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How Electricians Replace a Faulty Outlet

Power outlets in our homes are a service people often take for granted. But when an outlet malfunctions, it’s not only an inconvenience, it’s a potential fire hazard. In most cases, a faulty outlet needs a complete replacement.

An intricate series of wires runs through your home to supply the power to each outlet, and the outlets themselves can be of different types (ungrounded, grounded, GFCI, AFCI). Because of this complexity, you should never attempt repairs on a malfunctioning outlet on your own unless you have the proper electrical training and the right tools to do the job. The nature of modern outlets and the risk of a high voltage shock make this task one to leave to professional, licensed electricians.

In Mill Creek, WA electrical repairs from the experienced staff at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. will fix your outlet problems fast and without endangering you or your home.

Here’s how professional outlet replacement works

An electrician first shuts off the circuit breaker to the outlet and tests to make sure there is no power flowing to it. Next, the electrician removes the cover plate and unscrews the outlet underneath from the electrical box.

At this point, the electrician identifies the different wires running to the outlet: hot wires and neutral wires. Depending on where the outlet is located, there may be two or more sets of wires hooked to each plug. The next series of steps depends on what kind of outlet the electrician is working on, because special attention needs to be paid to how the wiring differs; a mis-wiring to the new outlet could cause a loss of ground fault protection or damage to the outlet.

Once the wires are labeled, the old outlet unscrews from the wires. The electrician uses wirenuts to secure wires with identical purposes and then folds them back into the circuit boxes, leaving “pigtails” of the wire conductors exposed. Each of these matches up with a connection to the new outlet, and the electrician carefully links the wires and screws them down to their correct terminals.

Once all the wires are secured, the electrician checks for any possible damage to the insulation and tapes off exposed conductors with electrical tape, and then secures the plate back over the outlet. Finally, the electrician tests the circuits to make sure everything is working and there are no safety issues.

You can go online and find “do-it-yourself” guides outlining how to perform these above steps. Please don’t try it, however, especially if you have up-to-date outlets. One incorrect step in the wiring can ruin the new outlet and cause damage to other electrical systems. Call an electrician and let a professional quickly and accurately perform the replacement.

G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. has handled all things electrical in Mill Creek, WA and throughout Puget Sound era since 1977. For your outlet replacements, trust to our services.

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