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How To Replace An Electrical Outlet Yourself

If you live in an older home, you may have some outlets that have been painted over, are scratched, possibly outdated, or may be worn out so much that they don't hold plugs tightly any longer, which can be very dangerous. Changing these outlets, whether due to necessity or just to update the look can be done all by yourself. See below for instructions on how to change an electrical outlet with just a few tools.

Here's What You Need:

  • New outlet and faceplate
  • Wire strippers
  • Screwdriver (Phillips and flathead)
  • Voltage tester
  • Needle nose pliers


Begin by turning off the power to the outlet you are going to be changing. If your breakers aren't marked, you can plug in a small appliance or lamp. When the appliance or lamp turns off, you've turned off the right breaker. You can also test the outlet with a voltage tester just to be sure.

Once the outlet is turned off, take off the faceplate using a screwdriver. Then remove the outlet itself from the wall exposing the wires. Gently pull it out away from the box.

Unscrew or cut the wires from the old outlet. There should be three of them. Use the wire strippers to strip the wires exposing the copper wire.

Next, take the new outlet and attach the wires—the black wire goes to the gold screw, the neutral copper wire goes to the green screw, and the white or tan wire goes to the silver screw. Wrap the wires around the screws using a pair of needle nose pliers, and tighten the screws to hold them in place.

Gently press the outlet back into the wall and attach the screws to hold it in place. Next, install the new face plate. When finished, turn the power back on to the outlet and test it with the voltage tester.

Updating your electrical outlets can be for any number of reasons. You can update your outlets to help make things more convenient in your household by adding outlets that have USB ports to easily charge your tablets or smartphones without having those bulky chargers lying around or taking up all of the space in your outlets. Replace one of the outlets in your kitchen or bedrooms to give your entire family a convenient place to charge your devices.

Changing an electrical outlet is fairly simple to do. Even the most novice homeowner can make this type of repair. For help with bigger electrical repairs, contact a company like Narducci Electric.