Project Garage Part I: Introduction



Outlet components
 Components needed to install additional outlets include this (duplex) receptacle, wall plate, and electrical box. 

Quick amp/volt lesson: liken electricity to a waterfall. Voltage is the height of the falls, while current (measured in amps) is the amount of water spilling over. An electrical circuit is a continuous loop. Current enters on the hot wires and  returns on the neutral wires. A grounding wire redirects the current if there’s a short or overload, decreasing the risk of frying yourself. When too many power tools and appliances are working on the same circuit, they can overpower it. The circuit breaker cuts the circuit when the current level is too high.

With all the monkeys that will be wrenching at the house (not the dancing, suit-wearing ones), one separate 20 amp circuit was installed on the unfinished back wall of the garage. The electrical plan for the garage is swap the one single existing receptacle with a double receptacle and daisy chain 2 more double receptacles against the side wall, as well as wire in an outlet for a 220 volt line for future use. Including the other garage circuit, the grand total will be 13 outlets!

Checking voltage at outlet
This might come as a shock to you (literally) but safety first- turn off the circuit on the circuit breaker! Electrocuting yourself is usually not a good way to start a project.

Use a voltmeter, multitester, or  circuit tester to make sure there is no voltage going through the circuit by inserting the prongs into the outlet holes. If no voltage is displayed, unscrew the three wires off the existing outlet on the circuit. The bare copper wire is the ground for the receptacle and switch box, hot current flows along the black (sometimes blue or red) wire, and neutral current flows along the white (or gray) wire. The hot and neutral wires are insulated by a rubber or plastic vinyl insulation. The grounding wire doesn’t require insulation but may sometimes have a green cover.

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