How to Replace an Electrical Outlet Receptacle

What You'll Need
Wire nuts
Voltage tester
Needle nose pliers
Philips head screwdriver
Grounding strap
Replacement receptacle
Masking tape

Electrical outlet receptacle replacement is one electrical job around the home that anyone could accomplish. The electrical outlet receptacle is where you plug an appliance in. Over time, an electrical outlet receptacle can begin to fail and cause power surges and outages. You can replace an electrical outlet receptacle easily, and the following article will show you how.

Step 1 – Observe Safety Measures

Even though the process of replacing an electrical outlet receptacle is fairly easy, that does not meant that it is any less dangerous. You will be working with electricity, and any wrong move can cause a severe shock. If enough electricity flows through you, it can seriously injure or kill you. Locate the circuit breaker to the home. These are usually found in the basement or the laundry room if it is a single-level home. The switches are often labeled, and you merely have to turn off the switch to the section of the home you are working. If there is a possibility of the switch being turned back on, always tape a note to the front panel that is very visible letting someone know you are working on the outlet. If the panel is not labeled, plug a lamp into the electrical outlet receptacle and turn it on. Turn off switch in the box until the lamp turns off.

Step 2 – Removing the Receptacle

Getting inside the wall is easy. Go to the receptacle you plan to replace and use the Philip’s head screwdriver to remove the screws. The face plate should easily pop off the wall. The electrical outlet receptacle is attached inside the wall by two screws. Remove those, and the receptacle can be pulled from the wall to expose the wires. Attach the grounding strap to your wrist and the other end to the metal inside of the wall. This will give you added protection regardless of whether there is a grounding wire in the outlet or not or even if the electricity is turned back on. The strap allows electricity to be directed away from your body and back to the outlet. Once the electrical outlet receptacle is hanging out of the wall, use the voltage tester on each terminal to double check that there is no current. Place a piece of masking tape around each wire and identify where it goes. This makes replacement much easier. Use the screwdriver to loosen the terminals and remove the wires.

Step 3 – Replace the Outlet

With the old electrical outlet receptacle removed, it will be easy to connect the new one. Loosen the terminal screws on the new outlet and using the masking tape as a guide, place the wires on the terminals and tighten them. Place the outlet in the wall and replace the screws. Remove the grounding strap and replace the face plate. You can now turn power back on and test the new electrical outlet receptacle.