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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Connect The Wires to an Outlet

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I bought a new outlet with 5 screws in it. But when I removed the old outlet, I see only 3 wires coming out…

Electrical Question from Tony about Outlet Wiring Directions
Background: Tony, a Homeowner from Newport News, VA

Question: I bought a new outlet with 5 screws in it. But when I removed the old outlet, I see only 3 wires coming out. A ground wire, a white wire, and a black wire. Which is the right way to connect those 3 wires to the 5 screws?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Tony.
There are two pairs of screw terminals, one pair for each wire. However these two pairs of screws have two different colors, silver and brass (or copper depending on the brand). Either of the Silver screws can be used for the connection of the White Neutral Wire. The Black wire is connected to either of the two Brass or Copper Screws. This leaves us with the green screw down by itself which is for the ground wire connection.

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