Homeowners can learn how to replace an electrical outlet safely. You will only need basic tools and a few minutes to complete the task. Most residential locations have side-wired outlets. You’ll recognize these because the wires are looped over screws on the side of the outlet. Side-wired outlets are very common and reliable. On a back-wired outlet, the wires enter slots on the back of the outlet. Small clamps grip these wires. To release wires from the clamps, simply slip a narrow flat head screwdriver into the slot by each wire.
Tools and Materials
Most homeowners own the tools needed to learn how to replace an electrical outlet. A voltameter is helpful for confirming that you have shut the electricity off at your work location but it’s not necessary. Alternatively, you could check the outlet after you shut off the circuit by plugging in a small lamp.
- Phillips and flat head screwdrivers
- Electrical pliers
- New electrical side-wired outlet
- New outlet cover, optional
How to Replace an Electrical Outlet
- Go to your electrical circuit box and shut off the circuit supplying power to the applicable outlet.
- Confirm that power is off at outlet with voltameter or lamp.
- Remove outlet cover.
- Unscrew the old outlet from the electrical box by taking off visible screws.
- Gently pull the old outlet a few inches away from wall until you see electrical connections.
- Loosen screws or release clamps holding wires and take out the old outlet.
- With the old outlet out of the way, confirm that the grounding wire remains attached to the electrical box.
- The grounding wire will either be bare copper or covered in green plastic insulation.
- It needs to loop over a screw on the electrical box and be securely tightened.
- Now connect the grounding wire to the green screw on the new outlet.
- Make sure that about 1-inch of bare wire is exposed and bend it into a hook shape with the pliers.
- Wrap the bent wire over the green screw in the direction that you will turn the screw to tighten it.
- Repeat this same process with the white wire and attach it to the silver screw.
- Now loop the bent end of the black wire over the brass screw and tighten it.
- Gently return the outlet and connected wires to the electrical box.
- Screw the outlet to the box.
- Put on the outlet cover.
- Turn the power back on and test the outlet.
Oliver Has Licensed Electricians
If you encounter problems when learning how to replace an electrical outlet, don’t hesitate to contact the Oliver experts for help. Our electricians can quickly complete the necessary repairs. Ask us for an estimate to repair any of your electrical issues.