Removing Paint from Electrical Outlet


I live in an old apartment in New York City.
Some of the electrical receptacles which I wish to renovate are painted over with old paint.
Questions:
A) What is the best way to remove the old paint? Do you think I can simply use a chisel to scrape off the edges and the center screw?
B) Do I have to turn off the circuit while doing this?
C) If the lead paint test is positive, what precautions should I take, considering that I will only be scraping off the edges?
Thank you.
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You will spend more time trying to take the paint off then you would going and getting new ones.
Turn the breaker off anytime you do any kind of work on a receptacle.
If the paint tests positive for lead why is the landlord not taking care of this.?
I thought by law they had to.

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Tazz wrote:

I agree. Just buy new ones (get good ones not the cheap contractor grade trash) It will be easier and better and not expensive.
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

The receptacles are painted over completely with the wall paint, so i'ts impossible to remove the receptacles without first breaking off the paint first.
I tested the outer layer of paint for lead and received a negative response.
However, there might be an older underlying layer of paint. Do you think I should bother testing it? I won't be producing much dust by chipping off the receptacle's corners.
Thanks.
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redbrickhat spake thus:

You're talking about paint holding the receptacles to the wall, right? Not paint holding the covers on.
All you need to do is to cut around the metal frame of the receptacle with a sharp knife (like a utility knife) to free it from the wall. I'd disconnect the power when you do this just in case. You can then unscrew and pull the outlets away from the wall.
By the way, I agree with the consensus here that it's not worth saving the old outlets, and you should just pitch them and get new ones. The only reason to save the old ones is if they're antiques that you like the look of. I recently took some really old ceramic outlets out of a house that were completely covered with paint; I got it off by soaking the outlets in brake fluid for several days until the paint softened. Didn't hurt the outlets at all electrically.
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wrote:

Good grief. I cant believe how some people can make things so complicated.
1. Shut off the power 2. Take a screwdriver and bust the covers off. Just break them. 3. Remove the outlet screws and pull them out of the wall. 4. Replace them with new ones, and wire EXACTLY as they were. (remember, white wires to silver screws, black wires to gold colored screws, and green or bare wires to green screws). 5. Screw outlet back into wall box. 6. Install a new cover plate.
7. Dont worry about lead paint unless you are going to eat the old outlets and/or paint.
8 If you are still all paranoid about lead, go to a mental health center and seek therapy. Our government created this paranoia about lead, so let them pay for your care. Lead is NOT going to do you any harm unless you INJEST IT, or someone shoots you with it.
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Amen Brother! They all tend to forget all that lead spinning around on their car wheels. Probably shouldn't breath out next to a road eh? OH, and no fishing either. There is lead sinkers on those lines. What about hunting??......
--
Steve Barker



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wiggles@~~~~~~~~.com wrote in

Run a utility knife around the edge of the cover plate to eliminate/reduce paint chipping when you do step 2.

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redbrickhat wrote:

I would do the work trying to reduce any flaking of the paint, and then when done clean things up well. The real issue with lead paint is for young children who may eat the paint chips over a long period.
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On Mon, 16 Oct 2006 10:53:04 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I often wonder if children that eat paint should actually be allowed to continue and maybe even given more lead. If they are eating paint, they obviously are already retarded and have brain damaged. It might be best to leave them end their lives before they get older and shoot other kids in their schools. Attempting to eat cat or dog food is one thing, but eating paint is a sign of mental retardation.
When I was a kid, we ate FOOD and cookies when we were bored, not paint.
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wrote:

Depends on age. For young children (i.e. babies) it's absolutely normal for them to put anything they can reach into their mouth. This hand-to-mouth reflex helps them learn about texture, flavor and more. If a baby fails to follow this normal pattern, it may in fact indicate a developmental problem.
Everything-in-mouth is normal by about 4 months of age. By age one or two years they should be learning that not all items are suitable for insertion into the mouth or consumption.
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On Mon, 16 Oct 2006 19:11:10 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

When I was a baby, I only put one thing in my mouth..... MY PENIS !!!!! (Note: It was lead free).
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wiggles@~~~~~~~~.com writes:

IOW, does eating lead make kids stupid, or do stupid people eat lead?
One thing you may not know is that lead is sweet. Children(especially really young) are known to put all manner of things in their mouth... if by chance, they taste some paint, and it was sweet, they could be conditioned to continue licking/chewing the paint. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
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It won't come off very well no matter what you do and will probably look worse than they do now. Replace them or paint them

Yes
Why would you even be concerned about a tiny bit of paint? Do you plan to eat it? Just put in new receptacles and toss the old ones and don't worry about the paint.
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wrote in message

The receptacle covers you can throw in soapy water overnight and it will pretty much fall off with minor rubbing. That is, assuming it's latex paint.
Keep in mind while they are uncovered they are a shock hazard. If you have small kids then it's a bad idea to leave them uncovered for any amount of time.
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redbrickhat wrote:

I would not work on them with electricity on. First, use the point of a utility knife to pick paint out of the slot on the screw; best to use something to protect the rest so you don't gouge the plate if the knife slips. Best to score around the plate to cut the paint film, again using a straight edge and something to keep the knife from slipping beyone what you want to score. If it is old, hard enamel, it is likely to chip whether you score it or not. When you get the plate off, use an emery board to smoothe the outside edge of the plug. Have the vacuum handy to get the dust and chips.
I have spray painted some old, yellowed plastic outlets. Just took a small strip of paper as wide as the slot, folded it, and inserted fold into the slot. Leave enough sticking out to be able to grasp it but not so long that it blocks the spray. Make a template to protect the wall. If the plugs don't get a lot of wear and tear, paint will adhere. If the plates are metal or wood, you can put them and the screws into paint remover. Clean up with very fine steel wool. If you are lucky, they will be copper or brass.
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