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Un-Respectable Receptacle

August 31, 2010

Here I go again – trying to put a charge into your life. But this time you are going to have to work for it. I am going to help you replace your un-respectable receptacle. Your outlets (or receptacles) are commonly abused during their daily use and must be replaced (it’s a crime for sure, but not one punishable by anything more severe than a few minutes of hard DIY time). You do not have to hire the $150 an hour electrician. You can do this yourself and put the money you save away for a power saw or something. 

 Although I hate to repeat myself, I’m going to just once more: Turn off the current.

  1. Okay, twice: Turn off the current.
  2. Maybe just one more time for good measure: Turn off the current.
  3. After you have TURNED OFF THE CURRENT, unscrew the outlet and remove it from the box in the wall.
  4. Check to see if the outlet is “switched” – this means does it turn on and off with a switch (as it does when there’s a lamp plugged into it). The best way to tell is to see if there are two different colored hot wires attached to the same outlet. You will also look to see if the metal tab between the gold (hot) screws has been removed.
  5. As you complete #5, keep a note or diagram of how the wires are attached to the old outlet. Notes are a girl’s best friend when it comes to DIY projects.
  6. If you find that the outlet is switched, you will need to remove the tab between the hot terminals on the new one. Be sure to put the wires back the same way they were on the outlet you removed.
  7. Remove the wires from the terminal screws and attach the new outlet in its place the same way. For a non-switch outlet, the green ground wire goes to the green screw; the white (neutral) wire(s) goes to the silver terminal(s); and the black (hot) wire goes to the gold terminal(s).
  8. Place the outlet back in the hole and secure it with the screws.
  9. Replace the cover plate.
  10. Turn your electricity back on and check to see if you have current. NO? Then DO NOT stick something in the socket – use a lamp or dryer to check it.

 I hope you are not shocked by how simple it is to change an outlet. After all, we are all adults here. Let me know if you have any questions before you begin your wiring adventures. It can be a hair-raising experience if not done correctly.

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