How To Replace An Outlet

Whether cracked, dirty, or clogged with paint, all outlets eventually need to be replaced. Believe it or not, installing a new outlet is an easy, inexpensive job anyone can do in about 15 minutes. Here’s what you’ll need for this quick project:

TOOLS & MATERIALS

  • Non-Contact Voltage Tester
  • Flat-Head Screwdriver
  • Phillips-Head Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Needle-Nose Pliers
  • Linesman Pliers
  • Receptacle

When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.

STEP ONE
Turn off circuit. Start by turning off the breaker that controls the receptacle you’ll be working on. Confirm the power’s off with the circuit tester.

STEP TWO
Detach receptacle. Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the receptacle’s cover screw. Back out the two screws attaching the receptacle to the electrical box and pull the receptacle out.

STEP THREE
Disconnect receptacle. If the receptacle is at the end of a circuit, you’ll see one cable coming into the box with three wires, black, white, and a bare grounding wire, connected to the receptacle. If the circuit continues, there will be two cables with two black wires and two white wires. The grounding wires from the two cables will be joined together with a short piece of bare wire. This wire, also called a pigtail, will be connected to the receptacle’s green grounding screw. Loosen the terminal’s screws, and detach the wires from the receptacle. For outlets with quick connect holes, release the wires with a small flat-head screwdriver.

STEP FOUR
Connect new receptacle. Connect the bare grounding wire to the receptacle’s green grounding screw. Connect white wires to silver terminals and black wires to brass terminals. If the wires are already hooked, make the connection by placing the wire clockwise over the screw. Then tighten with a screwdriver. If the wires are not hooked, use a wire stripper to remove about ¾ of an inch of insulation from each and needle-nose pliers to bend the hooks.

For a SMART receptacle, connect the ground wires. Linesman pliers will help twist them together. And secure with a wire nut. Repeat this process, connecting white wires and black wires.

STEP FIVE
Attach new receptacle. Fold the wires carefully into the electrical box. Then secure the receptacle to the box with screws provided. Put the cover plate back in place with screws and restore power. Test the new outlet with your circuit tester. Your installation is complete!

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