I bought an old condo after moved out from my parents' house. I would
like to replace all almond-color electrical plugs with white plugs.
The plug and the cover are pretty cheap at HD.
I pulled out one and it doesn't seem too complicate but I'm not sure.
What do I need to know before I will give it a shot?
You advice is greatly appreciated.
Step #1: Know where the breaker box is, how to locate a particular circuit
and turn off the breaker for it.
Step #2: Know which wire goes to which color of screw in the outlet.
Step #3: Know how much insulation to strip from the wire, how to do it, how
to make an eye in the bare wire and which way to place the eye on the screw.
1) Make sure the outlet is dead before you mess with it. Plug in a
throw the correct breaker to make it turn off. Repeat it on
and back off.
This is very important. You might have a bad bulb and the
still be live. You need to make the outlet dead...... for
2) When you remove the old outlet , you should see the following:
A white wire that goes to the silver colored screw, which is
the side of the outlet with the longer slit. This is the
A black wire that goes to the gold colored screw, which is
the side of the outlet with the shorter slit.(This is the
A bare copper wire that goes to a little green screw at one
the outlet. This is the safety ground wire. Sometimes the
doesn't use this. However, you should make sure it is
on your new outlet. It connects the safety ground to the
pencil sized hole beneath both of the slits on the outlet,
or may not be used, depending on what you plug in..... But
important to have it.....
If your outlet has more than one wire going to any of the
then try to copy it the same way for your new outlet. It
several outlets may be "daisy chained" and you need to do
If any of this doesn't seem to fit what you see when you
look at the
inside of the old outlet, then stop, put everything back,
a ham radio operator or a neighbor's husband who wears jeans
to work and drives an old truck..... You will need their
As no one else has mention this, Angela's existing recepticals may have
back stabbed connections, in which case she should cut the wires as
close to the receptical as possible, then strip them to make the screwed
connections on the new ones.
If the wire isn't inserted properly, it will have a less than adequate
contact inside the receptacle, which will ultimately cause an open circuit.
Older receptacles were designed to accept #12 conductors, which due to
potentially higher amperage draw, I suppose, added to the potential for an
I'm sure a google search will give you pictures and descriptions of how to
do this. Other than the basic mechanics of stripping the wire and looping
the end around the screw in the direction so that tightening the screw,
closes your loop of your wire, white wires go to silver screws and colored
wires go to brass screws, green or bare wires go to green grounding screws,
you need to be conscious of any outlets that are controlled by a wall
switch. Often when this is done, half the outlet remains live, and half is
controlled by the switch. The wiring scheme looks the same as any other
daisy-chained outlet, except there is a small brass tab on the "hot" side of
the outlet, that must be cut first. If it's not cut, the switch will have no
affect on the outlets it should control. Also, be aware that there may be
other wires in the outlet box, that are not attached to the outlet. These
may be from another circuit and may be alive, leave them alone
I hear ya. These are the pitfalls for amateurs. If it's a relatively new
building, and was wired to code, the neutrals of any Edison circuits will be
pigtailed... and if not, separating the neutrals off the receptacle can be
dangerous and or painful
You are not talking about receptacles. Others are. Get a clue.
This is the same kind of "thinking" as conservatives that claim that the
Democrats want to institute "death panels". Just ignore reality, and charge
Fortunately, they are not correct. If you actually read it, you'd know that.
Do you really think asking your doctor questions about options for a terminally
ill family member is the same as a "death panel"? Really? If so, I feel sorry
for your family.
This kind of scaremongering makes the right wing look really psycho. And it's
all they are doing.
Top posted, to not break the previous responders form.
Stormin Mormon wrote:
Don't buy the cheap outlets in the bulk 49 cent bin at the end of the
aisle. Look for "spec" or "commercial" grade ones, they'll be a few
dollars each, but will last longer and your plugs won't fall out of
Some outlets let you just plug the wires into spring-loaded holes in
the back. Don't do that. Wrap the wires around the screws and tighten
them. (Some outlets let you insert wires into slots and then tighten
them with screws. That's ok, providing you can feel the wire fastened
tightly in the slot when the screw is tight.)
And get a 3-light outlet tester so you can make sure they're all
hooked up right. Use it on the old outlets *before* you disconnect
them, so you can see if the connections are right to begin with (and
then again to make sure the outlet is dead before you open it up.)
If you have any outlets where one plug is controlled by a wall switch,
look very carefully: you'll see the metal tab connecting the two hot
screws has been broken off. You'll need to duplicate this on the
replacement. Make sure to remember which hot wire is which (one of
them comes from the switch) when you reconnect it, so you'll know
which half is switched. If you forget to break the tab, you just won't
be able to switch the outlet off. You *may* find this also on some of
your kitchen outlets, where one of the hot wires will be red. If you
forget to break the tab on that one, expect rather more spectacular
results when you try to put the breaker back on.
If the old wiring doesn't have a ground, you *should* replace the
outlets with GFCI's, and use the "no equipment ground" sticker that
comes with them. Also any outlet near a sink, any outlet in the
bathroom and any outlet outdoors (in the U.S., maybe any outlet
anywhere in the kitchen?) should be GFCI.
As you work, keep notes of which outlets are on which breaker. This
will come in very handy someday.
If you find that some of the outlets are in holes in the wall without
boxes, or have multiple wires connected to one screw, or just plain
don't work ... well, you know where to find us.
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