How to Install Electrical Outlets in Unfinished Basement

If you are like most people, you probably don’t think about the electrical wiring in your home until something goes wrong. And if you are renovating or remodeling your home, it’s one of the last things on your mind. But when you are finished, you’ll be glad you took the time to install some new electrical outlets in your unfinished basement.

How to Install Electrical Outlets in Unfinished Basement

Before planning, make sure your local codes allow a new circuit in the area. You may or may not need a permit from the city to complete the work, but check with the building department to determine any local regulations that may apply.

This will help you ensure your finished basement is safe and ready for use. Make sure to turn off the main circuit breaker before you begin. So, this article is for you. You will learn how to install electrical outlets in unfinished basement with just one simple trick!

Required Tools for this Project

  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Outlet tester
  • Electrical tape
  • Screws
  • Wire stripper

Step to Follow on How to Install Electrical Outlets in Unfinished Basement

Step One : Mark Out the Outlets

The first thing that you will need to do is to mark out where your outlets are going to go. You can use a string along the wall, but I find it easier to use a chalk line. Next, make sure you get an electrical tester and ensure there isn’t power wherever you are planning to put the outlets.

I’m not trying to scare you, but this is a difficult step and if you don’t know what you are doing, have someone who does come over and help you out. If you do not feel comfortable doing this step alone, you can skip it. It will cost more money to get someone else to come in and help you, but if you are afraid of making a mistake with electricity, I would recommend it.

It can be hard to tell where to place your outlets in an unfinished basement because the studs are not in yet. An excellent way to fix this problem is to find a spot on the level wall and measure up how tall it is from the floor. Then when you go into the utility room, you can mark off or drill holes in the studs, so you know where to put your outlets.

Step Two : Insert the Wires in the Box

You will want to insert the bare copper wires into the back of the outlet. You can either do this by stripping them or using a wire stripper. It is best to strip around an inch off for it to fit in there better. When you are doing this, make sure that your power is completely off.

Using a Wire Stripper

I know that you should not be doing this in the first place, but accidents do happen. Now push those wires into the outlet as far as they will go so that your nut can twist on them easily. You will want to make sure all of your nut slots are facing the right way; otherwise, it will turn around and won’t tighten.

You can now screw the outlet into place. Make sure that it is level; otherwise, your outlets will not look as good. Now twist on the wire nut and make sure that no wires are touching each other, or it could cause a short circuit that will shock you. This will help in how to install electrical outlets in unfinished basement.

Step Three : Drill Holes to Run Cable

You will want to drill holes in the studs where you found your outlets. Make sure you do this before you insulate the wall because it is a lot harder when there is insulation in the way. This will save you from making a giant hole later on.

Once you have drilled these holes, go ahead and push your cable through them. Make sure you have your cable clamps and fish tape ready, just in case. If everything goes well, the cable will come out next to where the outlet will be installed.

If the cable doesn’t come out, you will need to go back to your utility room and cut through to where the cable came into that wall. Then pull it back until it comes out next to the stud you are working on. Make sure that you use your cable clamps to secure the cable onto the stud.

Step Four : Bend Cables Around Corners

This can get tricky because you don’t want to tear the cable insulation. I like to bend it around the corner and leave some slack so you can trim off everything that sticks out. You will need an extra pair of hands for this step so someone can hold the cable while you tighten your wire nuts.

It would help if you had some extra wire hanging out from the corner of your stud, so you will want to make a hook with it. Just twist the wire around itself and then tighten the wire nut down until it is nice and secure. Make sure that no wires are sticking out from where they shouldn’t be because this could cause a short circuit which is very dangerous.

Now you can take your fish tape and push it through the wall to ensure it is friendly and secure. It might take a few rounds of doing this until it comes all the way out but doesn’t give up! These steps should help you learn how to install electrical outlets in unfinished basement.

Install Electrical Outlets

Step Five : Staple Cable Near Boxes

Now you should have a nice clean cable running out of your wall. You should take some electrician’s tape and go all the way around it, so nothing gets damaged. You are now ready to install the boxes. Just line them up with where they need to be attached, drill through the holes in the back, screw them into place and then staple the cable to the inside of the boxes.

Now you don’t have to worry about not having any power down there. Just make sure that everything is wired correctly and that your outlets are facing the right way; otherwise, it could shock someone or even cause a fire. You should now be able to plug anything in and use your new basement as a finished room.

If you don’t want to hire an electrician, you can use the steps above to help guide you through this process. However, I will warn you now that it is not as easy as they make it look on Do-It-Yourself shows, so be extra careful when installing electrical outlets in your unfinished basement.

Step Six : Run Cable Along the Sides of Braces

It will help run your cable through the same holes you used to put in the electrical boxes. Again, then, again, bend these cables around corners and staple them down like before, but this time make sure that there is even slacker on the other side.

This will help when putting up your drywall because you don’t want any wires popping through. If you plan to lay hardwood flooring, you should staple the cable down to the concrete; otherwise, it will just get in the way when you are trying to nail it down.

Put Up the Drywall

It might take a couple of times to get it right since the cables might collide with each other, and you don’t want that. Just make sure that everything is neat before you lay your flooring down, and then staple the cable down after. This information will help you learn how to install electrical outlets in unfinished basement.

Step Seven : Run Surface Wiring on Solid Walls

Now you are ready to run your cable up next to the wall. You should staple it down about every four feet or so. These cables will be used for any of the light fixtures you plan to install later. Just make sure that they are secure because if anyone trips over them, it could cause a trip hazard, or worse, someone could get injured.

At this point, you will want to get a friend and have them help you lift the drywall so that both of you can staple your cables together in the middle with an electrical box. This way, when it comes time to run these cables through the wall, they won’t be getting in each other’s way and wasting valuable space.

Installing Light Fixtures

Now you are ready to staple your cables to the back of your drywall. Just make sure that they are nice and neat because no one wants to see a bunch of loose hanging cables down in their basement that don’t match up with an outlet or light switch anywhere else in the room.

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It would help if you had an electrician install the outlets for you. This is because they must be installed to code and done safely. If not, there can be a fire hazard or shock risk, which could put your family at risk of injury. Plus, it will be much cheaper than if you tried to do it yourself.

That about does it for the article on how to install electrical outlets in unfinished basement. If you want to learn more about electricity and home wiring, check out our other articles. We also have a lot of information on electricians and some great blog posts that deal with electricity and wiring in your home.

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