Over time, outlets in your home can become dingy, dirty or covered in paint (or several layers of paint). They can make your home look or even feel outdated. You can fix this by simply changing out the old outlet and installing a brand new one in it's place. Sounds simple right? There are a few steps involved and safety precautions that need to be taken, but it can be done and is something every homeowner should know how to do. See below for instructions on how to swap out an old outlet for a new one.
Here's What You'll Need:
- Screwdrivers (Flat and Phillips)
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Wire Strippers
- Wire Cutters
- New Outlet and Cover
- You'll need to turn the electricity off to the outlet you are going to be working with. You can do so by turning off the fuse in your fuse box for the outlet. If you aren't sure which fuse to turn off, you can plug in a small appliance such as a lamp or a radio. When you turn off the correct fuse, the appliance will turn off. You can ask a friend or family member for help with this, rather than running back to the outlet to check after each fuse has been shut off. Be sure to mark the fuse for future reference.
- Once the proper fuse is shut off, check the voltage with the multi-meter tool just to be sure there is no electrical currents running through it.
- Next, take off the face plate to the outlet using your flat head screwdriver to expose the outlet. Then unscrew the mounting screws holding the outlet in place and gently pull it away from the wall to expose the wires. Check the amps on the outlet to be sure you are replacing it with the proper amp outlet. There should be a marking on the outlet itself.
- Begin to take the wires off of the old outlet. There should be two black wires, two white wires and a grey ground wire. The wires may be wrapped around the screws on the outlet or can be pressed into small holes in the outlet. In order to remove the wires, either unwrap them from the screws or use a flat head screwdriver to try and free them from the holes. Be sure to remember where they go on the new outlet (draw a figure if need be).
- Look at the back of your new outlet. It should have two silver screws that are for the white wires, two gold screws for the black wires and a green screw for the grey ground wire. If need be, use your wire strippers to strip back some of the wire coating to give you a nice clean wire to work with.
- Hook your wires onto the appropriate screws (look at your figure if need be), wrapping them tightly around the wires with your needle nose pliers.
- Once you have the wires tightly in place, you can gently push the new outlet back into the wall and attach the mounting screws.
- Then attach the new face place with the flat head screwdriver.
- Turn the fuse back on to the outlet and test the voltage with your multi-meter. Then plug in your small small appliance again to make sure your new outlet works properly.
Changing out old ugly outlets is something that just about every homeowner will run into, so it's a good to know how to change them out yourself.
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