Replacing Wall Outlets
I replaced an outlet and now other outlets are not working right: Electrical Wiring Connections for Outlets, Wiring a Switched Outlet and Standard Wall Outlets.
Wall Outlet Wiring
Electrical Question: I replaced an outlet and now other outlets are not working right.
- I have been replacing wall outlets to update the color to white, but also because they’re very worn out and don’t hold plugs securely.
- In one room, I replaced the outlets, but after I did I noticed that now when I turned off the light switch in the room it turned off not only the ceiling light, but the wall outlets in that room and adjacent rooms as well.
- I do remember pulling the tab off of one of the outlets because it looked as though the tab had been removed on one of the plugs I replaced.
- I thought that was only to control that one plug so that the wall switch would control it. Have I crossed wires somewhere or is that tab that I removed the culprit?
- One of the more difficult plugs had 3 white/neutral wires, 2 ground wires, 2 black and 2 red as well.
- I thought all white wires went on the white or neutral side and all red and black wires went on the hot side, whether in the holes on the back of the plug or wrapped around the screws on the corresponding side. Would really appreciate your opinion on this.
Electrical Wiring Connections for Outlets
Application: Replacing 120 Volt Wall Outlets.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester or plug in circuit analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of wall outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit at the electrical panel, 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.
Wiring a Switched Outlet and Standard Wall Outlets
When replacing wall outlets be sure to pay close attention to the wiring configurations, especially if the outlet is a half hot outlet or an outlet that is controlled by a wall switch. This is also a great time to clean up wiring connections that are not idea. When there is more than one set of wires for a standard wall outlet connection it is best to create splice and adding one additional wire that will be connected to the outlet.
- Make notes about the outlet wiring and be sure that the wiring configuration of the replacement outlet matches the original outlet and that the polarity is correct.
- Some room outlets are wired so that the wall switch controls half of the outlet for a floor lamp or a nightstand light fixture.
- Inspect the grounding method of 3-wire or grounded outlets to make sure that the grounding is correct and according to code.
- Illegal grounding methods for receptacle outlets are dangerous and should be corrected. If a ground wire is not available then a 2-wire non-grounded outlet should be installed instead of a 3-wire outlet.
More about Replacing Wiring Outlets
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Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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