6 Rookie Tips for Changing an Electrical Outlet

The DIY Playbook
by The DIY Playbook
I recently changed my first light switch and learned A LOT from this experience. I was always nervous to tackle a DIY electrical project because.... well, it's electrical! But I'm happy to report that changing and outlet/light switch isn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be! As long as you're careful and you follow these 6 rookie rips, you can do it too!

White Light Switch

Screw Driver

TIP Research

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH before you start! I watched a few videos on YouTube and read a few blog posts about tips & tricks. I wanted to have as much information about this project as possible before starting it.
TIP Before you even touch the outlet, you HAVE to turn off the electrical. To be extra safe, I turned off the electrical in the entire house (which posed a problem when I wanted to use the internet tutorials to refer back to… oops). But having the electrical off is ESSENTIAL for rookies like me.

Experienced electricians can swap out the outlet when the electrical is still on, but I would never recommend that to rookies. Making sure all of the wires were “dead” prior to getting started made me feel much safer and ready to tackle this project with a bit more confidence.
TIP #3 Take a picture ... or a few!

I would highly recommend taking a picture of the old outlet’s connections before removing it. Having a cell phone picture of the wire connections helped me double-check where I was putting each wire, even after I removed the old switch. I would highly recommend this trick because it’s so darn easy and it can make such a difference.
TIP Have supplies nearby

Get your supplies ready and nearby before you start. Because the electrical was off (read: no air, no refrigerator, no internet), I wanted to get this project done rather quickly. I definitely wasn’t in a rush, but having ALL of my supplies nearby helped me get this project done in less than 15 minutes.

For the remanding rookie tips on how to change a light switch, make sure to check out this post: http://thediyplaybook.com/2016/08/changing_light_switch.html

And if you can take anything from this post, I hope it's this -- if I can do it, I KNOW you can too!
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  • William William on Aug 21, 2016
    A lot of great tips for anyone who's never changed a switch or outlet. I'm one of those that changes them on the fly. Don't turn the power off.

    • See 2 previous
    • The DIY Playbook The DIY Playbook on Nov 03, 2016
      We completely agree, it's better to be safe than sorry!!!

  • Lisa Imbruglia Lisa Imbruglia on Aug 23, 2016
    It's illegal here in Australia and New Zealand to do this work yourself.. if your house burns down you are not insured!