First and foremost, when working with electricity it’s imperative that you ensure it’s turned off. Ideally, if you need a little electrical DIY done call in a professional handyman or certified electrician, that way you can get the job done right and avoid things going wrong. However, if you’ve got a fair amount of electrical-savvy, the right tools and are on a tight budget, here is a simple tutorial to teach you the quick and easy way to correctly replace electrical sockets and switches.
METHOD FOR REPLACING SOCKETS
1. Make certain that the electricity is turned off at the circuit. If there are two outlets present, make sure that both circuits are turned off. If you can’t figure out which circuit is connected to which breaker, turn the main breaker off. This will shut off all of the electricity to the house or apartment but it’s better that than getting a shock!
Tip: Always do electrical work during the day, as you’ll need to maintain complete visibility to enable you to carefully work with electrical wiring without the use of lights.
2. Remove the socket faceplate by unscrewing the screws. Remember to keep these in case you need to use them later with the new socket fitting.
3. Pay attention to which wires go to which terminal on the socket, if need be take pictures or make notes. When doing any electrical work remember this golden rule:
Green/Yellow = Earth
Brown = Live
Blue = Neutral
TIP: Sometimes, in an older house, the wires may be differently coloured to the rule above:
Red = Live
Black = Neutral
Green = Earth
4. Next, remove the wires from the terminals on the old socket.
5. Then, attach the wires according to your notes to the terminals on the new socket. Look out for the labels often found on (new) sockets, which tell you where to insert each wire:
L = Live
N = Neutral
E or earth symbol = Earth
6. NB: If there is any worn copper wiring caused by either tool damage or age, cut it off and expose new copper wires by stripping the insulation tubing off the wires.
7. Once you’ve effectively removed any damaged copper, place the wires into the terminals – in accordance with step 5 and make sure that NO copper wiring is visible when secured.
8. Fit the new faceplate and screw it into the socket box.
TIP: If the new screws don’t fit into the old socket box, use the screws you originally removed.
9. Finally, turn back on the power and test the socket.
METHOD FOR REPLACING SWITCHES
1. Make certain that the electricity is turned off at the main breaker.
2. Remove the screws holding switch cover plate.
3. Next, remove the two small screws holding the old switch to the switch box and gently pull out the old switch.
4. Disconnect the switch by disconnecting the two black wires connected to it. Unlike sockets, switches wiring is a little different:
Black = “Hot”/Live
White = Neutral
Green = Earth
5. To install a new switch, simply connect the two black wires to the two brass terminals on the new switch and gently push the it back into the switch box.
6. Screw the switch to the box and screw the cover plate over the switch. Finally, turn the circuit breaker back and test the switch.
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