If there's a better forum for residential and commercial electrical supply
wiring questions, please forgive and inform.
I want to expand a single duplex outlet to dual duplex outlets. If this were
a romex type wire job, it would be a no-brainer. But this is a small office
building with metal conduit entering and leaving the box, so besides it being
nailed to the framing member behind sheet rock, the conduit makes it pretty
hard to remove the box and install another.
How can I do this? I thought of adding another box to the side of the
existing one with a close nipple between and just routing the wires to the
new box. Cover the old box with a blank plate and put the duplex outlets in
the new box.
That's my current plan. Any suggestions to the contrary?
The existing box should be a 4"x4" square box with a single gang plaster
(p)-ring. Acquire a 4"x4" double gang p-ring. After (turning off the
power) and removing the existing receptacle, center the double gang p-ring
over the the opening and pencil around the perimeter of the p-ring. Take a
razor knife and cut out the drywall on the pencil marks. There will be two
screws in the corners of the box catty-cornered from each other.....you'll
have to dig the drywall out from around them. Remove the screws and the
single gang p-ring, then install the double gang p-ring and mud around it.
If you are careful a regular size double duplex receptacle cover plate will
hide everything, if not use an oversized one. Be careful..........if you
see more than one circuit in the box, be sure to de-energize those circuits
also before working with the neutral.
Yes, this would be the way to go, but if the object is to have more places
to plug in lightweight office equipment, then the cube would be a lot less
troublesome and less expensive, and be more effective and provide more
outlets, as long as there was no intent to plug in window air-conditioners,
and other heavy duty appliances. The cube would provide 3 outlets to the
one, and in the case of a duplex outlet, would provide 6 places to plug
into. The cube can be purchased at your local hardware or Home Depot store.
Seeing how it was the local fire inspector who was attracted to our use of
our extensive use of extension cords and power strips, I don't think he'd be
amenable to this solution.
He said to provide more outlets for direct plug-in of equipment.
Adding another box alongside the original should be fine and meet Code.
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By installing one more outlet fed off of the existing one you just install
the "expender" in to the wall, it will hide from inspector, but it the
essence it is not any better solution. Providing more home runs would be the
real fix to the fire inspector (if he does not like expender).
Well, theoretically yes, but practically no. Fire inspectors don't like
lots of extension cords. They can heat up, short out, get kicked, all
sorts of abuse that cannot happen to wall wiring, regardless of the
overall circuit load.
If indeed you created a rats nest of wires, then I doubt that even this
device will help as you have stated that you are to install a new receptacle
NEXT to the existing one. You might need more circuits/outlets in different
locations. Have you considered wiremold or Plug mold.
http://www.wiremold.com/shared_content/pdf/ed1025.pdf This is what I use
for my office.
Once upon a time in Prescott AZ there was a fireman who ran an electric
space heater on an extension cord across his daughters bed. The cord caught
the bedding on fire and he was heralded as a hero because he installed a
smoke detector in the bedroom. I heard about it on the news and called the
fire department and suggested that the guy get sent to electrical 101
training again. Since he was supposed to be trained not to do these things.
It is not my intention to be condescending. I am trying to help and
sometimes my thoughts and my text are not the best of fellows.
Sorry if I have offended.
The simplest solution that is not a 6-way tap (not the best solution,
though- that would require adding a circuit and a new receptacle adjacent to
the current one) would be to replace the duplex receptacle with something
like Leviton part no. 1254-I which is a 4-in-1 receptacle which attaches to
the same mounting ears as the original, but which is equivalent to having a
double duplex outlet connected to the existing wiring.
Outlet expanders: Presuming this is in North America.
Yes; usually only a few dollars (even the protected ones) and
while the ground pin is common, even if the outlet is 'split'
i.e. different 115 volt 'poles' on top and bottom of the existing
outlet, the expander will (at least the ones I've got) give you
three outlets from the top of the duplex and three from the
But since the clutter of AC wires in the area of the outlet will
be the same what's wrong, especially with 'normal' office loads,
with with an outlet bar, possibly incorporating a small circuit
breaker and/or voltage protection. Quick, cheap, an easy to do
and portable solution.
Just a side note: Be aware that electrical code prohibits "hidden or
concealed junction boxes", therefore if you add a double box and then want
to cover the original single one with sheetrock/paneling (instead of just
making it wider) then that violates code.
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