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How to Wire an Electrical Outlet

The genesis of this tutorial began on Super Bowl Sunday.

Two of my friends asked me to do a tutorial on wiring an outlet.

So you should thank them, lol.

This project isn’t hard but can be scary if you’ve never done it before.

Today you’ll see just how easy it can be to wire an outlet.

I’ll give you tons of tips and tell you about a cool tool give away.

What’s the most frustrating part about wiring an outlet?

In my opinion it’s getting finished then realizing the outlet isn’t working.

What the heehaw!!

But I’m willing to bet this won’t happen to you if you read further.

Here’s your supply list

The Amazon links above show all the tools I used in this tutorial.

Outlets actually do wear out.

My friend Denise was telling me how her plugs pull out of the outlet without much force.

We have a similar issue in our house.

You should replace the outlet if you have the same problem.

Let me start off by showing you how to use a receptacle analyzer.

This is perhaps another must-have tool for electrical projects.

Why receptacle analyzers are cooler than Justin Bieber

Nothing against the Biebs but receptacle analyzers are more valuable than any of his albums combined.

Especially for do-it-yourselfers over 18.

Plug a receptacle analyzer into the outlet you’re going to replace.

The analyzer’s lights will show you how the outlet is wired.

In my case, two yellow lights lit up.

Insert receptacle analyzer

This indicates the outlet is wired safely.

Sometimes it’s nice to know what you’re getting into before getting knee deep in wiring problems.

Buy a Klein Tools receptacle analyzer for about $9.

Now you can turn the electricity off at the electrical panel or fuse box.

Remove the outlet cover.

Double check the outlet isn’t live by pushing a non-voltage tester into all the outlet slots or touching it against the outlet’s terminal screws.

Non-contact voltage tester

I like to unscrew the outlet from the electrical box then touch each individual wire with the voltage tester.

Sometimes you think you turned off the right circuit but find the wires still have electricity in them.

I forgot to mention this in my video: before unwiring the outlet take a picture of it.

The picture will give you a reference of the old wiring scheme.

Outlets are way easier to wire than switches, let me show you.

How to wire or install an electrical outlet

Call me anal retentive but I wire outlets in a specific way.

My preference is to remove the hot wires (black) first, then neutral wires (white), and the ground wire (bare copper) last.

Yah, I know it sounds nuts.

But in my neanderthal mind it highlights the importance of the ground wire.

When I wire the new outlet the order reverses.

So the ground wire is first, then the neutral wires and the hot wires are last.

My video shows you all the details of wiring a new outlet.

I throw in a bonus tip at the beginning that everyone should know about

Here’s a quick summary of the video tutorial in a printable PDF

How to Wire an Electrical Outlet (Printable PDF)

What’s Next

If you’re wiring an outlet in your bathroom or kitchen it needs to be a GFCI. We have a great GFCI tutorial you can watch right here.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.



Wire Electrical Outlets