A USB wall outlet is a great way to cut down on clutter and modernize your home. You’ll be able to charge all of your USB-enabled devices from one convenient source without the hassle of searching for the right power adapter. Adding a wall outlet with USB jacks is easier than you think. We’ll walk you through this project in seven simple steps. Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Circuit Tester
- Electrical Tape
- Wire Strippers
- Flat Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
Power off. Before starting any electrical wiring project, it’s essential that you turn off the power for the circuit you’ll be working on. You’ll do this in your home’s electrical panel box. Once you determine the circuit specific to your project, shut off the power at the circuit breaker. Then, use a plugin or proximity tester to confirm the power’s off. This is an important step for your safety.
Remove old outlet. Using your screwdriver, remove the outlet cover, then remove the mounting screws and gently pull the plug receptacle from its box, making sure not to touch any wires. Confirm once again that the power’s off before touching any connecting screws or wires. Mark each individual screw and wire with tape or a marker to identify its original connection.
White (neutral) wires. Release the white neutral wires by turning the silver-colored screws to the left, counterclockwise to loosen. Once you’ve disconnected them, attach the white wires to your new plug receptacle. Retighten the screw to make sure you have a secure electrical connection.
Black (hot) wires. Loosen the brass-colored screws to release the black hot wires by turning the screws counterclockwise to the left. All black wires should be considered live. As such, when removing them, carefully separate the wires and position them so the bare ends do not touch anything. Once again, retighten the screw to make sure you have a secure electrical connection.
Ground wire. Now it’s time to connect the ground wire, also known as a grounded wire, to your new outlet. This will protect electronic devices charging in your new outlet from overvoltage. The ground wire may be bare or it may be covered in green insulation. Loosen the green-colored screw to release it, then connect the wire to the new receptacle, positioning the bent loop under the screw head and tighten until the screw pulls the wire in around itself. Give the screw a final firm twist to make sure you have a secure electrical connection.
Install plug. It’s finally time to install your new USB plug. Double check all the newly-connected wires to ensure they’re snug and secure, then carefully push the outlet back into the wall, making sure not to disconnect or pinch any wires. Then, use the supplied screws, or longer ones, if required, to attach your new outlet to the wall.
Test outlet. Before you can use your new outlet, you’ll need to make sure it works. To do this, turn the circuit’s power back on, then use a plugin tester to test it. Once your reader indicates that it’s fully functioning, screw in or attach your outlet cover. Congratulations. You now have a functional USB wall outlet.