How To Replace An Electrical Outlet

by Darwin Hall

electrical outlet

There are all kinds of reasons for replacing an electrical outlet.  The prong-holders can become loose over time.

The outlet box itself can become loose.  You may even want to upgrade and ground the electrical system.

It makes sense that home buyers replace all outlets and switches in newly-acquired older properties.

And once the old outlet is removed, you can then inspect how the old outlet was wired, and if it is safe.

You may also want to change the color and outlet plate to match a new remodel.  Painters sometime paint over old outlets in haste.  I’ve even seen the after-effects of an outlet catching fire, charring the wall.

Changing a outlet is extremely easy.  They take about 10 to 20 minutes to replace.

If a receptacle goes bad, all you have to do is wire the new outlet exactly as the old one was done — hot (black) wire to the brass terminal screw and neutral (white) wire to the silver screw.

If there is a ground wire, it is connected to the green screw on the receptacle.

Step 1

If you replace an old two-prong outlet with a three-prong one, the ground prong will be active only if the receptacle box is grounded back to the service panel.  Before you start, turn off the power at the main service panel.  Remove the single screw holding the faceplate.

Step 2

electrical outletRemove screws that fasten the receptacle to the box at the top and bottom; pull out the receptacle.  Before you disconnect the old wires,  its a good idea to make a sketch to help you remember where each wire goes.

Step 3

Hook up the new receptacle, using your sketch.  Cut the power back on, and test your handiwork Watch the Videowith a receptacle tester.  If you have small children, use child-proof safety covers.  You have to remove the cover to expose the slots.

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