Installing adjacent receptacles on two different circuits is easier than you think. Here's how to do it in just three steps.

January 26, 2019

Logic expects two adjacent receptacles to be on the same circuit. But local codes can think differently—they may require that adjacent receptacles be on different circuits. 

To split receptacles, you may need to run three-wire cable from the service panel to the boxes for the two circuits. Codes may call for connecting both circuits to a double-pole breaker. That way an overload on one circuit shuts off both, deadening all wires in each box.

This tutorial shows you how to install two-circuit receptacles. Expect to spend about 3 hours installing multiple receptacles, and make sure you're comfortable stripping, splicing, and connecting wire. 

What You Need

  • Voltage tester
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Fish tape
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Strippers
  • Long-nose pliers
  • Receptacles
  • Three-wire cable
  • Two-wire cable
  • Boxes
  • Double-pole breaker
  • Wire nuts
  • Tape

Step 1: Shut Off Power and Splice Red

Shut off power to the circuits. At the first receptacle splice the red wires. Connect the grounds. Attach the white wires to the silver terminals. Connect the black wires to the brass terminals.

Step 2: Splice Black and Connect

At the second receptacle splice the black wires. Connect the grounds. Attach the white wires to the silver terminals. Connect the red wires to the brass terminals.

Step 3: Install Double-Pole Breaker

At the service panel shut off the main breaker. Attach the white wire to the neutral bus bar and the ground wire to the ground bus bar. Connect the red and black wires to a double-pole breaker, and install it.


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