Feb 8, 2018

DIY: How to Replace Electrical Outlets

DIY: How to replace electrical outlets

Looking for a quick and easy way to spruce up your home with a simple DIY project? When you replace electrical outlets, it can create a more modern look that better fits your decor. If it’s been a while since they’ve been updated, they might need changing for safety purposes, as well. When your vacuum cleaner plug falls out, you notice cracks, paint or burnt marks on them or the panels get hot when used, it’s time to replace electrical outlets around your home. 

This simple DIY project takes very little time and can make a world of difference in updating your home. You’ll need just a few tools to get started:

  • A new outlet and faceplate
  • Flathead and Phillips Screwdrivers
  • Wire stripper
  • Voltage Tester

*BEFORE GETTING TO WORK: Safety first! Be sure to flip the breaker on your main electrical panel and kill the power. Use an outlet or voltage tester to be sure there is no power going to the outlet you’ll be working on.

Should you run into any problems while installing your new electrical outlet, you’ll want to call in a Service Pro. A trained Electrician will be able to identify any issues and resolve them safely. 

Now, let’s get started!

Step 1: Remove Faceplate

There will be a single screw holding the faceplate to the wall.  Use the flathead screwdriver to carefully remove it.

Step 2: Expose Wires

Once the faceplate has been taken off, use the Phillips screwdriver to to remove the two screws that are holding the outlet in the box. To do this, carefully pull the outlet straight out to expose the wires.

Step 3: Reattach Wires

Prepare your wire stripper. Remove one wire at a time and tightly reattach each into the new outlet. Use the wire stripper to cut back any ends of the wires down to their plastic casing so that no more than 1/2″ of the copper wire is exposed. Be sure you don’t remove all of the wires at once – you may have difficulty remembering where to attach them to the new outlet.

Step 4: Attach New Outlet

Once all of the wires have been properly attached to the new outlet, screw the outlet back into the box using two new Phillips screws. Put the faceplate against the wall and use the flathead again to tighten it into place. Do not over-tighten this screw, as they can break or crack your new faceplate. 

Voilá! Your new, updated electrical outlet has been successfully replaced! The same steps can be used to changed and replace light switches around your home, too, with one extra note to keep in mind. When you purchase your new light switch, be sure that the gold and silver screws on the old switch, match the new. These signify the type of switch. A single-pole switch is the most common type, as it controls just one device. The single-pole switch will have two terminal screws. A three-way switch, however, controls one device from either of the two switches. This usually occurs in a large room where one device (perhaps the main lighting in the room) can be controlled by two switches on either end of the room. The three-way switch will have three terminal screws.

With simple DIY steps, you can replace electrical outlets around your home. Whether you want to update the decor and make them more modern, or simply need to change out faulty switches that can be dangerous, this task is easy and takes very little time.