How to Replace Electrical Outlets? Explained


Replace your electrical outlet if you observe any of these signs. It is possible that the outlet’s faceplate is broken or that it feels hot to the touch. You may notice a smoldering odor or a flash of light. Plugs may not stay in the outlet, or devices plugged into it may not be receiving power.

Replacing an electrical outlet is simple if you follow the instructions in this article.

Make sure you’re comfortable working with electrical wiring before moving forward. If you’re unsure if you’re allowed to take this project on, please contact us, and check your local building codes.

Electrical Outlets: 

Equipment can be connected to the electricity grid through the use of electrical outlets (sometimes referred to as outlets, electrical sockets, plugs, or wall plugs). Switched-mode power is delivered to an outlet via the electrical grid. Domestic and industrial outlets are the two main types of outlets. The two sides of an electrical outlet resemble a ‘loop of wire’, and connecting an electrical device to that outlet completes the loop, allowing electricity to flow through the item so it can function. To put it another way, an electrical outlet’s two sides each serve as a terminal.

Check the Outlet: 

A fire hazard is an outlet that is hot to the touch, has created sparks, smoke, or has a burning smell. You need to cease using them immediately and get in touch with an electrician.

Make sure the outlet is working properly before trying to plug anything else in. Try plugging the item into a different outlet and see if that helps. A problem with the first outlet is unlikely if it works in the second.

Once you discover that an electrical outlet isn’t working properly, you can begin to figure out how to replace it.

Turn off the Power: 

Disconnect the circuit breaker for that circuit. To be sure, use a voltage tester. Switching the wrong breakers may have caused the tester to indicate that there is electricity flowing through.

Turn off any other circuits that may be supplying electricity to the outlet in the service panel. Only if there is no current on the tester should you proceed.

Remove the Wall Plate: 

Remove the outlet’s wall plate by unscrewing the mounting screws with a screwdriver. Avoid making any physical contact with the wires or terminals… Pull the receptacle out with care.

Determine the Receptacle Size: 

Receptacles for 120-volt power come in two different sizes. Examine the wiring in your outlet to determine the size you require if you are unsure which one is in there.

Check the wire gauge and the amperage of the circuit. 14-gauge wire is used when wiring a device, and the circuit breaker or fuse is typically 15 amps.

In some cases, comparing a 14-gauge wire to a coin will help you figure out its gauge. In terms of thickness, it will be the same as a quarter. Installing a 15-amp receptacle is a must when using a 14-gauge wire and a 15-amp circuit breaker/fuse.

The thickness of nickel can be compared to the thickness of 12-gauge circuit wires. You should use a 20-amp receptacle for a 12-gauge cable since it has a 20-amp circuit breaker or fuse.

If your circuit is only rated for 15 amps, don’t use a 20-amp outlet.

Call an electrician if you’re unsure what size receptacle you need.

Snip Restrip Wire Ends: 

To remove wires, unscrew the terminals and remove them. They should not be twisted too far.

As soon as you notice a wire end that appears broken or has been repeatedly wrapped around itself, you’ll need to use the wire stripping tool.

Restrip the damaged wire by cutting off its end.

Install New Receptacle: 

Connect each of the new receptacle’s white and black wires to a silver and brass termination, just like the previous one. Wrap all terminals and bare wires in electrical tape.

Gently reinstall the outlet into its socket. Make sure the receptacle is straight before tightening the mounting screws. Reinstall the wall plate.

Replace the wall plate if it has been fractured or damaged. You could also want to consider replacing your wall plates as part of your home’s design.

Reconnect the power and use a voltage tester to check the outlet.

Knowing how to replace an electrical outlet opens the door to troubleshooting issues with an out-of-service outlet. Call an electrical professional as soon as you see sparks, smoke, or scorch marks near an outlet, or if you smell burning.

Is your local store stocked up on the products you need? Use the Home Depot app to find goods and check inventory. We’ll guide you to the aisle and bay, where you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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