Homes in the United States are powered with both 220-volt electricity and 110-volt electricity. Outlets have three holes allowing for both power and ground wire connection. Two of the holes are used for grounding as an additional safety measure. High power devices, such as hot tubs, electric dryers and electric stoves utilize 220-volt connections. The remainder of the electrical connections are 110-volt outlets. Outlet installation requires 14 gauge wire for 15-amp circuits, and 12 gauge wire 20-amp applications. The same electrical outlet can be used for either 15-amp or 20-amp installations.
Things You'll Need
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- 110-volt outlet
- Face plate
- Wire cutters
- Wire stripper tool
Turn off the electrical breaker, in the main breaker box, that feeds the outlet with electricity. Remove the face plate from the outlet box.
Use the Phillips screwdriver to loosen and remove the top and bottom retaining screws on the old or broken 110-volt outlet. The screws hold the outlet in place by attaching the metal wings, above and below the outlet, to the electrical box.
Pull the electrical outlet out of the electrical box. Disconnect the electrical lines from the sides of the outlet. Loosen the screws on the sides to remove the copper wires. Discard the old outlet.
Examine the new outlet to locate the brass screws, the silver screws and the green screw.
Connect the copper wire with the black insulation to a brass screw. Connect the copper wire with white insulation to a silver screw. On dual outlet plugs, the side screws are connected to plates powering both the top and bottom outlets. Connection to only one screw on each side is necessary. Connect the bare copper wire to the green screw.
Press the wire back into the electrical box and push the outlet into the box to align the retaining screw holes. Examine the wires to ensure bare wires do not touch other bare wires. Insert and tighten the retaining screws.
Replace the face plate. Turn on the circuit breaker powering the electrical outlet.
Tips & Warnings
- Always connect the black wire to the brass screw. Improper installation reverses the polarity on the outlet. Reversed polarity outlets, when in use, may cause sparks, fires or electrical damage to polarized devices.
- If running wire to a new outlet, you must first install a circuit breaker. See the resources section for breaker installation guidance. Run the wire from the breaker to the outlet electrical box, then follow the above instructions for installation.
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