How to Wire Electrical Sockets

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Whether you are working on a remodeling project or new construction, the electrical work is one of the most important parts of the job. Anytime you install or replace an outlet, you need to make sure that it is wired correctly. Following a few basic steps will help you wire electrical sockets correctly and safely. Always remember that electricity can be deadly, and always consult a certified electrician before doing any electrical work.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical outlet (new)
  • Screwdriver
  • Voltage line tester
  • Locate the main circuit panel and the breaker that supplies power to the electrical line you will be working on. Turn the breaker to the off position.

  • Locate the outlet to be replaced. Using the voltage line tester, carefully insert one probe into the left side of the outlet and the other probe into the right side. If no lights come on, then power has been turned off. If lights do light up, return to the main circuit panel and turn the breakers off until you test the line and find there is no power reaching the wiring or outlet to be worked on.

  • Using the screwdriver, remove the screw that secures the outlet cover plate. Place the cover plate and screw off to the side for later use.

  • Unscrew the screws that mount the outlet to the electrical box. Pull the outlet out as far as the wiring will allow to gain access to the back or side of the outlet.

  • With the screwdriver, loosen the screws to each of the three wires and disconnect the outlet from the wiring. Discard the old outlet.

  • Attach the new outlet to the existing wiring using the following procedure:

    Connect the black/red (hot) wire to the gold/brass screw. Attach the white (neutral) wire to the silver screw. Attach the green/bare (ground) wire to the green screw. Make sure each of the screws are tightened to a snug fit.

  • Push the the wiring back up into the box and attach the outlet to the electrical box using the screws and screwdriver. Tighten each screw until it is snug.

  • Replace the electrical outlet cover plate and the screw you set aside earlier.

  • Turn the power to the outlet back on at the main circuit breaker.

  • Using the voltage line tester, insert a probe into the left side of the outlet and insert the other probe into the right side. The lights on the tester should now light up, indicating there is power to the outlet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never allow any part of your body to come in contact with the metal tips of the voltage line probes as they are inserted into the outlet as this could result in injury or electrocution.
  • Make sure that all electrical work meets the building codes for your area.
  • Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for your particular voltage line tester model to ensure its safe and proper use.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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