While an electrical outlet may seem like a basic device, it’s best installed by a licensed electrician. An electrician can ensure your outlet is installed according to code, walk you through any additional requirements of your project, and pull any needed permits from your local authority.
It’s usually a simple job to replace an existing outlet with an equivalent. But if you’re adding a new circuit to your electrical panel or installing a single outlet for a specific use, you should consider the wiring and specific code requirements involved, such as GFCI protection, dedicated circuits, amperage requirements, and the distance between outlets.
Additionally, the installation of a new outlet is the perfect time to consider using a receptacle with special features, such as swiveling outlets, tamper-resistance, USB charging ports, or a weather-proof cover. Your electrician can present different options and help you choose the best solution for your project.
PLAN AND DETAILS
The cost to install a replacement outlet typically ranges from $65-$125. Making a change to your home’s wiring, such as adding a new circuit or moving an outlet to a new location, could cost $200 or more.
It can take less than 30 minutes to replace an existing electrical outlet. Wiring an outlet in a new location or installing a new circuit could take several hours to complete, while a complete upgrade can take several hours or a couple of days.
Unless you already have experience in the electrical field, you should always hire a licensed electrician to complete any electrical work in your home, including outlet installation. A qualified electrician will ensure your outlet operates safety, meets local electrical codes and is connected to a circuit breaker with enough capacity to handle the load. Most major appliances, like a dryer or stove, require a dedicated outlet. And many local ordinances also require your home to have at least one GFCI outlet located in a moisture prone area, like a kitchen or a bath. An electrician can also help determine if there is other work that needs to be done before installing your outlet, like updating wiring or installing a new circuit.
Electrical outlets, or receptacles, are graded into three types according to certain standards of manufacturing and performance. Outlets suitable for use in most residential or even commercial applications usually fall under the general use grade. You may find a wide range of features, quality, and price within this grade. General use grade outlets may be further defined by other terms, such as commercial, construction or industrial. It’s best to avoid the lowest-priced outlets as they may not be as reliable or durable as those built to a higher standard.
Your electrician can help you determine how many outlets to install for your project. They will base their recommendation on the nature of the job, your local electrical codes, and the condition and capacity of the electrical system in your home. If you’re wiring a new room addition, you may need to install eight or ten outlets on a new circuit, along with switches and light fixtures. However, if you’re simply creating a new laundry area or home office, you may just need one or two new receptacles added to an existing circuit.
To provide protection from problems associated with damp or wet conditions, the National Electric Code requires GFCI outlets for outdoor use. Outlets designed specifically for outdoor use are also constructed with weather resistant cases for additional protection and durability.
GFCI refers to ground fault circuit interruption. The feature is designed for outlets and circuits that are used in wet or damp conditions. It stops the flow of electricity (trip) if a discrepancy in current is detected, which may indicate electricity is not flowing safely where it should.
Because the presence of water can increase the risk of electrical shock, the National Electric Code requires GFCI protection in areas subject to moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars, laundry and utility rooms, basements, garages, outbuildings, and outdoor applications.
GFCI outlets are equipped with “Test” and “Reset” buttons on their face. The test button lets you to test the function of the outlet. Pressing the button will stop the flow of power to the outlet. The reset button will restore the flow of electricity to the outlet after a test or if it has been tripped. If your GFCI continually trips after resetting, it may be an indicator of a more serious issue and the outlet should be inspected by an electrician.
A rotating electrical outlet allows you to easily use oversized plugs, which can obstruct the second outlet on a duplex receptacle. A cord can be plugged in as normal, then rotated to allow another device to be plugged in without obstruction. These types of outlets are installed like a standard receptacle.