ELECTRICAL ROUGH IN – Ripping Out Receptacle Outlets

The rip-out stage of a rough-in is most peoples’ favorite. It’s the point where you know you’ve gotten everything done and it’s ready to get all of the wires finalized and prepped for inspection.

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Ripping out is a rather easy task but each type of device, or group of devices will get handled differently. For example, a receptacle will be dealt with differently than a 3-way switch in how the conductors need to be tied together or paired up and folded into the box.

The whole idea with the rip-out phase is to get all of the conductors prepped so that in a month or two when there’s sheetrock up, you can come back and put in devices. When you come back a person should be able to walk up to a device location, grab the conductors and pull them out, and understand immediately what kind of device needs to be installed. This becomes much more important with multi-gang switches where you have combinations of single-pole, three-way, and four-way switches all sharing a box.

For ripping out receptacles, I rip the sheathing off of the Romex (Type NM Cable) and get the paper inserts cut off. Then I take the blacks and whites and fold them up out of my way. I then grab the grounds (equipment grounding conductors) and twist them together so they’re twisted for a good 4-5 inches outside of the box before cutting one of the ends off. I put a green wire nut on the joint to keep the conductors firmly together and fold it into the back of the box so it’s out of the way. Finally, I match the remaining blacks (hots) and whites (neutrals) up with the bare grounds and accordion them neatly into the box – cutting off any excess so the conductors are only long enough to stick out of the box 6-8 inches.

Then it’s on to the next one. Pretty simple right? Just make sure that you do it the way that you like and that you know why you do it the way you do. If you fold your wires so that the whites are on the left and the blacks are on the right, cool. Just do you, and do it the same every time.