How to Replace Two-Prong Outlets With Grounded Ones

How to Replace Two-Prong Outlets With Grounded Ones


Replacing old two-prong outlets with new grounded outlets is an important electrical upgrade to make in your home. Grounded outlets with three prongs provide an essential safety feature that two-prong outlets lack - a ground connection.

Upgrading to grounded outlets has several benefits:

Replacing two-prong outlets may seem intimidating, but it's a surprisingly straightforward process that a homeowner can tackle. With proper precautions, the right materials, and by following key steps, you can upgrade your outdated outlets to safer, modern grounded outlets.

Electrical Safety Precautions

When working with electrical wiring, safety should always be your top priority. Take the following precautions when replacing outlets:

What You Need

Steps to Replace a Two-Prong Outlet

1. Turn Off Power and Verify

Turn off the circuit breaker supplying power to the outlet you want to replace. Verify power is off by using a non-contact voltage tester or plugging in a test lamp.

2. Remove the Old Outlet

Use a screwdriver to remove the outlet cover plate screws. Carefully pull the outlet out from the electrical box but leave wires connected.

3. Disconnect Wires

There will likely be two wires connected to the outlet - a black "hot" wire and a white "neutral" wire. Disconnect them from the outlet.

4. Prep Wires

Strip away about 1/2" of insulation from each wire using wire strippers. Bend the ends into a hook shape.

5. Install New Grounded Outlet

Connect the black wire to the brass terminal, white wire to silver, and the new bare copper/green wire to the green terminal.

6. Secure Wires

Double check connections are tight and no copper is exposed. Secure the outlet and bundled wires neatly into the electrical box.

7. Replace Cover Plate

Install the new grounded outlet cover plate and switch power back on at the breaker. Verify proper function with a voltage tester.


Does the outlet box need to be grounded too?

Yes, the outlet box should also be grounded for full protection. Connect the outlet's ground wire to the grounding screw or wire inside the box.

What if there is no ground wire in the box?

You have a few options:

Can I just replace the outlet without rewiring?

Unfortunately no. You must run a new 3-wire cable to replace an ungrounded outlet properly. It's not advised to use an adapter or merely connect the ground prong to neutral.

Is it easy for a beginner DIYer?

Generally yes. The most important steps are turning off power, connecting matching wires, enclosing wires safely, and testing your work. With proper precautions, first-timers can successfully replace outlets. Consider hiring an electrician if you're unsure.


While most homes still contain dated two-prong outlets, upgrading to modern grounded outlets is an essential improvement for safety, performance, and bringing your home up to current codes. With the right materials, safety precautions, and by methodically following each wiring step, even first-time DIYers can replace outlets in their home. Taking the time to replace two-prong outlets provides important protection against electrical hazards.