If you are replacing an old electrical outlet in one of your house's rooms, you may wonder what you can do to make the process go more smoothly. If so, use the following three tips for keeping your wires straight while replacing an outlet in your home.
Label the House Wires as You Remove The Old Outlet
The first thing you want to do when trying to keep track of which wire is which is to label the house wires as you remove the old outlet. Doing this ensures that you connect the proper wire to the right post on the new outlet.
Also, depending on how old your house wires are, the colors may be different than the wires on the new outlet. If it was built before color coding was standardized, the person who wired it may have used whatever color they had on hand.
For example, the hot wire may be green or red, while the neutral wire is typically black. You may or may not have a ground wire, which is the white one. You can also compare the markings on the new outlet with the old to determine which color matches the new wires.
Give Yourself Enough Slack When Cutting the Wires
If you have to cut the wires on the old outlet to remove it because the ones connected to the posts are eroded and corroded, make sure you leave enough slack. If not, you will find it difficult to connect them to the new outlet.
Before cutting the wires, gently pull the outlet out until you meet resistance. When you cut, give yourself enough to comfortably work a few inches away from the wall.
Keep the Wires Straight When Connecting Them
When you are ready to connect the house wires to the outlet, try to keep them straight. Do not let them cross or become entangled with one another. Not only does this prevent future shorts, but it makes pushing the new outlet into the wall receptacle easier.
If the wires are a jumbled mess, you may not be able to fit the outlet so it is flush with the wall. Keeping the wires straight makes them glide into the receptacle smoothly and neatly.
Using the above tips can help you keep the outlet's wires straight and neat while you are installing a new one. However, if you come across any frayed wires or do not feel comfortable working with electrical wires, you may want to contact a residential electrician like Anthony Electric Co. to discuss the possibility of having them do the job for you.