Replacing an Electrical Outlet

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There are a few reasons why you may want to change out an electrical outlet. If your current plug is:

  • painted over.
  • cracked.
  • or you just don’t like the color.

You can easily do it yourself.

Please note: This video only covers changing electrical outlets for aesthetic reasons. If your outlet does not function from issues such as a short or a fire, then you should not attempt to replace it and should instead consult a professional electrician. Further, this video only covers standard electrical outlets and not GFI protected outlets.

For this project you will need the following tools:

  • a new electrical outlet
  • electric nuts
  • a flat head screwdriver
  • a philips head screwdriver
  • needle-nose pliers
  • a wire stripper
  • a voltage detector
  • a new outlet plate


Go to your main circuit panel, find the breaker labeled for the room you are working in and switch it to the off position.


Use your voltage detector to make sure that the outlet has no power.


Unscrew and remove the plate. Carefully unscrew the screws at the top and bottom of the outlet that holds it in the junction box.


Gently pull the entire outlet out of the wall. Make a visual inspection. If you notice any exposed wires, put an electric wingnut on them


Now find where the wires are attached to the outlet. If it is an older receptacle, you may have to insert a screwdriver to release the wires.  On newer receptacles, loosen the screws on the side just far enough to release the wires. If you cant release them, clip them close to the connection and then carefully strip away the insulation to expose the copper.


Make sure the wires aren’t frayed at tall. If they are, clip the wire and insulation for a clean connection. Curve the wires around the screws. Black wires for the Hot side and White for the other. Be sure to check the labeling on the back. Be sure to also attach the ground wire. For the best connection, make sure that enough of the insulation is removed so only the copper wire is under the screw when attached.


With the wires connected to the new outlet, gently push it back into the junction box. Secure it to the Junction box and install the new cover plate. Be careful not to over tighten the screw as it can crack the plate.


Lastly, turn the circuit breaker back on for the room. Test the outlet to make sure it’s in good working order, and you’re done.