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I'm looking to add a new receptacle for a TV. The nearest existing outlet is a new work metallic box nailed to the stud with barely room in the knockouts for a new piece of wire to go to new receptacle.

As luck would have it, the wire that feeds that existing receptacle runs right by where I want the new receptacle.

Can I cut the existing in-wall wire and make a splice with pigtails inside an old work receptacle box in order to add a new receptacle? If not, why not?

My concern would be insufficient length in the wire I cut, but the wires I put into the new receptacle would be pigtails so perhaps that's not an issue.

If this isn't an option, is the best practice to remove the existing new work metallic box with a plastic old work box, that would give me more room to add a piece of Romex going up to the new receptacle?

I can look to add photos but hopefully the description is sufficient. Location is Michigan, USA.

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3 Answers 3

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In rare instances like this, I have added two junction boxes about 14 inches apart and two outlets instead of the one I needed. I cut the existing wire so there was enough wire going into each box and added new wire going new box to new box. I did this to avoid removing/modifying existing boxes that would have done damage to existing walls. Plus, there's never enough outlets for entertainment systems nowadays.

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  • Could you say more about this please – wouldn't the two junction boxes need wall plates? Is this representation what you're describing: imgur.com/a/8JKj9jo
    – user118412
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:27
  • @user118412 Yes, it's what I'm trying to describe, two new junction boxes, two new duplex outlets and two new wall plates.
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:09
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By the time you cut the cable and put the ends in the new box, you might have 1/2 inch of wire to play with.

What I would do is tie something to the cut cable and pull the cable out of the old/further away box and pull a new longer cable though.

This should give you plenty of wire/cable in the new box to connect the new outlet up.

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    Just to rephrase to make sure I've understood the suggestion. 1. Cut the existing cable closer to the existing outlet (to give me more length to play with). 2. Feed the existing cable into the new outlet box 3. Disconnect and pull out the cut cable going into the existing box 4. Add new cable with sufficient length from the new outlet to the existing outlet
    – user118412
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 12:55
  • Perfect. Now just as as long as the cable can be pulled you should be good.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:24
  • The problem is that there are two types of existing cable - the ones installed when the building was built that are stapled or otherwise secured in various places (minimum, near each box, but also possibly every few feet on a long run) and cables added later which will be loose (and pullable). Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:16
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Hopefully the electrician was kind enough to just drill though studs and only staple near the box. Thinking this is a horizontal run instead of vertical.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:33
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You can add a splice in an electrical box. That's what they are there for.

However you need to worry about box fill. This limits how many wires you can have entering the box.

If your existing box isn't large enough to add 2 conducting wires and a ground then you will need to replace the box with a larger one, or find a different place where you can do the splice.

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