How To Replace Your Modular Home Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets don’t last forever, so if you own a modular home, chances are that at some point you’ll find yourself with an outlet that needs replacing. Luckily, the replacement process is relatively simple, and it requires only a few tools that you already have in your standard tool box. The only additional equipment you’ll need is a current tester and modular home electrical outlets for each receptacle that needs changed, both of which you can find at any hardware store.
- Current tester - Wire cutters - Electrical tape - Philip’s head screwdriver - Modular home electrical receptacle
Before going through all the steps to replace the outlet, double-check and make sure that it’s actually not functioning. Test the item you’re trying to plug into the outlet, just in case whatever you’re plugging in isn’t functioning. Test the outlet itself by plugging different items into it. If the outlet cover is cracked, then replace it first, because a crack in the right place can prevent the plug from making proper contact with the outlet.
If you’ve done all this and your outlet still doesn’t work, then check the wiring in the outlet so you know what materials to buy. Most mobile homes have #14 wiring with a 15-amp circuit breaker, requiring a 15-amp outlet receptacle. More rarely, your home might have #12 wires with a 20-amp circuit breaker, requiring a 20-amp receptacle.
Choosing the Right Receptacle
For a #14-wired outlet, we recommend the Leviton 20-amp modular wiring device (https://is.gd/kBjw9o). This receptacle offers a reliable connection and it’s very simple to install, and its hospital-grade construction makes it extra durable, so it’s a good choice for outlets that receive heavy use.
If you have a #12-wired outlet, then try the Leviton Decora 15-amp receptacle (https://is.gd/bcqUQn). This receptacle has a thermoplastic design, which helps it last longer despite regular use. It’s simple to install with wire push-in terminals that require just a quick push to get them into place.
Turn off the power going to the circuit you’re going to be servicing. Use a current tester to check the power and make sure that it’s off. If the tester detects current, then go back to the service panel and check to make sure you’re turning off the correct circuit. Once the tester detects no current, then it’s safe to remove the receptacle.
Unscrew the single screw holding the cover in place, and remove the cover. Unscrew the mounting screws holding the receptacle in place. Before you remove anything else, take a photo of the receptacle wiring so you can consult it later. Remove the receptacle carefully, avoiding any wires or terminals that are visible.
Use your current tester to check the wires to the outlet. If the receptacle is damaged (and if it doesn’t work, it likely is damaged to some degree), then it’s possible for wires to hold some current even when the current tester shows there’s no power. Use your tester to check the top pair of terminals first, and then the bottom pair of terminals. If there’s still no current, then it’s safe to proceed.
Prepare Wire Ends
Remove the terminals by unscrewing them, and pull the wires free. When handling the wires, avoid twisting or bending them if possible. Check the wire ends for any damage. If they don’t look pristine, then use wire cutters to snip the ends off and restrip them in preparation for the new receptacle.
Consult your receptacle photo from earlier to make sure that your new receptacle is wired in the same way that the old one was. Connect white wires to silver terminals, and colored wires to brass terminals. Use electrical tape to wrap the terminals and cover any bare sections of wire, and put the outlet into place. Attach the outlet with mounting screws and return the cover plate to its spot.
Turn the power back on to your outlet, and use a current tester to check the outlet again. If you have power restored, then you’re done and ready to go.
Of course, safety should be your number-one priority. Always make sure that you are grounded before working on electrical outlets, and never forget to perform current checks before touching an exposed wire. If you are unsure about any step of the process, then consider contacting a contractor to complete the installation for you instead.
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