Replace Outlet/Replace Outlet 86303

To change out the color, you simple pop off the facing with a small screwdriver and replace with a new color.  If the outlet is in the wall, you want to be sure the power is off to the circuit before doing so.

At some point in a home’s life, installing new receptacles, switches, and light fixtures will be a good idea. The originals may be out of fashion, but they also wear out regardless. The homeowner replacing outlets and switches without a glitch is rare. I thought of titling this page “I Messed Up”. Here are some of the things that can happen. (Also see my article about these things.)

The shutters can be quite stiff on new outlets making it difficult to insert a plug. Check if the appliance or light plug is polarized, and if so orient the wide plug blade to match the wide outlet slot, then press the plug in firmly.

Thank you. I took everything apart, thinking I would remember how to put it together, but didn’t, even though I’ve done it before. Your diagrams and photos are very helpful. (First google result was dummies–very bad illustration, hard to decipher.)

Attach the “GFCI-protected outlet” label to downstream outlets. Test the downstream outlet by plugging in the GFCI tester and pressing the test button. The lights on the tester should go out. Press the reset button on the GFCI to reenergize the outlet.

Air conditioner was not working because it had no power. Jose was great. He showed up on short notice and redid the wiring. He was able to fix problem. He also went above and beyond to take care of other small details. I was very happy with his work. I would definitely recommend him.

Remove the screws holding the duplex outlet in the outlet box. Pull the outlet from the box to get to the screws that hold the wires to the outlet. Make a note of the wire placement or take a picture with a digital camera. Loosen the terminal screws and pull the wires off the duplex outlet.

But the new washer I just purchased has a three-pronged electrical cord…I am using an adapter right now, and the warnings on the washer say that’s wrong.  SO, I’m thinking I *still* need to install a GFCI to plug the washing machine into…but will the machine work with it,  HELP! :^)  And Thank You!!

In everything I have said above, I am assuming power is off while things are replaced. However, because connection mistakes are so possible, have a strategy for checking your work as you proceed. For instance, do one room at a time, replacing outlets and other items, then restore power, checking that everything works right there and also in nearby rooms before going on to the next room. Otherwise, you will have much more work to recheck later, with possibly more than one goof to complicate the picture.

Now you’re re ready for the new outlet.  We used Renu by Leviton outlets.  We liked that they are tamper resistant outlets, but what I really loved is that they have a huge assortment of colors which are easily changed out without removing the outlets or having to paint over!  So if I ever change my mind regarding the color again (which I’m sure I will) it’s an easy switch!

Test the outlet to ensure the correct switch was turned off. This may be done with a digital multimeter set to measure 220 volts AC, or a lighted test probe designed to measure up to 240 volts AC. To use a multimeter, turn it on to measure 220-volts AC and insert the black-handled metal test probe into the left (negative) outlet slot, and insert the red-handled metal test probe into the right (positive) outlet slot. If the meter reads zero volts, it’s safe to work with the outlet. A lighted test probe lights up when there is power. Simply connect the alligator clip to the metal mounting screw of the outlet and insert the sharp probe tip into the right (positive) slot of the outlet. If the light doesn’t activate, it’s safe to work with your outlet.

Wiring electrical outlets in parallel with pigtail connections that are twisted and nutted together is a more reliable method which isolates the outlet from the current path, thereby reducing the chance that a problem with the outlet will affect the other outlets on the circuit. Parallel outlet wiring is illustrated in this diagram:

A GFCI receptacle can provide “downstream” protection to other receptacles. For example, a GFCI in a kitchen may protect one or more other kitchen receptacles. If you have other “downstream” devices that are wired so that they are protected by the GFCI receptacle, there will be another cable(s) in the box.

As always, if you are completely unfamiliar with electrical, you should not try this yourself (read my full disclosure here).  But if you have basic electrical understanding, this is relatively easy.  So here is the mismatch of outlets I had going on in this space before we started.  The outlets themselves were the ugly off white color, none of the plates matched and one was just completely missing.

Look inside the box for any visible screws that hold the duplex outlet box in the wall. Remove the screws to release the outlet box from the wall stud. If you cannot locate any screws, you must break the box away from the wall stud.

One of the easiest ways to bring down the average cost of an electrician is to bundle a few electrical jobs at once since pros tend to charge by the hour. Determine if there are any other rooms that have been a hassle because of too few outlets. Do you find yourself using extension cords more in one room than another,

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The important point to keep in mind is that hot (black or colored) wires attach to brass screws and neutral (white) wires attach to silver screws. If the unit is back-wired, the colored wires are located in the holes behind the brass screws and the white wires in the holes behind the silver screws. If you attach a white wire to a brass screw or a colored wire to a silver screw, you may see fireworks.

Technically, if you want to protect all the outlets on a circuit, you only need to replace the first outlet in that circuit with a GFCI outlet. However, if an outlet further down the circuit gets tripped, all of the previous outlets in that circuit will trip as well, forcing you to find the GFCI outlet that’s first in the circuit and reset it.