Don’t you hate when you hire somebody to fix or replace a broken item only to realize you probably could have done it yourself? That is often the case when things appear to be broken around your house. A cracked or loose electrical outlet can trick you into thinking that it needs to be replaced by an expert electrician, but before hiring somebody you should take a minute to find out exactly what you need and how it can be repaired or replaced properly AND safely.
Follow this list to familiarize yourself with electrical outlet terms and safety tips:
Receptacle - this is the area on the face of the outlet where the prongs plug in. If any part of the face is broken or doesn’t grip the prongs firmly, it needs to be replaced.
Terminal Screws - these are located on either side of the outlet. This is the safest point of wire connection - white wire always goes to silver screw and black wire goes to brass screw.
Grounding Screw - connects to bare grounding wire to prevent shocks.
Mounting Strap - holds receptacle flush with outside of box.
Romex - plastic jacket that contains black, white, and copper wires that connect to circuit-breaker panel.
For a complete electrical outlet guide, accompanied by photos, visit this article from This Old House.
Now that you are familiar with an electrical outlet you can be sure of what to ask for when shopping for a new one. By following these safety tips and knowing the potential hazards that can occur when replacing your electrical outlet, you may not need to hire an electrician to do the job.
Safety is our top priority and you should never try to install an outlet if you are unsure of how to do so properly and safely. Give us a call if you need a hand, we are happy to help!