How to Replace a 220 Electric Plug

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A 220-volt outlet has two separate 110-volt 'hot' wires running to it that when combined equal the 220 volts needed. There are a total of four wires in a 220v outlet circuit, the two hot wires, one neutral, and ground wire for safety. 220-volt circuits are used to power major home appliances such as a stove, dryer, water heater and air conditioner. Each appliance plug may differ by make or model, so you will want to verify that you have the correct type before installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical tester probe
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters/strippers (if needed)
  • Needlenose pliers
  • 220 volt outlet
  • Turn off power to the 220-volt outlet at the main service panel.

  • Verify the outlet is off by turning on the test probe and inserting the end into each slot on the outlet. If no light lights up and there is no beeping sound, then the outlet is off and safe to replace.

  • Loosen and remove each screw that is holding the cover plate over the outlet. Loosen each of the screws that is securing the electrical wiring to the outlet. Once the screws are loose, pull the wiring loose from the outlet. Locate the screws that are securing the outlet to the wall and loosen them. Pull the outlet out and let the wires hang free for a moment.

  • Insert the wiring through the hole in the back of the new outlet and pull it out the front. Slide the outlet up to the wall. Screw in a screw through each mounting hole to secure it to the wall. If the ends of each of the wires are worn or old, then clip the ends off using the wire cutters, and strip one inch of insulation off each end for a new connection. Using the needlenose pliers, bend a half loop in the end of each wire to help hold the wire in place as it is tightened under the screws.

  • Connect the wiring to each of the designated screws on the outlet, and tighten the screws down onto the wires. Connect the black and red (hot) wires to the brass screws, the white (neutral) wire to the silver screw, and the bare/green (ground) wire to the green screw.

  • Slide the new outlet cover over the outlet and insert a screw through each mounting hole and tighten it down with the screwdriver.

  • Turn the power back on at the main service panel. Insert the test probe into each slot to verify that power is running to the outlet. When you hear the beeping sound and the light lights up, the outlet is ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • It may be helpful to disassemble your existing outlet, and take it with you to a hardware store to ensure you purchase the same make or model. You could also take the owner's manual of the appliance that will be using the outlet as well.
  • Never work on any electrical circuit without first turning it off and then testing the outlet to make sure it is off. Contact with a 'hot' electrical circuit could result in serious injury or even death.

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