How to wire a home electrical plug

Written by jonra springs
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How to wire a home electrical plug
A three-prong plug should securely fit into a grounded outlet. (electrical socket image by Mat Hayward from

A household plug with three prongs is wired with the same configuration as an electrical receptacle, and both receptacles and plugs use the same colour codes for terminal screws. It's necessary to replace a plug if the prongs get bent and straightened too many times and the metal prongs break. A replacement plug that is wired incorrectly will short out when it gets plugged into an outlet. Then it will have to be replaced by someone who knows how to wire a plug.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire cutters
  • Slotted screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Remove the old plug by cutting through the cord just behind it with wire cutters. Cut one inch down the jacket lengthwise with the wire cutters to expose the three individual wires within. Cut off the one inch section of jacket.

  2. 2

    Strip 1/2 inch of the insulation off each of the three coloured wires with wire cutters. Use gentle pressure on the small insulation coatings with the wire cutter blades to avoid cutting completely through the copper wires inside.

  3. 3

    Snap the cover off the replacement plug, and loosen the terminal screws inside. Replace a plug by matching the colour-coded terminal screws to the proper wire colours. The brass coloured terminal gets the black wire, the silver terminal takes the white wire and the green terminal secures the green wire.

  4. 4

    Wire a plug onto the bare copper wires from the old cord. Push the stripped wires up into the back end of the plug housing. Wrap the black wire clockwise around the brass coloured terminal screw without crossing the copper wire over itself. Tighten the terminal screw with a slotted screwdriver. Wrap the white wire around the silver terminal screw and the green wire around the green terminal in the same way and tighten both terminal screws firmly.

Tips and warnings

  • Electrical wiring should only be performed by those with residential electric training and experience.

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