Sunday, May 15, 2011

How To: Change An Electrical Outlet

I have recently gotten permission from our landlord to paint our apartment so, I have been diligently working to change the color of our walls from the 5 shades of white they currently are to the wonderful new colors they are going to be. I'll have a whole post about wall colors soon, but right now, we're going to have a little how-to post. You see, as part of the wall color change, I was tired of the old almond colored outlets and the fact that half of them don't work so well anymore. So, Mr. B and I purchased new outlets and light switches and we're changing to new white outlets and light switches. It's pretty awesome. And I figured, what a great time to tell you how to do it! Enjoy...

And remember, I'm not an electrician...and all the jibber jabber that says you can't hold me liable if you try to electrocute yourself while doing this repair. You know, I just need to cover all my bases, I know y'all are smart people and what not.

Ok...so onto changing the electrical outlets.

First, and this is VERY IMPORTANT. Turn off the electricity to the outlet. They make cool little gadgets to check the outlet, feel free to use one of those. I don't have one so I just plugged a fan into the outlet and turned it on. If it ran, I knew I had the wrong circuit. If it didn't I knew I had turned the electricity off to the correct outlet. Once you're sure you have the electricity turned off, you can follow the steps below. And NEVER assume you know which circuit the outlet is on...sometimes an outlet will surprise you with what circuit it is on...so, remembering the disclaimer above, here's what you do!


I don't have a picture of the outlet with the outlet cover on it.
I had taken it off to paint the wall and wasn't putting that HIDEOUS
thing back on for the sake of this blog.
You know what an outlet with an outlet cover on it looks like.
Just use your imagination!



You can also call the black wire the "live" wire.







At this point, you can go ahead and check that the outlet works. I suggest plugging in your item before turning the current on to the outlet. If you accidentally touch the wires, you'll get a nice little jolt. So, go ahead and turn the circuit back on and test the outlet. If the outlet doesn't work, TURN THE CIRCUIT OFF AGAIN and check that everything is well attached. If necessary, call an electrician! If all has worked well, with the electricity OFF, follow the next steps!




So, there you go. That's how you change an outlet! It's really pretty easy. Because the wires are kind of thick, it may take some wrestling to get them to work with you, but they will do it! Just show them who's boss!

I must say, after having changed the outlet covers, a phone jack and a light switch, I am quite pleased with myself. I take a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment at just knowing that I can do these little handy fix-it tasks around the house. It's empowering. I may be crazy, but that's the case for me! So, ladies, feel free to set your husbands down in front of the t.v. and take on a home improvement task. It's pretty awesome!!

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