How to Replace an Electrical Outlet

If your old outlet has become so loose that a cord barely stays in place, it's time to change it. It's not just an annoyance—it's a hazard.

You will need

  • A flathead screwdriver
  • A digital camera
  • A new outlet
  • Wire cutters
  • Voltage detector

Step 1 Cut the power Cut the power to the outlet by flipping the circuit breaker or removing the fuse at the main panel.

Step 2 Remove outlet cover When you’re certain the power is off, unscrew and remove the outlet cover.

Step 3 Remove the outlet Unscrew and remove the outlet itself from the electrical box. Notice how the wires are connected to it, either by two screws on the sides of the outlet, or fastened to the back.

Step 4 Detach wires Detach the wires. If they are attached on the side by screws, loosen the screws with the screwdriver. If they’re inserted in holes in the back, place the screwdriver in the slot located next to each hole to release the wire.

Step 5 Get a new outlet Take your old outlet to the hardware store and purchase a new one just like the old one.

Step 6 Reconnect wires Install the new outlet by connecting the green or bare copper ground wire first. Bend the tip of the wire into a loop with the wire cutter and curl it around the screw in a clockwise direction. Use the screwdriver to tighten the screw into place.

Step 7 Connect wires Connect the white wire, followed by the rest of the wires.

Step 8 Replace the outlet Replace the outlet in the electrical box, making sure the green or bare copper grounding wire is not touching the other wires.

Step 9 Replace the cover Replace the outlet cover.

Step 10 Restore power Turn the power back on. You can use a voltage detector to check the outlet for power, or test it with an appliance. Congratulate yourself for a job well done.