A very quick and inexpensive update that you can do in your home is to replace outdated yellowed or broken outlets. You can buy a “contractor pack” of ten or as singles for usually around $.50-$1.30 per piece! The plastic covers for each can also be bought as a contractor pack for pennies on the dollar. Can you believe that?! Most people don’t realize this because they don’t make it a habit to walk up the electric nuts and bolts aisle at the store. Even better, each outlet only takes a couple of minutes to replace.
** Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed electrician. However, there are many simple projects such as this, that you can do for yourself safely and accurately, as long as you follow EACH step precisely. Any deviation or questions, should be consulted further before proceeding.
Materials Needed: flat and Philips (star head) screwdrivers, wire strippers, plug in style voltage tester (shows proper ground, etc)
How to replace:
1) First and foremost, the most important thing to do is to turn off the WHOLE house power at the breaker panel. The “main” switch is usually at the top. For good measure, I not only flip this one switch but also each individual switch as well to OFF. Overkill maybe, but it doesn’t hurt anything. Of course, just to be certain or if there’s a concern, power off AC’s, computers, TV or other sensitive electronic equipment before you flip the breaker. Some people still like to double check each outlet before they begin by inserting an inexpensive plug in type of voltage tester that shows “no voltage”. This is perfectly fine if it makes you feel better, but really, if you have turned off ALL breakers, there should be no voltage. (more…)