How to Wire a 115 Volt Electrical Outlet

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Working with or repairing electrical outlets is pretty straightforward when following a few guidelines. However, the most important thing to remember is that electricity is dangerous and can kill anyone, regardless of experience level, if not handled with extreme care. Electrical outlets are the lifeblood of the home as they distribute electricity to our lights, appliances, and other devices. Occasionally, they will wear out and need to be replaced and wired. Knowing how to wire a 115-volt electrical outlet is very important so it can be done correctly and safely.

Things You'll Need

  • 115-volt outlet (new)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Utility knife
  • Electrical voltage tester
  • Turn off all power to the outlet to be wired at the main circuit breaker.

  • Follow the manufacturer guidelines to test the circuit to make sure the power is off, using the voltage tester. The voltage meter should read zero.

  • Locate the wiring where the outlet is to be mounted. Using the utility knife, carefully cut about 3 inches of the outer sheathing away. Cut gently down the side toward the end of the wire and peel back the sheathing and cut it way. Always cut away from your body to prevent injury should the knife slip.

  • Find three wires inside -- black (hot), white (neutral) and green/bare (ground). Using the strippers, cut away 1 inch of insulation on each of the wires. If the ground wire is bare, no stripping will be needed for this wire.

  • Attach the wires to the appropriate screws using the screwdriver. Attach the black wire to the gold/brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw and the green/bare wire to the green screw. Make sure all connections are tightened to a snug fit.

  • Mount the outlet inside the electrical box using the included screws. Attach the cover plate over the outlet box.

  • Turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. Carefully test the electrical lines with the voltage tester. They should read 115 volts.

Tips & Warnings

  • This project, which deals with installing the outlet, assumes that all the wiring has already been installed to the main circuit panel. If you need additional help actually running the wiring, please see the Resources links below.
  • Make sure that you have the polarity right between the wiring and the receptacle, and that the colors all match as listed in step 5 to prevent injury or fire.
  • If a ground screw is not available, attach the ground wire to the box. Never attach the ground wire and neutral wires together as this can be very dangerous.
  • Be sure that all electrical work meets the building codes in your area and consult a licensed electrician if needed.

References

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