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How to Safely Replace an Electrical Outlet

Every household and even in the workplace have old electrical outlets that need to be replaced.

Aside from being an eyesore, some old electrical outlet poses a significant risk that can put your family in a serious situation. 

As technology is changing rapidly, some outlets and wirings can no longer keep up with the demand. If you start to notice any light flickering and intermittent supply of power, you might want to consider looking at your electrical outlets first and start from there. 

There are several and visible signs that tell you to replace your electrical outlet such as:

  • Wire and outlet degradation
  • The electrical outlet is hot to the touch
  • Lights flickering
  • Outdated outlets and can no longer keep up

If your electrical outlet shows some of these signs, it means that it needs to be replaced. These are the following steps on how you can replace your outdated electrical outlet safely.

  • Safety First! Turn off the power

First, turn off the power from the circuit breaker on which electrical outlet you’re working on. If your circuit breaker is not labelled and you can’t locate the switch, just turn off the power to the whole house.

  • Remove the electrical outlet cover plate 

Next, remove the cover and the screws of the electrical outlet from its box with the use of a screwdriver. Then, pull the outlet away from the box while the wires are still attached. 

  • Loose the screws and disconnect the wires

You have two options on how to remove the wires from the terminals:

1. With the use of a screwdriver, loosen the screws just enough to remove or slip-off the wires from the outlet.

2. With the use of needle-nose pliers, unhook the wirings from the old electrical outlet. 

If there are two pairs of wires entering the receptacle’s box, separate them and make sure to take note of the wiring configuration or you can take a picture using your smartphone. You will need it later. Then, throw away your old electrical outlet.


Always assume that all wirings are live–proceed with caution.

  • Identify the wirings

Before you install your newly purchased electrical outlet, it is advisable to identify what is the current colour coding of the wirings. In Australia, the standard for electrical colour coding has changed over time. 

Depending on the age of the house or the appliances, this means that some households are still using the old or different colour coding, especially for imported items. Currently, these are the colour coding in Australia:

Single-phase (Equipment wiring e.g. power cords)

  • Brown – Live wire
  • Light Blue – Neutral wire
  • Green or Yellow – Earth or Ground wire

 Single-phase (Installation wiring e.g. power points)

  • Red – Active
  • Black – Neutral
  • Green or Yellow – Earth or Ground wire

After you have identified the wirings, attach the ground wire and wrap it around the grounding screw which can be found at the back of the metal box. Next, connect the power supply wirings to their proper terminals as mentioned on Step #3. Then, forward it back into the receptacle and gently tuck the wirings, screws and cover plate back to its place.

  • Finally, test the electrical outlet

After installing your new electrical outlet, it’s time to turn the power back on from the circuit breaker. Finally, enjoy your new and improved electrical outlet.

What is Electrical Work and Installation  

Before you proceed on installing a new electrical outlet, there are certain guidelines that you must acknowledge and follow. 

In Australia’s Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, the following electrical works and installation should be done by an authorised electrician under the Home Building Act 1989.

  • Electrical Installation – means a group of items of electrical equipment that are permanently connected together
  • Electrical work – means connecting or disconnecting electricity supply wiring to and from a piece of electrical equipment including:
  1. Installing
  2. Removing
  3. Adding
  4. Testing 
  5. Replacing
  6. Repairing
  7. Altering 
  8. Maintaining

If you’re not a licensed electrician and found guilty of performing these electrical works and installations, violators will be penalised or could be imprisoned. 


DIY electrical works are regarded as unlicensed and illegal. Penalties will cost up to $40,000 for individuals who are caught performing illegal electrical works.

For electrical work that poses a serious risk for electrocution or injury, you will be fined as high as $600,000 or five years imprisonment.

What Are Electrical Do’s and Don’ts

Some individuals would be guilty of doing and even engaging most of the simplest electrical works in their homes and even in their workplace. Unless you’re a licensed electrician, then, you can do so by all means necessary. 

Although performing most of these electrical works may seem harmless and simple, just consider the repercussions if you want to proceed with your DIY electrical project. 

Listed below are the do’s and don’ts of what kind of electrical work you can do at home. This will help you avoid unnecessary injuries and to not put yourself at risk.

Do’s: Electrical Works

  • Installation of low voltage lightings, pond pump
  • Re-wire outdated fuses
  • Replacing a drive belt in your washing machine
  • Replacing a blown light bulb, LED downlights
  • Installing a battery-operated smoke detector
  • Cutting openings for an airconditioning unit, but not installing the unit

Don’ts: Electrical Works

  • Replacing power point or a light switch
  • Creating, attaching and replacing extension lead
  • Electrical appliances repair
  • New light fitting and ceiling fan installations

Purchasing electrical accessories or appliances are not against the law. Some appliances that require hard-wiring must be done by a licensed electrical contractor.

Hire a Licensed Electrician

Do you need to replace your old electrical outlet without breaking anyone’s wallet? Don’t take any chances in cutting corners with your home electrical work trying to save a few dollars. If you need an electrical outlet upgrade or replacement, this is a job for a skilled electrician–Sydney North Shore Electrician is the name you trust. 

Sydney North Shore Electrician can provide you with the right solutions to all your electrical outlet concerns. We can provide a range of electrical services suitable to all your electrical fixes needs. We want to keep your family safe with upgraded electrical outlets installed by our licensed level 2 electricians

Why do all the hard work and go through the complexities of electrical work? Keep us on your speed dial and call us today at 02 8378 2828. We are available 24/7 to cater to all your electrical services needs.

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