How to Install a 20 Amp Electric Outlet

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How to Install a 20 Amp Electric Outlet. If you are installing an outlet where you may have a high current device like a kitchen, 20-amp receptacles are essential. They are generally used to power anything that generates heat and most small appliances. You can tell a 20-amp outlet from a 15 amp by the horizontal slot in one of the two vertical slots of the plug.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Drywall saw
  • Electrical box
  • 12-2 wire with ground
  • 20 amp outlet
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape

Box and Wire Installation

Determine the location where you wish to add an outlet.

Use a stud-finder to mark a location in the center of two studs for your outlet.

Cut out a hole that is the same size as your electrical box using a drywall saw.

Drill a hole through the floor using a flexible drill bit. The hole is used to get the wire to the breaker panel.

Pull 12-2 cable with a ground wire down from the outlet to your breaker panel. Do not connect the wire to the panel yet.

Push the wire through the back of the electrical box and then place the box into the wall. Once the box is in the wall with the wires hanging out of it, secure it in place by turning the screws located in the corners that open wings to secure it.

Sever the wire hanging out of the box so that about 6 inches remain.

Outlet Installation

Remove the outer jacket on the cable exposing three wires: a white, a black and a bare copper ground wire.

Strip the jacket off the end of the black and white wires. The outlet will indicate how much to strip on its backside.

Bend a small hook in the end of the exposed ground wire and attach it to the green ground screw on the outlet.

Make a hook in the white and black wires then connect the white wire to the silver screw on the outlet and the black wire to the brass or darker colored screw on the outlet.

Shove the wire gently back into the box and attach the outlet to the box using the screws that came with the outlet.

Cover the new outlet with a cover plate.

Attach the other end of the wire into the breaker panel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with your local electrical codes or in the National Electrical Code book to verify that you are following code when installing your outlet.
  • You may incur additional steps routing the wire to the breaker panel depending on your own situation and where you are adding the receptacle.
  • After attaching the wires, it is a good idea to wrap a layer of electrical tape around these connections on the outlet as a shock preventative.
  • If you are unsure how to perform any of these steps, a licensed electrician should perform this job for you because working with electricity is very dangerous. You can be killed or start a fire very easily.
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