DIY Home Electrical Repair


Making electrical repairs at home can be intimidating to say the least. Getting shocked is what keeps most of us from attempting any electrical job. You could call an electrician, or you could do it yourself with the proper tools. Electrical repair can be done in a safe manner. Replacing an outlet is fairly easy and can be done in about 30 minutes.

How to Begin…

  1. Turn off the electricity from the source, which is usually a breaker.
  2. Remove the cover and test the outlet with a circuit tester to be certain there is no power going through it.
  4. Note how the wires are currently hooked up. You may even want to take a picture with your phone.
  5. Using a screwdriver, remove the wires from the outlet.
  6. If you aren’t sure how to hook the wires back up, separate the wires so that none are touching and turn the power back on.

Testing the wires…

  1. Using the circuit tester, check the wires to see which ones currently have power and mark them as the line wires (the other two will be the load wires).
  2. Check the wire ends for damage and trim any that are using wire cutting pliers. Then use needle-nose pliers to make a J shape at the end of the wire to hook onto the screw of the new outlet.

Attaching the wires…

  1. Connect the line wires to the side marked line  on the outlet by hooking the J shape onto the screws and snugging the screw.
  2. Connect the black wire to the gold screw and the white wire to the silver screw. Do the same for the other two wires on the load side.
  3. Connect the bare copper wire to the ground screw and snug it as well.

You’re almost done!

  1. Carefully push the wires back in and secure the outlet to the box.
  2. Turn the breaker back on and use a lamp or radio to test the outlet.
  3. If it works, and it should, you are all done! You have just saved yourself between $60 and $200!

If you have any questions or need help finding the right tools, just stop by your local Ace Hardware and ask for help from one of our courteous professionals in the red vests!


Various images (c) Think Stock 2013