How to Replace an Electrical Outlet

All electrical outlets have a fixed life span and over the course of time they become loose. When an outlet fails to hold a plug snugly, it’s time for a replacement. The Procedure for replacing an electrical outlet is pretty similar to that of replacing a switch. The only difference is that they have more wires attached to it than a usual light switch.

Here is a step by step guide on how to replace an old / faulty outlet with a new one.

Things Required:

– Screw driver
– Electrical Tester
– Wire Stripper
– Cutting Blade
– Flash Light, Solution Tape.


  • 1

    Turn off power

    Safety comes first. Power must be disconnected before attempting any change to the circuit. It can be achieved by turning off the circuit breaker for the room/area where the socket needs to be replaced. The Circuit breaker will be found in the Circuit breaker box, and if there is trouble identifying the right breaker in the box, an easy alternate is to turn off the main circuit breaker.

  • 2

    Remove Face Plate

    Use the screw driver to remove the screws on the faceplate.

  • 3

    Check again for power

    Use a flash light to distinguish live wire from the neutral one. Black one is the live wire. Test these wires with a tester.

  • 4

    Pull out socket

    Pull out the socket gently with its edges. Make sure not to touch the naked end of the wire. Touch the tester to the naked wire to double-check that it is disconnected from the circuit.

  • 5

    Understand colour coding

    Black wire: It is the hot or live wire. They are attached to the outlet with the help of brass coloured screws.
    White wire: It is the neutral or cold wire. It is affixed to the socket with the help of silver coloured screws.
    Sometimes there will be a third wire present. It will be green in colour and will be attached to the socket with green coloured screws.

  • 6

    Remember the wire configuration

    Take note of the configuration. No matter how simple it looks, once the wires are unscrewed a lot of people tend to forget the right order.

  • 7

    Matching the size and the current rating

    The new outlet should be exactly same in size or it will not fit. The current rating of both the outlets should also be same.

  • 8

    Installing the outlet

    Screw the new wires in the exact same pattern. Naked end of the wires should be sealed with a solution tape. Gently push the outlet back in and screw it up.

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