A Step-by-step Guide to Replace an Electrical Outlet

Replace Electrical Outlet
Replacing an electrical outlet is necessary when the old ones get worn out. Doing the job at home is not very difficult. This article will take you through some easy steps on how to replace them.
HomeQuicks Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
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Electrical outlets, switches, cables, wires and various other electrical devices can get worn out over time. This can not only cause a nuisance, but can also be dangerous. Faulty or inappropriate wiring or damaged outlets should be regularly checked. Many of you might get a little anxious at the thought of working with electricity. But it is fairly easy and safe to replace electrical outlets, if proper steps and instructions are followed.

Instructions

To replace or change the outlet, you will require some tools like screwdrivers, wire strippers, new outlet, and a circuit tester which is required to check whether electric current is flowing through the wires.
  1. Turn off the main power supply. Remember this when you are working on any electrical appliance. Also turn off the power at the circuit breaker or remove the fuse.
  2. You can also double check by using a circuit tester. Insert the voltage tester into the plug. If the light on the tester does not glow, you can proceed with the next step.
  3. Inform all the members of your family or put up a notice near the switch, so that no one accidentally switches on the power supply while you are working.
  4. You need to remove the old outlet. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws of the outlet plate. After removing the plate, carefully unscrew the screws that are holding the outlet. Pull out the old outlet from the wall.
  5. While removing the old outlet, be sure not to touch or damage any wires. Carefully observe how the wires have been connected, mark with tape or colored pens where each wire has been attached.
  6. At the time of changing the outlet, wiring should be accurate. So it is important to understand the color code of the wires. Green wire is the ground wire which is usually attached to the outlet by a green screw. White wire is a neutral wire which is attached by a silver colored screw. Black wire is the live wire which is attached by a gold screw.
  7. Remember and mark the correct positions where different colored wires have been attached.
  8. After this, carefully loosen the screws and remove the wires. Also make sure you remove one wire at a time and mark or tape it appropriately. Now remove the outlet completely.
  9. The next step is to install the new electrical outlet. Make sure that the new outlet you have brought from the market is of correct ampere. Amperes will also depend on the size of the wire. So for a 14 gauge thin, low capacity wire, you should have an outlet of 15 amperes. Whereas, for a 12 gauge heavy, high capacity wire, an outlet of higher amperes is to be used.
  10. If you are unsure of this, you can seek guidance from an electrical store or from an electrician. After you have made sure you have the correct outlet, start with the installation.
  11. As you have marked the wires, re-wiring them will not be a problem. Just make sure that the white wire is attached with silver screw, green with green screw, and black with golden or brass screw.
  12. If the wire covering is posing a problem to screw the wires, then remove the wire covering with the wire stripper. Make sure all the screws are tight and do a last check to confirm whether all the wires are correctly attached.
  13. Now gently fold back the wires into the box and push the outlet back into the wall. Screw it tightly, and put the cover plate back on. After tightening the screws, switch on the main switch and test your work.
Remember that electrical work can be dangerous, so if you are in any way confused or are not confident to perform this work then hire a professional. The cost of a professional installation will vary according to whom you hire. It's better to spend some extra money than to risk your safety.