How to Wire a 120-Volt Wall Outlet

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The majority of electrical outlets in homes are a standard 120-volt outlet type. It may be necessary on occasion to replace a worn or broken outlet. Fortunately for the homeowner, wiring a 120-volt outlet is a relatively simple process that can be done with only a screwdriver. Be sure to observe some simple safety precautions and the job will offer no difficulties.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil and paper
  • Turn off the power to the outlet at your circuit breaker box.

  • Remove the cover on the existing outlet by taking out the screw on the cover and pulling the cover off.

  • Loosen and remove the screw at the top and bottom of the outlet. Pull the outlet out of the wall as far as possible.

  • Loosen the screws on both sides of the outlet. Note which wires are attached to the screws. It may be useful to sketch out a diagram of the wiring on a piece of paper.

  • Slide the ends of the wire under the screw terminals on the sides of the new outlet. Tighten the screws to hold the wires in place.

  • Place the outlet into the wall box and attach it in place with screws at the top and bottom. Replace the cover.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never work on live electrical outlets

References

  • "Wiring 1-2-3"; The Home Depot; 2005
  • "Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual: Completely Revised and Updated"; Editors of The Family Handyman; 2005
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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