Replace Your Faulty Electrical Outlet At Home

by Grace Motley

Replacing an electrical outlet at home is easier than you think. With just a few tools, you can fix your outlet yourself. Here's how: 

What Will You Need?

  1. A flathead screwdriver.
  2. A digital camera.
  3. Electrical tape in white.
  4. A permanent marker.

Getting Started

  1. First, make sure you turn off any electricity that is running to the outlet. You can turn the electricity off with the circuit breaker in your home.
  2. You need to test the outlet after turning it off. Test both receptacles to make sure neither is working. In some homes, you may have two circuits running to one outlet, and that means that if one is off and the other isn't, there is a risk of electrocution.
  3. If you're not sure if the unit is working, turn off all the electricity in your home at the main breaker. It's better to be safe than sorry!

Replacing the Fixture

  1. Now, it's time to replace your fixture. Remove the outlet or switch cover plat by using your flathead screwdriver. Unscrew the screw holding the outlet fixture into place, and set it aside.
  2. Under the main fixture, you'll find two more screws. Remove them to loosen the outlets and pull away the facing.
  3. Using your camera, take a photo of the wiring underneath. This can help if you make a mistake during the rewiring process.
  4. Now you need to label each of your wires. Label them "Hot" and "Neutral." The "hot" wire is always black or red, the neutral is usually white. There will also be a bare copper wire; this wire connects to the green grounding screw and is used to prevent electric shock.
  5. These wires are connected to screws around the outlet. Loosen the screws and remove the wires. Now you can replace the outlet.

Replacing the Outlet

  1. Reattach the wires in the exact same places as they were on the old outlet.
  2. Tighten the outlet's screws to hold the wiring in place.
  3. Push the panel back into the wall, screwing the two screws tightly into the mount.
  4. Put on the facing and make sure to line it up properly. Screw the screw back into place to hold the switch cover in place.
  5. Once it's all back together, go switch on your electricity and plug in a lamp or other appliance. The unit should be working again.

If you're uncomfortable with replacing your outlet yourself, then you can call a professional, like those at Excel Electric Inc, to do it for you.