You can certainly change an outlet by yourself with simple tools. Unless it is required by your local laws, you don’t need to call an electrician on changing an outlet. However, if you’re not sure or you don’t have any experience in similar tasks, calling a repairman should be a better option.
When will you need an electrician to change an outlet?
Installing an outlet is an easy job and can be done with just one person. There are a few steps and safety tips you need to follow in order to keep yourself safe in the repairing process, such as making sure that the power is off, using the right tools and methods to make sure your outlet is safe after changing.
You also need to have some electricity knowledge, such as how it works, how electricity travels through wires, and basic knowledge of wires and colors. It is also needed that you have a good assessment skill set, needed in case you need to figure out what is going with your outlet and do appropriate responses.
When do you need an electrician for an outlet?
It is extremely not recommended to install an outlet by yourself if you don’t know anything about it. Unless you have all we listed above, you should spend 20 – 30 bucks to call for an electrician, because he will know what to do.
Otherwise, you might face a lot of problems that cost you much more money than 20 to 30 bucks.
What are the risks of installing an outlet wrong?
Although you might see an outlet as a small gadget in your house, installing it in the wrong way might affect the whole grid of your house. On a larger scale, it can burn your house and your neighborhood down, so don’t ever risk it.
Here is the list of what can go wrong and the consequences:
- The wires might be connected wrong, for example, red wire connected to green wire, causing short circuits, and thus, fire.
- The wires are connected in a wrong way, thus, can’t work in the way they’re expected to, so, fire.
- The grounded wire is not connected to the ground, which is a common mistake, causing unwanted electric shocks when plugging in.
How can I install an outlet by myself?
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to install an outlet yourself, you’ll need the following items to do so safely and properly.
The required tools
The following are the tools you’ll need to complete the installation:
- A screwdriver
- A wire cutter
- A needle-nose pliers
- The new outlet
- Some extra wires and screws
Be noted that the new outlet should be in the exact same size as your old outlet, since you really don’t want to do some modification to the wall just to install a couple of sockets. Keep your eyes on the 3-point or 4-point sockets, because you also need to buy the same kind in order to fit it in. There are two types of outlet:
- Ungrounded: Ungrounded outlets have two holes. This type doesn’t guarantee that in case the appliances go wrong, you’ll be safe.
- Grounded: Grounded outlets usually have 3 or 4 holes. This type ensures that if there’s any electricity going out of hands, it goes directly into the ground instead of your body. So you’ll be safe.
Cut off the power.
Make sure your circuit breaker is switched off before touching the outlet or wires. By testing the cords you’re about to deal with, be sure there’s no electricity flowing through them. Turn off the power to your entire house if you’re not sure.
Remember if you feel even the tiniest shock in the wires, stay away from them for your safety.
Take off the old receptacle
Use the screwdriver to unscrew the outlet plate. You will notice at least one screw on top and one screw on the bottom to hold the plate in place. After removing all the screws, you can now take the plate out.
Then, you’ll see a bunch of wires, and your job is to cut them all off.
Before using the wire cutter, you need to check the wires again for shock just to be sure.
Restrip and connect the wire to the new outlet
Try not to over-twist the wires. Snip off the end of a wire if it appears cut or damaged, or if it appears to have been twisted multiple times.
Connect the wires to the new outlet, referring to the guide below:
- If your outlet has two holes, which means it doesn’t have the ground wire, connect the red/black wire to the left side of the outlet, the white/silver one to the right side.
- If your outlet has three holes, which means you have to account for the ground wire, connect the ground wire (usually in green) to the middle hole.
Remember that the colors we specified above are the usually used colors, not always. Therefore, if your house’ electrical grid uses a different standard, you must follow them.
Replace the plate and turn on the power
The final step should be replacing the plate into its previous position. Remember to put all the screws that you took out into the right positions.
When everything is done, you can turn the power back on again. Because everything can go wrong sometimes, make sure you have the fire extinguishers ready.
Enjoy your success
Everything can now work as expected. You can feel free to plug in whatever appliances you want to use.
Changing an outlet is the task that most of us can do by ourselves at home. However, if you don’t have any experience with electricity, it is recommended that you call for an electrician to change an outlet. Finally, if you decide to do it on your own, make sure that you put your safety above all before getting your hands on the job.