How to fix a burnt-out wall outlet

Updated February 21, 2017

Electrical sockets may fail for a number of reasons, including simply wearing out after years of use, having overloaded circuits melt the wires inside or even because of an incorrectly inserted plug. When they burn out, or fail, replace the outlet with a brand new one. While you may find it easier to call the local electrician, it is definitely less expensive to replace it yourself -- with another benefit being that you can replace it on your own schedule.

Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the burnt-out wall outlet. Insert a circuit tester into the outlet to verify that the power is off.

Unscrew the outlet cover from the outlet and set it aside. If you plan on replacing it with a new one, you can discard it at this time. Unscrew the wall outlet from the electrical box and gently unfold the wiring.

Loosen the screws where the electrical wiring connects to the outlet and remove the wiring. A typical outlet installation involves a black (hot) wire, a white (neutral) wire an a green (ground) wire.

Discard the old outlet. Connect the wiring to the new outlet. For typical outlet installations, connect the black wire to the gold terminal and the white wire to the silver terminal. The green wire connects to the green terminal.

Fasten the outlet to the electrical box with the provided screws. Tighten them all the way down while taking care not to kink the electrical wiring.

Position the outlet cover into place and fasten it with its provided screws. Restore power to the circuit and test your new outlet.


If you replace your outlet and you still do not have power, you could either have a fault in the electrical wiring between the outlet and the circuit breaker panel or the circuit breaker may have gone bad.

Things You'll Need

  • Circuit tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • New outlet cover (optional)
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