Robert Lamoureux | Can recessed outlets be a DIY project?

Robert Lamoureux

Question: Robert, I found these wonderful electrical outlets that I’d like to install in certain areas of our home. They are recessed outlets, so for places such as behind nightstands and other furniture that has things plugged in, you can push the furniture back nearly to the wall without damaging cords.  

I’ve never changed an outlet before. Is this something that a homeowner can do or do I need an electrician for this? I’d like to be able to handle it on my own but know nothing about electricity. Do I need to pull permits to do this?  

— Abe M.  

Answer: Abe, those outlets are great, you’ll love having them. Permits are not needed for this, just a lot of caution. I recommend purchasing an electrical meter. They’re available at the big box stores and aren’t very costly.  

First, find the breaker that controls the outlet/s you’ll be working on — shut those down. Check the outlet with the meter, to ensure that there is no power being fed to that/those outlets. Once you know they are free of power, you can then undo the first outlet.  

The new install will be bigger than the current opening in the drywall. This you’ll have to cut bigger in order to install the new outlet. Be sure that you’re following the correct wiring instructions for that outlet and that your connections are secure. Once complete, return power to the outlet via the breaker, and test with the meter.  

I recommend watching install videos to give you visuals — that always helps give you insight ahead of time. Best of luck, you can do this.  

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].            

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