Tips on How to - "Changing a Wall Plug: - When changing out defective wall plugs the primary concern is safety. Make certain that you follow precautions. Just because a plug does not work, do not assume that there is no power to it.
To check if a plug is hot, plug a small lamp into the outlet in question. Turn on the lamp. Then go to your breaker box and flip the breakers one at a time until the light goes off. If you have an electrical tester, use it.
Check both sockets in the plug. Occasionally, the plug is split-wired for a particular purpose and the other plug is on a separate breaker. This is rare but possible. Do not take the risk.
Once you determine that there is no power to the plug, remove the faceplate by unscrewing the center screw on the front. Unscrew the top and bottom screws holding the plug into place in the outlet box and remove them completely.
Grasp the plug by the top and bottom blades and pull it out toward you. Normal orientation of a wall plug is for the hot wire to be on the right (narrow slit) and gold colored screws and the neutral return on the left (wide slit) and chrome screws.
When replacing the older type two-prong plug with a newer type three-prong plug, be sure to ground the plug. The ground wire fastens to the green ground screw. By code, the hot wire is black, the neutral wire is white and the ground wire is bare copper.
Some older homes with two-prong plugs have no ground wire. If that is the case, tie a piece of wire from the plug mounting screw to the green ground wire screw. This will provide equivalent working reference for the plug.
If wiring like plug to like plug – two-prong to two-prong, or three to three, be sure to wire it and orient it as it was. Since all plugs have the same electrical orientation standards, you should have no problem.
Unless you understand electricity, recommend that you do not turn the plug a different way even if it does not match the rest of the plugs. Chances are the other plugs wiring is oriented differently.
When you attach wires to the new plug, take care that they curl firmly around the screws and that no excess bare wire is exposed. Take care that the ground wire is isolated from the hot wire screw heads when placing the plug back into the electrical box.
Test the plug before you tighten it down by plugging in an electrical device and turning on the breaker. If the breaker does not trip and the device powers on, it on it should be satisfactory.
For safety, turn off the power while reinserting the plug into the electrical box. You may have to slightly adjust the mounting screws if the cover plate does fit squarely when you have another switch and cover plate adjacent to that one.