Replacing Electrical Duplex Wall Outlet Boxes

A duplex wall outlet provides power for any two electrical devices at a time and is usually one of several wall outlets that make up a circuit. The duplex wall outlet secures to a box inside the wall that contains electrical wiring from the main panel. When a steel duplex outlet box is to be replaced with a non-conducting plastic box, you can do with the work with the proper tools, materials and basic electrical wiring knowledge.

Tools and Supplies Needed:

Three-prong plug-in electrical tester Flat-head screwdriver Phillips head screwdriver Old work electrical duplex box

Step-by-Step Instructions

Turn off electrical power to the duplex wall outlet.

Unplug any devices from the duplex and insert a three-prong, plug-in electrical tester into one of the two receptacles. If the tester does not illuminate, place it in the remaining receptacle of the duplex. No illumination verifies the power is off, and that it is safe to proceed.

Remove the duplex cover plate screw using a flat-head screwdriver. The screw is centered between the two receptacles. Turn the screw counterclockwise and pull the cover off from the outlet.

Remove the bracket screws securing the duplex to the box using a Phillips screwdriver.

Pull the duplex out from the box as far as the wires allow.

Loosen the terminal screws that secure the white, black and bare copper ground wires. Disconnect the wires from the terminals and remove the duplex.

Remove the stress coupler clamp screws inside the steel outlet box using a screwdriver. The clamp secures the wires to the box and is visible with the duplex removed.

Remove the bracket screws that secure the duplex outlet box to the wall.

Pull the box out from the wall cavity. Push the white, black and bare copper wires out from the box.

Push the flexible stress tabs into the blue box slightly, using the flathead screwdriver. There are four stress tabs on the back of the box. Push in only the stress tabs you need to use.

Insert the wires through the stress tabs and into the old work plastic outlet box. The tabs flex as the wires enter the box. If Romex wire is used, each Romex cable (three wires) will fit through one stress tab of the old work box.

Install the box into the wall cavity. Tighten the wing-clamp screws clockwise using a Phillips screwdriver. The wing-clamps flip up, gripping firmly from behind the wall as you tighten.

Connect the black wire to the brass terminal, the white wire to the silver terminal and the bare copper ground to the green grounding terminal of the duplex outlet. Tighten the terminal screws.

Push the wires and the duplex into the box neatly. Secure the duplex to the box tightening the bracket screws clockwise with a screwdriver.

Replace the cover plate and tighten the plate screw.

Restore the electrical power.

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