Dealing With Old Plugs

Do you find that every time you plug something in, it falls right out or it doesn’t work? This is a sign that you have worn out plugs in your home! Dealing with plugs that do not consistently work can be frustrating but the cost of hiring an electrician to come out and replace all of the plugs can be incredibly expensive. The outlet plugs literally cost about $1.29 each at Lowe’s or Home Depot. The frustrating part is how long it takes to replace them. This is where an electrician can make money on the labor costs, especially if you have a home with older plugs that are difficult to replace. The fact is that outlet plugs are actually quite simple to replace. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to follow:

  1. Shut off the circuit breaker to the area where you are replacing the plugs. If you are replacing an entire room, test all of the outlets before you start working on them as the North side of the room might be on a different circuit from the South side.
  2. Using a Standard screwdriver you will then removed the outlet cover plate. Some covers might require a Phillips screwdriver so it is a good idea to have both with you just in case, besides you will need a Phillips for the next part. On the top and bottom of the outlet there are screws that need to be removed from the wall to help loosen the outlet.
  3. On the side of the actual outlet there will be 2 sets of screws. This part is important as you need to install the new plugs to the correct color. One side will be silver and the other side will be gold. Now using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the bolt enough to loosen the wire from it to pull it out. Depending upon the type of plug you may have, there could also be a black switch you need to lift up on as you gently pull the wire from the back out your outlet. Once the wires are out, pull the old unit out of the wall.
  4. Using the new outlet you will attach the white wire around the neck of the silver terminal. If you have an older home, go by the wire color, silver to silver and gold to gold. The red or black wires will be the ones that attach to the copper or gold screws. Now using the Phillips screwdriver, carefully tighten the wires to the new outlet. There may be a green wire that will need to go around a green screw on the bottom of the outlet.
  5. From here you will carefully guide the outlet back into the junction box and use the screws provided with the outlet plug to secure it in place.
  6. Finally replace the outlet cover to your new outlet plug.
  7. Turn the power back on and test your working plug!

Replacing a plug is usally pretty simple. If you open up the junction box to see a confusing box from the one listed above, Youtube may be a good resource. If not, it might be a good idea to call an electrician. If you do not have the right tools, use this link to purchase high quality home repair tools:

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