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8 Simple Steps to Replace an Electrical Outlet

8 Steps to Replace an Electrical Outlet

To replace an electrical outlet which is (commonly called a receptacle) when it no longer holds a plug snugly, or when it is damaged is simple if your are person that pays attention to details and is safety conscious. The procedure for replacing an electrical outlet wall receptacle is comparable to that of replacing a switch. The only variation is that, depending on where the receptacle is located in the wiring scheme of your house, it may have many wires attached to it than you find attached to a light switch.

Take a close look at the terminal screws of the new receptacle. On each side of the receptacle, you will find a pair of terminal screws. The upper screw is connected to the upper outlet, while the lower screw services the lower outlet. A thin, metal break-off tab connects these screws. This tab allows you to attach a single wire to either screw and feed electricity to both outlets of the receptacle. If the tab is broken off, you could connect the upper and lower outlets to separate wires and control them independently.

If the electrical outlet is wired to the end of a series of another electrical outlet, it generally has only two wires, and possibly a third ground wire. If it isn’t the last electrical outlet (receptacle) in the network or circuit line, two additional wires may be connected to it so as to carry current to the next outlet (receptacle) Just rewire the new receptacle the same manner the old one was wired.

Image showing electrical outlet wiring

You may also wire the electrical outlet in a way that a switch controls the upper outlet and the lower outlet is on, or hot, all the time. In this case, you must remove the break-off tab connecting the two sets of like-colored terminals on each side of the receptacle. Contrarily, the tab remains intact, and you could see a metal bridge connecting the terminals.

The important point to be mindful of is that hot (black or colored) wires attach to brass screws and neutral (white) wires attach to silver screws. If the unit is back-wired, the colored wires are situated in the holes behind the brass screws and the white wires in the holes behind the silver screws. If you happen to attach a white wire to a brass screw or a colored wire to a silver screw, you may see fireworks.

image showing a receptacle with wires


Basic electrical tool required to replace an electrical outlet (receptacle)

image showing electrical tools

How to replace an electrical outlet (receptacle), follow these steps below:

1. Turn or put off the power to the receptacle from the main fuse or circuit panel.

2. Unscrew and remove the cover plate; then use a voltage tester to be sure that the circuit is dead.

3. Unscrew the receptacle right from the electrical box and pull it out with the wires still attached.
Observe where the white and black wires are attached to the old receptacle.

4. Remove the wires.

5. With care, inspect the old receptacle to see if the break-off tab connecting the two sets of terminals on each side of the receptacle is broken off. If it’s, remove the corresponding tabs from the new receptacle.
To break off the tab, grip it with long-nose pliers and bend it back and forth until it breaks off.

6. Attach the wires to the terminals of the new receptacle.
If the wiring has a green or bare ground wire, attach it to the green terminal on the receptacle or to the electrical box.

7. Push the new receptacle back into the electrical box and screw it in place.

8. Finally, screw on the cover plate and then turn on the power.

watch the video below to better understand this

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related post:

>5 Simple Electrical Repairs for Your Home

>What Are The Types Of Wires For Electrical Outlets?



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