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Serving All of Santa Cruz County
As Well As Los Gatos & Aptos
Serving All of Santa Cruz County
As Well As Los Gatos & Aptos

How To Update An Outdated Receptacle With A USB Outlet

It's a pain to keep track of all of those chargers in your home, and to have to unplug something every time you or someone else in your home needs to charge their tech device (such as tablets or smart phones). There is a solution, and one that can add value to your home and make your home more hi-tech. Adding a USB outlet in your home (or in a few areas of your home) is an easy update that even the most novice homeowner can do. See below for instructions to add a USB outlet in your home.

Here's What You'll Need For The Job:

  • USB receptacle
  • USB receptacle cover plate
  • Wire snips
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver (flat and Phillips)
  • Multimeter
  1. To start, turn the power off to the outlet where you will be working. If you have all of your breakers marked, then you probably know which breaker to turn off, but if you're like most people, you may need to turn off each one individually until you get to the right breaker. Plug in a lamp, nightlight or even a radio. Once the light or sound turns off, you know you've hit the right breaker. Have a helper aid you with this so you aren't running back and forth over and over again.
  2. Once the power is off (and tested it with a multimeter to be sure), you can begin removing the old receptacle.
  3. Remove the cover plate first using a flat head screwdriver.
  4. Next, use a screwdriver to remove the screws (at the top and bottom) holding the receptacle in place. Gently pull the receptacle out of the box, noting the wires attached to the receptacle. There should be three different colored wires - black(hot), white(neutral), and copper (ground).
  5. Remove the wires from the receptacle. Depending on the type you are replacing, the wires may be pushed in or wrapped around screws. Remove the wires as best you can. If they need to be cut, use the wire cutters to cut them as closely to the receptacle as possible. Then use the wire strippers to cut the insulation back on the wire to expose the end about an inch.
  6. Straighten out the wires with a pair of needle nose pliers or just use your fingers.
  7. Take the new USB receptacle and begin attaching the wires to the receptacle. The ground wire goes to the green screw. The white wires go to the silver screw and the black wires goes to either a black or gold screw. The waythe wires are attached depends on the type of receptacle you have. Some may need to be bent around the screw, while others are kept straight and pressed into holes next to the screw. Figure out which type of receptacle you have, then attach the wires.
  8. Tighten the screws after the wires are attached.
  9. Place the receptacle back into the box in the wall and attach the screws that came with the receptacle to hold it in place.
  10. Add the cover plate and carefully tighten the screws. Don't over-tighten, or you'll crack the wall plate.
  11. Turn the power back on at the breaker and test your new outlet. Do this by plugging in a small appliance, radio or light to be sure the outlet works properly, and then plug in a USB plug and your tech device to be sure the USB works properly as well.

Replacing an old, outdated outlet with a USB outlet will help cut down on looking for a place to plug in your tech device, or having to unplug an essential item such as a lamp or other item, just to charge a cell phone or tablet. Replace an outlet in your kitchen, bedroom or other room where you typically charge your devices. Call Alpha Omega Electric for help replacing your outlets, or to help you with other rewiring needs.


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