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Replacing 2 Wire and 3 Wire Receptacle Outlets


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire Replacement Electric Outlets: Types of Outlets, 2-Wire Outlet and 3-Wire Outlet, Outlet Wiring Connection, Outlet Trips a Circuit Breaker.


Wiring Methods When Replacing Outlets

Electrical Question: I am trying to replace a 2 prong recepticle with a 3-prong receptacle.

  • The existing wire is 12-2, I removed the old outlet and installed a new one ,connected the wires and the ground.
  • When I turned the power on my detector sensed power throughout the whole receptacle but when I plugged into the outlet I could not get power through the outlet into the device I plugged in. ( device aka shop-vac).
  • What did I do wrong and is there a way to correct it?

This electrical wiring question came from: Richard, a Homeowner from Coplay, PA.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Richard.

How to Wire Replacement Electric Outlets

  • Types of Outlets
    • Receptacle outlets should be replaced with the same type, and the same voltage and amperage rating.
  • 2-Wire Outlets and 3-Wire Outlets
    • Three wire outlets should not be installed if a ground wire is not present, two wire receptacles may be purchased and installed instead.
  • Outlet Wiring Connections
    • Wiring connections should match what was found on the original outlet. Only one wire is to beĀ  used per screw terminal.
  • Outlets that Trip a Circuit Breaker
    • If the circuit is tripping the circuit breaker then the wiring connections and installation methods must be checked and verified.

More about Replacing Receptacle Outlets

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Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

For more information about Outlet Wiring
How to Install Electrical Outlets
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

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