Wiring The Alcove

by Josh on May 10, 2011 · 2 comments

in Kitchen,Projects

Last time, I wrote about the change to the exterior by removing the kitchen backdoor.  On the interior, closing up the doorway allows me to finish the area as an alcove for the refrigerator.  And by moving  the refrigerator, I will be able to add some new cabinets and countertop in the fridge’s former space next to the stove.

To turn this new alcove into a suitable spot for the refrigerator, I needed to finish the old door opening and add an electrical outlet. For the wiring, I decided that the most straightforward solution would be to take down the now unnecessary exterior light above the former kitchen backdoor and rewire the switch box as a receptacle.

Starting with the exterior, I switched off the circuit, then removed the nasty old security light and reconnected the wires for the outlet supply hot to hot and neutral to neutral.  (Previously neutral wire leading from the exterior fixture box to the interior switch was labeled “hot” because it served a switch.)  Then I sealed the exterior electrical box with a ring of caulk and a round outlet cover.

I had thought of running new wires, but found that the existing wiring– added when the original back entry was remodeled–is armored cable that would be impossible to remove without additional demolition of the kitchen wall and ceiling.  Because this wiring is probably 1970’s vintage and uses modern plastic insulation compared to the cloth insulated original wires, I decided that upgrading this wiring wasn’t worth the hassle.  The trade-off for this decision is living with that blank outlet cover on the exterior.

Moving inside, my job was pretty simple: I just needed to swap out the switch for a receptacle.

The one component that was missing from the old armored cable was a grounding wire for the new receptacle.  But with a metal outlet box connected by metal armored cable to grounded metal conduit, all I needed to do was attach a grounding wire to the outlet box and the receptacle.

Ta Da!  Bring on the fridge!  And before anyone calls shenanigans in the comments, yes, I did this part of the alcove project before I removed the kitchen back door, so just ignore the door and trim in the photo of the finished receptacle below.

In my next post, I’ll talk about finishing the wall and trim details in the alcove, complete with before and after photos.

Kitchen Project Cost Tracker

  • Cover plate, caulk, outlet and wall plate: $9
  • Grounding wire, screw: $0 (on hand)
  • Previous work: $158

Total so far: $167

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mike @HA May 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Nice work! Good idea to turn that switched hot to a neutral to reuse the wires you had. I was trying to do something similar in our bathroom. We have a switch for the light and I bought a 1 gang switch/GFI receptacle combo. I forgot to check the wiring before I bought it and it turns out power comes to the light and just runs two wires to the switch. I don’t have access to add a 3rd wire so I can have a receptacle or a switch but not both 🙁 Oh well. I’ll see you on the bungalow tour this weekend!


threadbndr May 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Mike, what I did in a similar situation in my bungalow was come up through the floor with a new line. In the bathroom there was only one outlet – on the side of the old medicine cabinet lighting fixture. We had a broken (unsalvagable) wall mounted sink, and it’s removal ended up with a huge chunk of damaged plaster, so I used the opportunity to install a run of conduit into the lath and plaster for the new circut. I’m hoping to be able to pull that trick in the kitchen, too – where the single light switch is in the middle of a wall and over the stove.

I wish I lived close enough to mpls to come and see your bungalows.


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