Replacing Electrical Outlet

Update your old two slot outlet!

Do you have old 2-way outlets in your home? Is there a way to replace the outlet with a three-slot outlet without running a new ground wire halfway through the house?

Wall outlet overview

Two-slot outlets should generally be replaced with three-slot outlets, but the best way to add grounding isn’t easy. The two slots in old outlets represent the hot and neutral wires. Now a days the electrical code has required a third slot for equipment grounding. This adds shock and fire protection.

How to replace wall outlet

The best way to get this protection is to run a third wire. This is usually a bare copper or green insulated wire, from the outlet box back to the grounding bar in your main electrical panel. Unfortunately, you usually have to open walls or floors to get the wire in. Sometimes grounding can be done in other ways, but they’re often tricky and require the expertise of a licensed electrician.

A second way is to install a GFCI outlet. However, this method has drawbacks. Many types of modern electrical equipment, such as air conditioners and computers, won’t operate properly without an equipment ground, which is why you’re required to label any GFCI that doesn’t have one.

It’s unsafe to use adapters that convert three-prong plugs to two-prong ones, because as normally used, the adapters bypass the safety features of the equipment ground.

Tools for this Project

This is a fairly straight forward project and requires minimal tools and supplies.Here is a lis of tools you will need that will save you time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver

  • Electrical tape

  • Non-contact voltage tester

  • Voltage tester

  • Wire stripper/cutter

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