Wiring Metal Raceways


If you need a new receptacle or a new light and switch, the usual procedure is to run cable inside walls. That is a complicated, messy job. Cutting and patching walls takes much more time than the wiring. Wall-mounted raceway wiring eliminates that trouble. The drawback to raceway wiring is the unsightly channel mounted on the wall. In a living area, however, furnishings can hide raceway.

Planning the job
Choose plastic raceway or metal raceway, which can be painted. Have a salesperson help you assemble all the raceway parts you need: a starter box, channel, clips, cover plates, and elbows if you need to turn a corner. You need black, white, and green wire for the length of your run. Use 14-gauge wire for a 15-amp circuit and 12-gauge for a 20-amp circuit.


About 3 hours to install two new receptacles

Drill, screwdriver, level, rubber mallet, strippers, side cutters, hacksaw, lineman's pliers

Stripping, splicing, and connecting wires to a terminal; cutting metal or plastic channel; driving screws into a wall

Spread drop cloths on the floor

Raceway components, plastic anchors, wire nuts, electrician's tape, screws

Raceway Receptacle Installation

Raceway components include a starter box, receptacle box, channel, and clips. Use green-insulated wire for the ground.

Step 1

Shut off power to the circuit and pull out the existing receptacle. Test for power. Screw the baseplate to the electrical box.

Step 2

Attach receptacle baseplates wherever you want a new receptacle. With a hacksaw, cut pieces of channel to fit between the plates. Screw them to the wall. Where possible drive screws into studs for solid mounting; otherwise use plastic anchors to attach screws to wallboard.

Step 3

Insert black, white, and green wires into the channels and secure them with the clips provided. Leave about 8 inches of wire at each receptacle box or starter box.

Step 4

Connect wires to the new receptacles -- black wires to brass terminals, white wires to silver terminals, and green wires to ground.

Step 5

Connect wires to the old receptacle to supply power. Snap on the covers for the channel. Attach the covers for the new receptacle boxes and install cover plates.

Supply Power: Connecting to End-of-Run Receptacle

If the existing receptacle is at the end of a run, connect the raceway wiring to the two open terminals -- black to the brass terminal, white to the silver terminal. Pigtail the ground.

Supply Power: Connecting to Middle-of-Run Receptacle

If the existing receptacle is in the middle of a run, remove wires from two of the terminals and reconnect to terminals with pigtails, as shown.

Metal Raceway

Metal components cost a bit more, but they withstand more abuse than plastic and they can be painted. Install the parts on the wall, then push wires through the channels.

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