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Old 01-12-2012, 07:14 AM   #1
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Replace receptacles and switches....


How hard is it to replace electrical outlets and light switches? I want to change about 6 outlets and 2 light switches. They work, but I want to replace them with white ones....

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Old 01-12-2012, 07:17 AM   #2
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Quote:
Originally Posted by rpearlberg
How hard is it to replace electrical outlets and light switches? I want to change about 6 outlets and 2 light switches. They work, but I want to replace them with white ones....
Pretty Easy just turn off power first

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Old 01-12-2012, 07:23 AM   #3
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Remove only one wire at a time or take digital pictures. Pay attention to the screw colors, especially on a 3 way switch. Look for the broken tab on the brass side on any switched receptacles. Connect a ground to all devices including switches.

If you are trying to replace non-grounded receptacles with 3 prong receptacles there are special considerations.

Use the screws instead of the backstabs. Make a clockwise loop around the screw. Only one wire per screw.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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Replace receptacles and switches....


On outlets---check and see if the side tab is snapped off before you wire in the new one--save the old outlets---leave them on the floor right where you removed them until you test your work.

Often an outlet is controlled by a switch--one side switched--the other side constant power--these will have two hot wires--on the brass screws---there is a 'tab' connecting the two brass screws--

That tab can be snapped off to allow the outlet to have hot on one side--switched on the other.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Replace receptacles and switches....


One thing to add.. I'd say while you're in there it also can't hurt to double check the connections, as in make sure any wire nuts aren't loose and wires are loose. I've replaced almost all of the switches/receptacles in my TH (they were painted over/etc), and some had questionable connections. If the wires feel loose in the nut (or the nut is loose), pop off the wire nut, and tighten the wires. Basically, looking at the end of the wires bunched together pointing at you, you want to make a clockwise motion twisting all the wires, which will make them tighter. Needle nose pliers work well. Then just put the wire nut back. The wires should hold themselves together very tightly w/o the wire nut. If you have a little too much extra wire (since some will be longer than others) sticking out at the end of the newly twisted bunch, just snip it off.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:33 PM   #6
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Also if your wires are silver coloured (aluminum) you will need to purchase receptacles and switches which are compatable with aluminum or you will have to pigtail with copper. How old is your house wiring?
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Some excellent suggestions on this thread. Especially the part about taking a digital photo BEFORE you begin unwiring the box, this is especially critical if the wiring is complicated, say there are multiple switches in one box. Another suggestion is to purchase an outlet tester, you can get the for about $10 at any big box store, and check the outlets before you do any work on them. The tester will tell you if there is an open ground, reversed hot/neutral, and several other problems. You want to do this before you rewire, else you will not know if your rewiring created a problem, or it was pre-existing.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:01 PM   #8
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Replace receptacles and switches....


This is about the most useful bunch of instructions on this common electrical task I think I've seen--
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:17 PM   #9
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Maybe it's worth a sticky?
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:35 PM   #10
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Oh'Mike .,

SVP do make it sticky because it will become a FAQ item.


The other thing if you have:

GFCI Repectales.,,

Please pay attetion to the line et load connection majorty of the new GFCI will not work if you get both pair or one side hook up backward.
( Et a tip along the way when you turn the GFCI on for the first time it will automatique kick out so you will have to hit the test/reset button then after that it will work fine if hooked up properly )

AFCI circuits.,

Just be extra carefull when you push the devices back in the box check to make sure you do not have any nicks on the conductors.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:48 AM   #11
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Replace receptacles and switches....


If you are going to make this a sticky please at least use the terms outlet and receptacle properly.
An outlet is any point on the circuit that can draw power(light, receptacle, fan, etc).
A receptacle is point where you plug in stuff like your TV, toaster, hairdryer etc.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:35 AM   #12
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Replace receptacles and switches....


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike
On outlets---check and see if the side tab is snapped off before you wire in the new one--save the old outlets---leave them on the floor right where you removed them until you test your work.

Often an outlet is controlled by a switch--one side switched--the other side constant power--these will have two hot wires--on the brass screws---there is a 'tab' connecting the two brass screws--

That tab can be snapped off to allow the outlet to have hot on one side--switched on the other.
Great point! I recently had to do this when installing 24 outlets the tabs are a trick to break, but yes, a lot of people don't realize if it has the tab to break it.

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