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How to Replace Electrical Outlets

Last week I shared how we installed USB wall outlets in our kitchen and bedroom. Well, the bigger project behind adding the USB outlets was replacing all of the electrical outlets and light switches in our kitchen. As you know, our kitchen is getting quite the face lift soon, so we’re trying to get a few projects done beforehand.

Let’s start with what we were working with. While the outlets and light switches worked fine I’ve never loved the cream/beige/almond/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they look dirty. So I decided to swap them out with white outlets and switches. Nice, crisp white.

electric outlet and switchIf you read my post on how to install a USB wall outlet you’ll notice that replacing a regular wall outlet is very similar.

Before you do any electrical work in your house TURN THE POWER OFF to the receptacle you intend to replace. (Read about my nightlight trick to make sure the power is off here.)

Remove the outlet cover and take the receptacle out of the wall box (take out screw on top and bottom).

replacing electric receptacle boxUse a screwdriver to remove the wires from the old receptacle.

Hook the wires onto the new receptacle. Tighten with a screwdriver.

Make sure you attach the correct wires to the correct screws. On this particular receptacle box, the black wires go with the gold screws.

how to install electric receptacle boxAttach the white wires to the silver screws. Tighten with a screwdriver.

Attach the ground wire to the green screw. Tighten with a screwdriver.

install a wall outletCarefully put the wires back in the wall box. Attach the receptacle to the wall with the two screws (top and bottom). Attach the wall plate. Turn the power back on.

white electric outlet and switchLooks better, no?

To give you an idea of price, the standard two plug receptacle was $1.47 and the plate was $.35 for a total of $1.82 (+tax). We have two GFI outlets and two three-way switches in the kitchen so those were more expensive to replace.

The almond/beige outlets and switches are throughout our entire house. Hopefully we’ll be able to tackle replacing all of those suckers one day.

Get rid of those outdated almond-colored outlets! How to replace electrical outlets!

Disclaimer: Complete this DIY project at your own risk. I won’t be held responsible if you don’t read this tutorial carefully or have wonky electric in your house and electrocute yourself or burn your house down.

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  1. We replaced all of our outlets with bright white as well! It makes such a difference! We actually did our whole home and bought large packs of the white outlets and plates. It looks so much better already! Can’t wait to see this transformation!

  2. I’m in the same boat! We just reno’d our kitchen… pale sunshine yellow walls but before I picked the paint color we purchased all the outlet/switch plate covers… in beige! They look horrible… my DH is NOT on board (yet) with replacing them. :::sigh:::

  3. We’ve lived in our house just over 4 years and still have outlets/switches/covers that need replaced. We have a variety in our house — almond, black, and brass.

  4. Sooo much better. We did ours a few at a time too, just grabbed a couple each time we were at Home Depot. Why did people think that creamy color was a good thing?

  5. Karen Pruneau says:

    I have an outlet that burst into flame and the circuit blew. Do you think it just needs the outlet replaced? I’d sure prefer that over an electrician rewiring the place.

    1. Ooh, if my outlet burst into flames I’d call an electrician. Best to be safe because there’s probably a bigger issue going on.

  6. It’s seriously that easy?!? Dang – I never should have been waiting around for my husband to replace all of ours. I think I may actually be able to do this. Thanks for the great tutorial 🙂

  7. There are certainly a amount of professionals providing services around the clock
    in case of an emergency. A circuit breaker’s capacity is rated by the safe number of amps at a certain maximum
    voltage that can flow safely through the circuit. However,
    for major any major or more substantial projects, it’s really important to
    find a skilled tradesman.

  8. All of us exchanged our retailers having bright white as well! This helps make such a change! All of us actually does your entire household and obtained huge delivers on the bright retailers and plates. This appears a great deal better by now! Can’t delay to view this kind of change!

  9. Great tip. But one important thing that was left out is that you should make sure that when you hook the wire around the screw on the outlet and tighten that the wire is going in the right direction. If not with use over time it will loosen and can cause a short or fire.

  10. Thanks for this. We’ve just bought a 1980s house and one of the (many) things that’s driving me crazy is the almond-coloured outlets. Outlet replacement will be my job this week.

  11. My electrician recommended that you use electrical tape around the screws so they don’t cause a spark if they accidentally touch the metal box in the wall.

  12. Before you buy the new outlets, be sure that you have this type of outlet. My 1976 house had outlets where the wires are inserted into holes in the back of the outlet. Also, there is some trick required if you have a switch controlled outlet. It took three trips to Home Depot and returning/rebuying the correct parts before everything turned out right. Nothing like a twenty minute job turning into one that took two days. But the white is MUCH better!

  13. common people are not able to Replacing electrical outlets by own. but you are describe here all the necessary steps very clearly. after reading that anyone can do it. i must say it’s a very good work.

  14. Effective tips are shared here step by step for replacing electrical outlets. Just a quick note to tell you that I have a passion for the topic “step by step for replacing electrical outlets” at hand. Thanks!

  15. I have never thought that replacing of outlet can be so easy! Thank you very much for sharing this post! I am agree with you that beige wall outlet looks ancient and old-fashion! In our house we installed abb outlets (http://electrical-components.com/abb) I guess nowadays it is the best variant for home. Also I a thinking about some usb outlets (exactly for my bedroom) but can’t find something good…But I wish I do it soon and also share with you my experience)

  16. Maureen T says:

    I would suggest that you check both or each plug outlets/receptacle to make sure that there is not a separate source of power to each. Sometimes a 4 plug receptacle has more than onesource of power. It us better to check with a voltmeter. Read “Family Handyman,” for additional good safety instructions. I agree that all white looks much cleaner. I too plan to do ours as we prepare our home for sale after retirement?

  17. Awesome tips! Your DIY idea and suggestion is helpful, but just to be safe it’s most likely better to ask for help from a professional since they are experts in those field of work. Anyways, your idea and tips are helpful in many ways! Thanks for this information!

  18. I read the entire content and users comment and would like to say that changing electrical outlets by our own is such a risky task for done. We can avoid those types of dangerous and unsafe job by taking any professionals helps. Now this is quite easy to connect them by online. In fact security system installer can do that on behalf of us.

  19. Susan Brehm says:

    I replaced the outlets in my bedroom but turned off the electricity to the entire house to be sure!! lol

  20. Your blog is always useful as ever I first read your post, I’ve bookmarked it a month ago and I’m checking it everything I open the web, Thank for writing about this topic this is just what I needed now.

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