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How to Cover an Existing Outlet with a Blank Plate

There are many reasons that someone might want to remove an outlet and cap it with a blank outlet plate cover. No matter what your reasons are, it’s important that you do it right. The process for removing an outlet is going to vary depending on whether or not you want to remove the wires. This article will focus on keeping the wires, but removing the outlet and covering it with a plate. Keep reading to learn more.

Finding the Outlet Connection

The first thing you need to do is determine where the outlet is drawing its power from. It could be straight from the electrical panel, via another outlet, or through a light switch. Then, you need to turn off the breaker that controls the circuit so you can disconnect the wires safely.

If the outlet you’re removing is at the end of a circuit, it’s safest to disconnect it from the device that feeds it, rather than leaving live, unused wires in the wall. But if there are other devices downstream in the outlet’s connection, the wires will need to remain in place to ensure that those other devices keep working. This means you’ll need to splice the wires together in the receptacle box after the outlet has been removed.

The processes for both of these situations are discussed below.

Disconnecting an Outlet at the End of a Circuit

If your outlet is at the end of a circuit, turn off the breaker to the outlet and disconnect the outlet wires from that device. You can usually release wires from their locking holes by pushing a flathead screwdriver into them and pulling out the wire. Another option is to simply cut the wires. Put a wire cap on each wire you remove (do not use electrical tape!) and push it into the electrical box.

Disconnecting an Outlet in the Middle of a Circuit

If the outlet is in the middle of a circuit, you will still want to remove the wires from their locking holes in the back of the outlet. Then, after removing the outlet, splice the wires in the box together. Do this by twisting the black wires together, then twist the white wires together, and finally, twist the bare ground wires together. You can then push them into the electrical box.

Installing the Blank Plate and Maintaining Accessibility

Now you can install your blank outlet plate covers to conceal the wires. Most city codes require that those wires remain accessible, so it’s not advisable to put drywall over the hole. If you’re building something over the area (such as a built-in bookcase), make sure to cut a hole in the back of the bookcase to keep the blank plate and the wires underneath accessible still.

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