How to Replace a 120-Volt Electrical Wall Outlet

Attaching a new receptacle to electrical box
Attaching new receptacle to electrical box.

Step 7: Attach Receptacle to Box

Gently push the wires and receptacle into the box – don’t force it. If the receptacle won’t fit, carefully rearrange the wires until you can tuck them all safely in the box.

Which way to face the ground plug on a receptacle?

Whether to install a grounded outlet with the ground plug facing up (as shown in the photo above) or down is a matter of debate among electricians. Some feel that installing the ground plug up is safer (since the hot prongs on a plug will not be exposed if it pulls partly out of the receptacle) while others think down provides the most protection (since the plug will still be grounded if it pulls loose). Both ways are considered acceptable under building codes.

Once the new receptacle is in place, attach it to the electrical box using the two screws so the metal “ears” next to the screws on the top and bottom are flush with the wall.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I have two ceiling fans (bedroom & living room) which are controlled by wall touch switches. One or both will go during severe storms. I have questioned various Home Depot workers who had no idea what could be causing these occurrences. I don’t want to call an electrician to come over for something I could possibly do myself. I have installed dimmer switches, installed thermostats, toilet repairs, under the sink repairs, faucet repairs…..so I think I can tackle this one. I just need to know whether if I disconnect it at the wall switch, will it function manually directly from the fan?

    I thank you.

  2. I am replacing some old lighting in my kitchin, the lights I will be putting back are lumens link able. What I would like to do is remove the switch that is there fore the old light and rewire it for a outlet can you help?
    Thanking you in advance,
    Lonnie Ayers

  3. my electrical outlet in the kitchen does not fit my oven i need to replace it to fit my oven cord which is a three prong what do i need to do

  4. I have a gfi outlet in my kitchen that stopped working and would not reset. It did not trip a circuit breaker. I replaced the outlet and still no power. None of the others in the same room are broken. Could the problem be further back in the wall?

    • Hi, Casey,
      It could be a breaker problem, it could be another outlet in the series, it could be a bad GFCI. This one is better left for a pro that can troubleshoot and pinpoint exactly where the problem is.
      Good luck!

  5. Hi,my name is Bill and I was working on a project in the garage and Was using a stapler to put up cardboard and shot a 1/2 staple into an electric line and it went dark.I pulled the staple out and went to reset the breaker. It didn’t have the normal click on or off feel or sound so I am going to be replacing it.It is a double pull 20amp breaker.My question is do I need to pull the breaker out with some insulated pliers and can I leave the main power on w/o getting electrocuted?

    • Hi, William,
      Some simple electrical projects (such as installing a GFCI or AFCI outlet) are fine for do-it-yourselfers who are comfortable with cutting off the home’s power and tackling these jobs.
      However, this situation is much more complicated, and trying to correct it could be dangerous.
      It’s better safe than sorry, so we recommend hiring an electrician for this job.
      Good luck!

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