adjustable. Position the outlet box and ring so they fit into the cut hole. Extend the support arms and attach them to the ceiling grid work. The box is secure.

  • Install the outlet working from below. Attach the hot wire (colored) to the gold outlet screw, attach the ground wire to the green ground screw on the outlet and attach the white neutral wire to the silver screw on the outlet. Screw the outlet to the raised ring with provided screws. Attach the cover plate. From the access hole made by the other removed tile, support the BX whip with an approved strap to the ceiling or a solid structure above the suspended ceiling. Re-install the other ceiling tile. Turn on the breaker.

Tips & Warnings

  • Electrical work should be attempted only after turning off circuit breakers.

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