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Outlets can wear out over time. When your outlets break, you might think it is a simple fix. However, there are numerous safety precautions to consider before attempting to change it yourself. 

Sometimes a broken outlet is indicative of a more serious issue, so be sure to check and replace them often. Here is a step-by-step guide on fixing a broken outlet in your home.

Fixing a Broken Outlet: Tools You Need

● Flat-head screwdriver

● GFCI tester

● Phillips-head screwdriver

● Replacement outlet (15 amp, 20 amp, or GFCI)

● Voltage tester

Troubleshooting a Non-Working Outlet

Close-up of somebody unscrewing a white outlet so it can be replaced

Let’s go over the process of troubleshooting your outlet. 

Step 1: 

If this is a GFCI outlet, press the reset button. After that, check if the breaker flipped. If so, flip it to the opposite direction, then back to the correct position. Try to plug another electronic into the outlet to see if it works as well. If the breaker is tripped, unplug other electronics to prevent overloading. 

Step 2: 

Unplug all electrical cords from dead outlets and label or mark each outlet. 

Step 3: 

Go back to the outlet and check all upstream outlets on the same circuit between the affected outlet and the service panel. This step is important because it can reveal a more extensive problem. Then, reset that GFCI outlet or replace it if necessary.

Step 4: 

Turn off the circuit, then remove the faceplate of the broken outlet. 

Step 5: 

Check for loose wire connections and terminal screws. Loose wires can be the reason that an outlet is not working. 

Step 6: 

If you find that the outlet is broken, you will need a replacement. Replace the outlet with another, similar outlet. 

How to Fix and Replace a Broken Outlet

Close-up of a deconstructed electrical outlet

So you have determined that you do need to replace your broken outlet. Here are some steps on how to replace it. 

Should you need to replace it, the best alternative for this type of outlet is typically a GFCI outlet. GFCI outlets should last approximately 15 to 25 years. They are also equipped with test and reset buttons that help run electricity through your home safely. 

Many professionals recommend replacing your old outlet with a GFCI outlet, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where many appliances are used daily. 

Below are the steps in replacing a broken outlet. 

Step 1: 

Turn the power off. It’s a critical step, as it’s very dangerous to have an active electric current running while doing electrical work. 

Be sure to unplug any electrical devices from the broken or damaged outlet. You may use a voltage tester to test if electricity is flowing or not. Even if you find that there is not an electric current flowing, you should still turn off the power before repairs. 

Step 2: 

Disconnect and remove the old outlet. Unscrew the wires connected to the outlet. Then, prepare the wires for a new connection. 

Prepping the wires for a new connection includes inspecting the wires for any cuts or old twists that could lead to a connection failure. Then, strip the wires to the correct length and insert them into the outlet. 

Step 3: 

Replace the old wires by inserting the new wires into the holes where the old wires once were. 

The hot black wire goes to a brass screw, the neutral white wire goes to the silver screw, and the ground wire goes to the green screw. 

Be sure to follow that pattern! 

Remember, all wires should be looped clockwise around their respective screws. You may wrap the outlet in electrical tape for added safety. 

Step 4: 

Screw the outlet back into the wall. Don’t forget to place the plastic faceplate on top!

Step 5:

Turn the power back on and test the outlet. Use a voltage tester to check the outlet function. If the outlet still doesn’t have any power or isn’t working consistently, contact an electrician for help.

U.S. Electric: Your Richmond Electrical Experts

An electrician working on an electrical outlet in a tile wall

Our certified electricians will help find any issue affecting your home’s electrical system. We do dependable repair or replacement of damaged electrical outlets, receptacles, or switches.

Whether you have electrical troubles due to short circuits, overloading, or damaged outlets, U.S. Electric can help.

Call us today for a free quote!