Outlets and Switches

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 18, 2020

Electrical Outlet

Electrical outlet replacement is a job that some homeowners may not feel comfortable doing themselves. The fact is, though outlet or switch replacement is a relatively straightforward job, dealing with your home’s electrical wiring is intimidating for a reason. The threat of shock and the future threat of fire are both pretty scary, and doing this task improperly can have serious consequences. This job can certainly be done by a do-it-yourselfer, but if you’re not sure what you are doing, it is usually best left to an expert.

On This Page:

  1. Outlet Replacement
  2. Switch Replacement
  3. Thermostat Replacement
  4. Hiring an Electrician
  5. How to Insulate Electrical Outlets

Outlet Replacement

With outlets, it’s helpful to know what type is most appropriate in different situations. Do you need a GFI (also called GFCI, short for ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet or will a regular 120-volt receptacle do? Exterior, kitchen and bathroom outlets should be protected by a GFI to guard against electrocution. Does the outlet need to be grounded? Knowing the answers to these questions is important if you plan on doing the job yourself.

Switch Replacement

If you’re replacing switches, you may want to consider upgrading them. In recent years, there has been something of a design renaissance in light switches that offer a variety of features including (but of course, not limited to): full-range dimming, a delayed fade from on to off, dimmers that remember a range of different settings, switches that automatically turn on lights when a person enters the room, central lighting controls that operate lights anywhere in the house, and even hand-held infrared remotes.

Thermostat Replacement

Replacing a thermostat is an operation that is quite similar to switch or electrical outlet replacement. Thermostats have a temperature sensor and activating switch to control heating and cooling equipment and keep temperatures at a set range. Newer models, such as smart home thermostats, are programmable, electronic devices that couple sensors with circuitry and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to do the job. Electronic thermostats have become affordable and can repay their costs through energy savings. Every degree of heat you reduce will cut about three percent from your heating bill.

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Hiring a Handyman for Electrical Outlet Replacement

If you are in the market for thermostat, switch, or electrical outlet replacement, you might want to skip doing the job yourself and simply hire a handyman service. The nice thing about hiring a handyman is that you can bundle several different kinds of jobs around the house together and have them all done in one day. This will not only save you time, but can also save you some money by using one man or woman for all the jobs instead of hiring separate companies to come out and deal with each task individually. Though electrical outlet replacement is intimidating for many homeowners, it is a pretty quick and easy job for someone with experience. If you couple this task with repairing a drafty window and fixing a few leaky faucets, you’re sure to get your money’s worth with a handyman service (and make your home a more enjoyable place to live, all in one day).

How to Insulate Electrical Outlets

Your outlets are a common source of cold air leaks. Adding outlet insulation will eliminate drafts and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Here’s how to add your insulation:

  1. Buy an outlet gasket. Electrical outlet gaskets are pieces of foam that are cut into the shape of an outlet. You can purchase outlet gaskets at your local hardware store.
  2. Install the gasket. Turn off the power to the outlet. Unscrew the faceplate and place the gasket on the inside of the outlet cover. Reattach the cover.

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