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I would like to place my tv in between two outlets on my wall. The TV will be far enough from either outlet that I would need to run an extension cord which doesn't seem like a good permanent solution. To bring power where I need it, I would like to add an outlet between the existing two.

These outlets are on a finished, exterior wall (with the existing outlets and proposed new outlet on the inside). They are 12/3 Romex (best guess on gauge) and the outlets are all half switched. I believe that the two outlets I would like to add the new outlet between are in sequence on the circuit though I'm not sure how to confirm this before cutting the wall.

My plan was to cut the hole in the drywall for my new box and outlet and split the romex there for my new outlet. However, if I cut the romex there, it probably doesn't have enough slack to wire the new outlet and remain connected to the two existing outlets.

So what is the best way for me to add a new outlet in the desired location? I've seen plenty of tutorials on adding an outlet at the end of a sequence or off of one existing outlet but I haven't been able to find information on my scenario.

EDIT - Additional information:

  • The walls have a mud swirl finish that will be nearly impossible to match (as far as I know). Because of this, I'd really like to just add a box.

  • I do have attic access. Would it be better to run from the first outlet up to the attic and over and down for the new outlet and to reconnect the existing outlet?

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I would run up to the attic, over, and down. Unless you have basement access, it's the only way you'll do this without cutting up the wall. (I also value the absence of cords across my walls.)

  • Carefully disconnect all wires in one box, removing the outlet and all nuts. Take photos or make notes if you think you'll need them later.
  • Depending on the box type, remove it by cutting the nails with a small saw. A hacksaw blade in a Vice Grip plier can be useful. If it's a brown fiber box you can break it up with a plier. Remove the box from the wall completely while taking care to not damage your drywall. A couple layers of painter's tape around the opening are a good idea.
  • From the attic, drill through the double top plate in the same stud bay as the box.
  • Drop a new 12/2 cable down to the box opening, ideally in front of the insulation but behind the vapor barrier. An assistant is helpful here.
  • Cut a new hole behind your tv, sized for a remodeler (old work) box. Double check stud locations first. You don't want to have to notch a stud. If you mess up there, a sharp 1" spade bit will make quick work of the stud. Be sure to consider your tv mount location as well.
  • Drill through the top plates in that stud bay as well, and drop other end of the cable down.
  • Install remodeler boxes at both locations and install the outlets. Be sure to use a deeper box at the original location as it'll have many connections.

Be prepared to do some sweating and swearing, but for the aesthetically-minded homeowner it's worth it to have completely clean walls around a hanging tv panel.

  • I actually need an outlet lower down for the entertainment center (receiver, media, etc). Would you still recommend coming down from the attic to get to the normal receptacle height (a foot or so off the floor)? And to be clear, go up to the attic from the first outlet and then drop down from the attic for both of the other receptacles? – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 22:01
  • Yep. What do you mean both? One high, one low? In that case, yep again. – isherwood Feb 20 '17 at 22:03
  • I made a crude MS Paint diagram real quick: imgur.com/a/m8VFU. Is this what you're suggesting? In other words, leave the two existing outlets connected as they are and run a new wire from the end of the chain up into the attic and back over to the middle? (The word "both" in my previous comment refers to the existing receptacle and the new receptacle, that wasn't very clear). – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 22:12
  • Yes. I wouldn't disturb the wire between the two existing outlets with this plan. As you said, there's not enough length there. Now that I realize you meant a low location, though, I'd investigate whether you can pull from the existing boxes first. That may be an easier route. – isherwood Feb 20 '17 at 22:24
  • what would be the best way to do that? That's the part I'm kind of stuck on. – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 22:31
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The only reason not to use an extension cord is cosmetic. But if you must :-), then first verify the wiring in the wall is where you think it is. And if there's not enough slack, use the existing wire (after cutting) to pull a longer piece from your new box to the existing boxes and wire those new, longer runs into the existing boxes.

  • I suspected this was the answer. What's the best way to do this? Will insulation be a problem? How do I get the new wire into the old boxes? Or will I need to replace them as well? – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 20:30
  • I'm not being snooty, but rather cautious. I don't want you to get hurt, so: if you're not familiar with code (e.g. all wire ends must be wire-nutted and inside a elec. box) or with proper safety techiniques, I recommend you get a skilled friend or electrician to do this. – Carl Witthoft Feb 20 '17 at 20:41
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    The problem is going to be the staples at each box on the line you want to cut there is almost never a full foot of wire in a daisy chain and that would be the minimum extra length needed. I would open the wall where you want to add and you may need to open at one of the boxes , use the existing wire as a pull once the staple is removed. When making a splice to pull make sure the splice is not larger than the wire or it may not make through the holes in the studs. Pulling to the new location will provide the length plus some going to the next box. – Ed Beal Feb 20 '17 at 20:53
  • @EdBeal - The wall has a mud swirl finish that will be nearly impossible for me to match so I'd like to avoid opening the wall more than just for the box if at all possible. What staples do you mean? – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 21:04
  • @EdBeal - In all the research I was doing, no one mentioned the staples, probably because all of them involved adding a new, fished wire instead of replacing an existing one. Would it be better to disconnect the existing wire and fish a new one up to the attic to connect all the boxes together? – andycarlberg Feb 20 '17 at 21:16

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