Repairing And Replacing Loose Electrical Sockets: A Step-By-Step Guide For Homeowners

18 January 2015
 Categories: , Blog

It goes without saying that loose electrical sockets are dangerous. The wiring may not be fully connected and then you get electricity only some of the time. The rest of the time the electricity waits in limbo, ready to spark and start a fire in your wall. If you prefer to fix this problem on your own rather than pay for residential electrical services by an electrician, then here is the step-by-step guide to do it safely.

Step 1: Remove the Socket Plate

This is easy enough to do, since the plate is only attached to the socket and the wall by a few screws. Make sure you have turned off the electrical power to this switch before you attempt to remove the plate with a screwdriver; otherwise, a simple slip of the wrist and you could be electrocuted.

Step 2: Remove the Screws That Hold the Socket to the Wall

At the top and the bottom of the sockets, there are a couple of screws which hold it in place. Remove these as well.

Step 3: Gently Pull the Socket Out 

Do not pull it out all the way or yank on it. The electrical wiring which connects to the socket runs into your fuse box and you could damage the wiring and the circuitry if you are not careful. Just pull the socket away from the wall far enough to see the wiring.

Step 4: Check the Wiring

The wires from the wall will be wrapped around screws or metal posts on the opposite side of the socket. If the wires are dangling you may be able to reattach them and reuse the socket and wall plate, if they are undamaged as well. If the wires look like they have melted or appear frayed, you will have to replace the wires, too. It is not recommended that a homeowner like yourself replace electrical wiring because it is too risky. Hire a professional if you need to replace the wires.

Step 5: Detach and Reattach the Wires

If the wiring looks good, carefully detach the wires from the posts or unscrew the screws that hold the wires in place. Throw the old socket away. Reversing the order in which you detached the wires from the old socket, reattach the wires to the new socket. Make sure the wires are very secure.

Step 6: Screw the New Socket Back into the Wall, Reattach the Face Plate and Test the Outlet

Gently wiggle the new socket into position and screw it into the wall. Put the new face plate over the top and screw that back in.  Ask your spouse or another adult to flip the switch to "on" in the fuse box while you watch the switch for sparks or crackling noises. If you do not see or hear anything from the switch, it is safe to try it with an appliance or other electrical device. If you have power, the socket is good to go. If not, call an electrician immediately and cut the power to the socket. The electrician like one from Dunedin Electric will have to decipher why your DIY repair job did not work and help you fix the problem.