How to Extend a Wall Electrical Outlet

What You'll Need
Outlet extension kit
Wire stripper
Extension faceplate
Exterior panel
Hand drill
Wiring box

Sometimes an electrical outlet is positioned in such a way that it does not work for your needs. Maybe an appliance or an electrical component that cannot be moved won’t quite reach the outlet. Or, your house contains floor electrical outlets that you wish were higher up a wall. Whatever the problem you are facing, there are ways to solve it. Extending a wall electrical outlet is not the same as simply plugging a power strip or a multi-outlet unit into an existing plug. That is certainly one option, but you can also physically extend the outlet, without cutting a long hole in the paint, plaster, and drywall.

Step 1 - Prepare to Start

At the main circuit panel, shut off the power to outlet. That may mean you have to shut off power to an entire room, but it is for safety. Then, with a screwdriver, remove the faceplate of the outlet you wish to extend.

Step 2 - Add the Extension Wiring

The outlet extension kit should contain three component wires: white, black, and bare copper. Strip back several inches from the jacket of the white and black wires. On the existing outlet there should be a silver screw and a gold screw, and on the existing wire box there should be a green screw. First, attach the exposed white wire to the silver screw then the black wire to the gold screw, making sure that they are securely fastened. Lastly, attach the bare copper wire to the green screw.

Step 3 - Run the New Wiring to the Extended Location

If the three wires are contained in a larger jacket, run it to the new location. If not, they must be contained. Make sure you give yourself enough slack to comfortably wire the new outlet.

Step 4 - Secure the Faceplate Over the Existing Outlet

The existing outlet will need a new faceplate to accommodate the new wiring. An outlet extension kit should contain most of the pieces for the faceplate; otherwise, you might need to purchase one separately. Make sure it can properly be screwed into the wall while at the same time allowing for the new wiring to lead out of it.

Step 5 - Install Electrical Outlet

The new electrical outlet will not be inside the wall. Instead, it will be attached to the outside. Affix an exterior metal plate to the wall with screws. To this you will attach the exterior wire box, but before you do, run the three wires-in-one into the new wire box, connecting them in the same order as before: white to silver, black to gold, and copper to green.

Step 6 - Affix the New Outlet and Faceplate

Once the new outlet is wired, secure it inside the already-secured wire box, carefully tucking the new wiring inside. Attach the faceplate to the new wire box; then, using tacks or large staples, fasten the extension wire to the wall or baseboard, making sure it cannot be easily tugged free.

Return the circuit breaker for the outlet or room to the ON position and test the extended outlet to make sure it works properly. Warning signs that it is not include dim lights or poor reception for televisions or radios.

As long as you are satisfied with having an extended outlet outside of the wall, this is an easy method to install one. Your other option is to tear into the wall and extend the outlet through the studs to create another in-wall outlet.