Re-Device | Switch & Outlet Upgrade




• Replacing Electrical Devices

Have SEC replace those old loose and ugly outlets and switches. Replacing outlets and switches correctly requires a certified electrician in order to avoid connection mistakes. More than one electrical item may fail to work as a result of a single mistake. Common "do-it-yourself" problems for replacing outlets and switches are failing to reattach a wire or attaching it in the wrong place. The number, color, and function of the wires at an outlet or switch can be confusing if the original connections are lost track of. So be on the safe side and book an appointment with SafeSide Electrical Contractor today to have your outlets and switches replaced in your home or business.


  • Switches are, or should be, mounted in a plastic or metal junction box inside a wall.
  • Most often, light fixtures are controlled by only one switch, sometimes called a single-pole switch. It has a lever which, when moved into the "on" position, allows electricity to flow to the lights or other device; when moved into the "off" position, the lever breaks the circuit, thus stopping the flow of electricity.
  • Usually, the switch is installed so that when the lever is up, the light is on, and when the lever is down, the light is off. Sometimes two switches are installed in the same junction box with two separate switches that are side-by-side or are two switches incorporated into the same housing. These switches have two screws or terminals, usually located on one side of the switch where the incoming and outgoing black supply wire is connected.
  • A third terminal is located on the end of the switch where a "grounding" wire is connected. The grounding wire, which may be red or some other color than black or white, will be grounded to a water line or grounding rod somewhere near where the electrical wires enter the building.
  • A dimmer switch works in a similar manner. It will have a sliding lever which, when moved up or down, increases or reduces the amount of current, thus raising or lowering the illumination. Some light fixtures, such as fluorescent lights, cannot operate on a dimmer switch.
  • The dimmer switch may have three wires to connect the power and ground rather than terminal screws. These can be connected to the wires in the junction box by twisting the uninsulated end of the wire from the switch to the incoming and outgoing wire using wire nuts.
  • Light fixtures can also be controlled from more than one location with a two-way (double-pole), or three-way (triple-pole) switch. The three-way switch will have three terminals and the four-way switch will have four terminals.
  • The least complicated to install is a light switch that operates from only one location although multiple location switches are not much more difficult to replace.
  • Replacing switches that operate lights from two or three locations is similar to the following steps except that there are more wires to connect. When removing a two-way or three-way switch, pay attention to which color wire is connected to which terminal on the switch and try to install the new switch following that pattern.


  • Electrical wall outlets also should be mounted in a plastic or metal junction box inside the wall. Sometimes outlets are connected to a switch in another location. This is usually done so that lamps can be turned on near an entrance to the room.
  • Electrical outlets that power appliances with 120 volts of electricity have two screws or terminals on each side, one set being brass-colored and the other set a shiny nickel-colored. The incoming black supply wire is connected to either one of the brass terminals and the outgoing white wire should be connected to one of the nickel-colored terminals.
  • If another outlet is connected through the outlet, an outgoing black wire may be connected to the second brass terminal and the white outgoing wire should be connected to the other nickel colored terminal. You may not be able to tell which wires feed the outlet and which go on to another outlet, but it really doesn't matter so long as the black and white wires are connected as described above.
  • Tip:It is helpful to put a small piece of electrician's tape on the black wire to tactually identify it. You can also use the orientation of the light switch or the outlet to help remember where the brass terminals are located.
  • Almost all outlets have two places where an appliance can be plugged in. In older installations, the outlet will have two slots into which the plug can be inserted. Newer outlets have a third opening where the third prong of a plug can go in. As with the light switch, there is a grounding terminal located on the end of the outlet which connects the third prong of the plug to the grounding circuit.
  • Outlets that are installed in a bathroom, above kitchen counter tops, or outside should be equipped with a ground fault interrupter circuit (GFI). The outlet has a circuit breaker incorporated into the outlet which trips if too much current is drawn or if a short occurs because of moisture. The GFI outlets connect in the same way as described above.
  • Appliances such as kitchen stoves and clothes dryers, which operate on 220 volts of electricity, have only one place to plug in the appliance instead of two like the 110 outlets. It is usually controlled by one circuit breaker that is distinguishable from the 110 circuit breakers because it is much larger and is located in a separate circuit breaker box. A 220 outlet is replaced in much the same way as a 110 outlet but is connected to three wires of a much heavier gauge inside the junction box.


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