Featured Electrical Wiring Article
Replacing Electrical Outlets
If you are a handy do-it-yourselfer, you can easily replace an old, worn out or damaged electrical receptacle inexpensively and in a relatively short amount of time. First, and foremost, you want to cut the power to the outlet and then make double sure you flipped the right breaker. Use a voltage tester to make sure there is no live electricity before you get started. Use only rubber insulated tools and you're ready to get started.
Take off the faceplate and then unscrew the screws holding the receptacle. Make sure you have both a rubber insulated flathead screwdriver and a rubber insulate Philips screwdriver handy. Also, make sure you have electrical tape, just in case, though you may not need it. Sometimes, what starts out as a simple job becomes much more difficult because someone has painted over the outlet. If so, it could be a little more difficult to remove. Try inserting the flathead screwdriver behind the receptacle and gently pry it out. Once the receptacle is out, you will need to separate the wires and ensure that the receptacle is free from dirt or debris of any kind. If necessary, vacuum it out.
Basically, you want to attach the existing wires to the new outlet in exactly the same way they are attached. You can either separate all the wires and attach them to the new outlet or you can just remove one wire at a time and then attach in the same place as it was attached.
Consider Replacing Old Outlets With GFCI
While you're replacing your old outlets, it only makes sense to go ahead and replace them with GFCI devices. You may need a drywall saw if you need to widen the outlet a little but basically, you will just do the same thing. The difference is that GFCI outlets offer more protection against electrocution as they have the capacity to shut off the electricity before a fatal shock can occur. In fact, new homes are required to have GFCI devices in certain places, such as the bathroom, garage, and anywhere within 6 feet of where water is used.
Installing New Outlets
Installing new electrical outlets is a bit more involved but other than cutting into the wall and running the wire, it is basically the same principle. In this case, you would run the wire from the breaker box to the new outlet, which would best be accomplished if you were tearing out walls or adding on to your home. Of course, you can still accomplish this without completely tearing out walls if you just need to add an outlet but it will be more difficult.