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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Replace Kitchen Outlets and Avoid a Direct Short

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

When Replacing Outlets and There are Two Circuits be Sure to Make This Important Adjustment to Avoid Tripping the Circuit Breaker.

Replacing 120volt Outlets

Electrical Question: I have 4 standard 120V 15A outlet plugs in my kitchen that I recently wanted to replace.

Thanks in advance,

This electrical question came from: Chris, from Winnipeg, Canada.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Chris.

When there are Two Circuits be Sure to Make This Important Adjustment

Application: Replacing a 120 Volt Receptacle Outlet.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Two Electric Circuits and Outlet Tabs

Before replacing outlets make sure to identify the circuits and turn off the power.

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2 Responses to “How to Replace Kitchen Outlets and Avoid a Direct Short”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Debra,
    The red wire will need to be tested at the location of the second outlet to see if it is in fact controlled by the wall switch. Keep in mind that breaking off the tab on the outlet does not create a switch controlled outlet. All of the necessary wiring and connections must also be in place. I totally understand your brilliant logic, however identifying the existing wiring of the outlets and the wall switch must be performed first, and then the proper connection can be made. Please refer to the switch outlet wiring diagram that my assist you.
    I hope this helps,

  2. debra mckenna says:

    I replaced an electrical outlet that was being controlled by the switch, with a new outlet, that did not have the tab broken off, so it would no longer be controlled by the switch, problem solved. Then I went to the next outlet that I WANTED to be controlled by the switch, broke off the tab, on the brass side, and it does not work with the switch? Both of these outlets I am speaking of have two white wires, and on the hot side, one red, and one black wire. Why, after removing the tab, does it not work with the switch?