How to Replace a 120-Volt Electrical Wall Outlet

By: Julie Day
Attaching wires to a new receptacle

Attaching wires to the new receptacle.

Step 6: Connect Wires to New Receptacle

Connect the black, white, and ground wires (if you have one) to the same terminals on the new receptacle as the old one. To use the mounting screws, you’ll need to use the needle-nosed end of your wire strippers to bend the end of each wire into a hook to wrap around the screw.

Bend the wire in a clockwise direction (to the right) so it will be pulled tighter onto the terminal when you tighten the screw. Keep the hook small, so you won’t have bare wire showing around the screw. Hook the wire around the screw and tighten it up with a screwdriver.

Back wiring a receptacle terminal

Back wiring the terminal on a receptacle.

Alternatively, you can “back wire” the receptacle, by placing a straight wire underneath the brass plate next to the screw, or use the push-in connections on the back of the receptacle. While back wiring and push-in connections are easier to install than screw mounting, they’re considered less secure. Be sure to trim the bare wire down when back wiring, so no bare wire is showing after it’s inserted under the plate.

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5 Comments on “How to Replace a 120-Volt Electrical Wall Outlet”

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  • erica jones Says:
    July 18th, 2016 at 10:07 am

    my electrical outlet in the kitchen does not fit my oven i need to replace it to fit my oven cord which is a three prong what do i need to do



  • Lonnie Ayers Says:
    November 8th, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I am replacing some old lighting in my kitchin, the lights I will be putting back are lumens link able. What I would like to do is remove the switch that is there fore the old light and rewire it for a outlet can you help?
    Thanking you in advance,
    Lonnie Ayers



  • Deborah Fairchild Says:
    August 17th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    How do I figure out which circuit breaker turns off which outlets and then how do I double-check to be sure its off?



  • Bill Says:
    December 18th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Good safety tip! Always check a switch or outlet to be sure it’s off before working on it.



  • Santa Says:
    July 24th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I have two ceiling fans (bedroom & living room) which are controlled by wall touch switches. One or both will go during severe storms. I have questioned various Home Depot workers who had no idea what could be causing these occurrences. I don’t want to call an electrician to come over for something I could possibly do myself. I have installed dimmer switches, installed thermostats, toilet repairs, under the sink repairs, faucet repairs…..so I think I can tackle this one. I just need to know whether if I disconnect it at the wall switch, will it function manually directly from the fan?

    I thank you.


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