How To Rewire an Outlet

At one point in your life you are going to need to rewire your electrical outlet. You can hire a professional electrician to get the job done or you can read on, save money and do it yourself. You’re reading this because your electrical outlet has been damaged cause of an overload or perhaps you are just changing the outlet to a newer one. Whatever the reason is, you have come to the right place. Follow some simple steps and you are on your way toward saving yourself some money and becoming more of the handyman.

  • There are different kinds of electrical outlets out there so it is important to first figure out which kind of outlet you are about to rewire. Different outlets serve different electrical appliances and their number of prongs differ. The typical two-pronged outlet is not a grounded unit. There are others which have three- prongs and these have GFIs, which are ground-fault interrupters. If you have one of these, you are working with a grounded outlet. Whatever the case, both are similarly wired so let us move on to the next step.
  • The smartest thing you can do is to disconnect the power. This is for safety reasons. It can save you from an unexpected electrical shock. You can do this by disconnecting power from the main circuit breaker of the building. This should be easy enough to figure out but if you are unable to find it, you can call up your electrical company and they should be happy to help you out.
  • Now that is it officially safe to work on the outlet, you are going to need to get at the wires beneath the faceplate. Typically, outlets use flathead screws that you need to remove. You can use a drill or even a screwdriver to do this job and remove the faceplate of the outlet.
  • Remove all the screws from the unit itself. You need to be gentle as you remove the unit from the actual electrical outlet box. You do not want to damage any of the internal components now. After you have removed the unit, it will be dangling by the wires since you have also removed the screws that were supporting the unit and holding it in place.
  • The positioning of the wires is very important. Use labels to be able to identify which wire goes were on the outlet so you can return the wires after you are done rewiring. You can use masking tape and use different colored marks to help match wire to outlet receptacle.
  • Since you have already detached all the wires, you can now remove the old outlet plug and install the new one. The important thing here is to rewire it in the reverse order that it was removed. The colored masking tape should be of great help to you now in this task.
  • Usually, but not always, white wires go with silver screws. Black wires match up with terminals that are brass colored. There should be a green grounding wire if your outlet has a GFI. Attach this green wire with the green screw that you find.
  • Finally you can put the whole thing back together. Simply slide the outlet back into its electrical housing, replace the holding screws and affix the faceplate back on.


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