How to Install a Duplex Receptacle From the Ground Up


"Duplex receptacle" is a fancy name for your standard two-outlet electrical socket. Installing a duplex receptacle is an easy do-it-yourself job once a few of the fundamentals of electrical wiring are understood. Duplex receptacles must always be grounded. Grounding is the process of connecting the metal parts on the receptacle to your electrical grounding system. This reduces the risk of serious electrical shock by dispersing an electrical charge throughout the grounding system as opposed to delivering the entire shock to an individual.

Things You'll Need

  • Voltage tester
  • Duplex receptacle(s)
  • Wire strippers or wire-cutting pliers
  • Wire nuts
  • Mounting screws
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Turn off the electricity to the area where you plan to work. The safest way to do this is by turning off the electricity to the entire house by turning off the main breaker in your panel box. The main breaker is the largest breaker at the top of your panel box above all of the smaller breakers. Make sure the electricity is off by testing the wires at the location where you plan to work using your voltage tester.

  • Strip 3/4 inch of the plastic insulation off of the hot black wire and the white neutral wire coming from your home's receptacle box using your wire strippers. Wires can also be stripped using wire-cutting pliers, but you have to be extremely careful not to damage the inner conductor when cutting off the plastic insulation. The ground wire will already be bare copper, so there's no need to strip it.

  • Bend small hooks on the tips of each wire coming from your home's receptacle box. The hooks should be large enough to fit around the screws on your duplex receptacle. There should be three wires coming from the home's electrical box: a black hot wire, a white neutral wire and a bare ground wire. If this is not the case, consult a professional as your home may not be wired correctly.

  • Hook the black wire around the brass (gold) screw on your duplex receptacle in a clockwise direction, and tighten the screw using your Phillips head screwdriver. Hook the white wire around the silver screw on your duplex receptacle, and tighten the screw. Hook the bare ground wire around the green ground screw on your duplex receptacle, and tighten the screw.

  • Push the wires inside of the electrical box, and mount your duplex receptacle using the two long mounting screws.

  • Cover your duplex receptacle with a receptacle cover, and secure it with the one short mounting screw that goes in the center of the cover plate.

  • Turn on the electricity and test your duplex receptacle.

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