How to Replace a Faulty Outlet By Yourself Without Getting Electrocuted


Replacing a faulty outlet is a task that many homeowners want to tackle themselves to save money on hiring an electrician. However, working with electricity poses a real risk of electrocution if proper safety precautions are not taken. With adequate preparation and by following important safety steps, you can replace a faulty outlet safely without getting shocked.

Before You Start

Before beginning any electrical work, make sure you have the right tools and take some preliminary safety steps:

Working on an outlet with the power still on risks electrocution! Always turn off the circuit breaker and verify with a voltage tester before starting.

Removing the Old Outlet

With the power safely off, you can now remove the old, faulty outlet:

  1. Unscrew and remove the outlet cover plate.
  2. Unscrew the mounting screws holding the outlet in its electrical box.
  3. Carefully pull the outlet out about 2 inches from the box.
  4. Photograph and label the wires connected to the outlet so you know how to reconnect them properly later.
  5. Unscrew the wires from the outlet and detach them.

Installing the New Outlet

After disconnecting the old outlet, follow these steps to install the new replacement outlet:

  1. Check for voltage again with a tester to ensure the circuit is dead. Safety first!
  2. Connect the wires to the new outlet in the same configuration as the old outlet. Secure the connections tightly with the screws.
  3. Push the outlet back into the electrical box gently, avoiding pinching any wires.
  4. Screw the outlet firmly in place through the mounting ears on the sides.
  5. Replace the cover plate and screw it in securely.
  6. Carefully turn the circuit breaker back on and test that the outlet is functioning properly with a lamp or voltage tester.

Helpful Safety Tips

Replacing an outlet is well within the DIY capabilities of many homeowners if proper safety precautions are taken. Following the steps above and paying close attention to avoiding live wires will allow you to upgrade faulty outlets safely. However, if at any point you feel unsure, stop and call a licensed electrician to avoid potentially fatal shocks from DIY electrical mistakes. Safety should always be the top concern when working with home electrical systems.