Replace An Electrical Outlet
|You must first check your old outlet to
see what slot pattern it has. Two slot outlets, found in
older homes, are ungrounded. Three slot models (two slots
and the U shaped ground) incorporate a grounding slot that
connects them to a continuous grounding system in the
household wiring. DO NOT replace a 2 slot outlet with a 3
slot outlet unless you know the wiring system is grounded.
Three slot types in an ungrounded system don’t provide
adequate grounding protection and can mislead future
occupants and electricians performing repairs. If you are
not sure whether your system is grounded, check with an
Removing The Old Outlet: Turn off the power at your
main power box. Check to see if any power is going to the
outlet with a voltage indicator. If the light on the
indicator goes on, you have not shut off the correct
circuit. Take off the outlet cover with a screwdriver.
Again, use the voltage indicator to check for any hot
electricity on each wire. Pull the outlet out of the outlet
box. Loosen the terminals (screws) that connect the wires to
the outlets with a screwdriver and detach the wires. If the
wires are connected to holes in the back of the outlet, use
a small flathead screwdriver in the slot located next to
each hole to release the wire. If this doesn’t work, use
wire cutters to snip the wire as close to the outlet as
Installing A New Outlet: Your new outlet will have
different colored screws (or terminals) on each side. The
black or hot wire should only be connected to the dark or
brass terminal on the same side as the smaller slot on the
outlet. The white or neutral wire should only be connected
to the light or silver terminal on the same side as the
larger slot of the outlet. The green or ground wire should
only be connected to the green ground terminal at the bottom
of the outlet. Always connect the green neutral wires first,
followed by the white wires, and finally the black wire.
You will need at least ˝” bare wire from the outlet box to
wrap around the terminals in the outlet. If you do not have
˝” of bare wire, use wire strippers to remove the insulation
around the wire. Taking the green wire from the outlet box
first, bend the tip of the wire into a loop with pliers and
curl it around the green terminal in a clockwise position.
Use a screwdriver to tighten the terminal into place.
Connect the white wire to the silver screw and the black
wire to the brass screw. When all the wires have been
properly connected, carefully push the outlet back into the
outlet box. Make sure the grounding wire is not touching the
other wires. Connect the outlet to the outlet box with the
screws provided. Turn on the power at your main power box.
Use a voltage indicator to check for power. If the light on
the indicator goes on, it is working correctly. You may
screw in the outlet cover. If the voltage indicator does not
go on, turn off the main power and repeat all the steps. If
it still does not work, call an electrician.
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