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How to fix a bad receptacle


Step 1. Shut off the power to the switch at the main service panel. Remove the decorative cover plate from the receptacle. Set the screw and the plate aside. With the cover plate off you will be able to see the receptacle and the electrical box it is attached to.

 

Step 2. Use a voltage sensor to make sure that the circuit is dead. Hold your voltage sensor’s probe within ˝” of the wires on either side of the receptacle. If the sensor beeps or lights up, then the receptacle is still live, and you’ll need to trip the correct breaker to disconnect power to the receptacle. If the sensor does not beep or light up, the receptacle is dead and you’re safe to continue.

 

Step 3. Remove the receptacle from the box by unscrewing the two long screws that hold the switch to the box at the top and the bottom. Once the screws are out, carefully pull the receptacle away from the box. Depending on how your receptacle has been wired, it may be connected to two colored wires and a bare grounding wire, or four colored wires and a bare wire.

 

Step 4. Inspect the screws where the wires connect to the switch. They should be tight and the connections should be clean and free of any scorch marks. If the connections were good, the problem is likely with the receptacle itself If one of the wires is loose or if the connections are scorched, the problem is probably a loose screw causing a short circuit. You can follow the directions below to reattach the old switch or you can install a new one to be on the safe side.

 

 

 

 

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