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How To Change An Outlet To Include A USB Port

Upgrading the outlets in your home can make your home appear more up to date, and it can add value to your home as well. Upgrading your outlets can also add functionality to your home. For instance, adding an outlet with a USB port can allow you to charge your devices without the need to find a USB plug every time. Adding USB outlets to your home is fairly simple to do. If you're handy with a screwdriver and know how to turn off the power to your outlet, you should be able to handle this job. Read on for instructions to help you get this done.

What You'll Need

To complete this task, you will need a USB outlet, a new outlet cover, a flathead and a Phillips screwdriver, and a multimeter.


To start, you're going to need to turn the power off to your outlet. You can plug something into the outlet to be sure the power is off, or you can use a multimeter to check for continuity to ensure there is no power to your outlet before you start working on it. 

Once you know there is no power to the outlet, you can start removing it. Take off the cover; then remove the outlet, and pull it out of the junction box in the wall. Watch the wiring that goes to the outlet so you know where the wires are supposed to go on the new outlet. There should be three wires, a white wire (neutral), a copper wire (ground), and a black wire (hot).

Remove the outlet from the wiring, and toss the old outlet. Pull the wires out just a bit so you have enough to work with and can attach the wiring to the new outlet.

Take the new USB outlet, and look at the screws on the outlet. Take the copper ground wire and attach it to the green screw on the outlet. Form a hook shape to the wire, place it around the green screw, and tighten the screw to hold the wire in place. Repeat for the hot wire and the neutral wire, attaching them to the proper screws on the outlet. If they aren't marked, or you don't have a diagram, the black wire should go on the darker colored screw, and the white wire should go on the lighter colored screw.

Finally, place the outlet into the junction box in the wall, and screw it into place so it holds in the junction box. Then replace the outlet cover.

Turn the power back on to the outlet, and test the outlet to be sure it is working properly.

Upgrade your outlets to USB outlets for more function in your home and to update your home. Hire a residential electrician to help you get this job done if you aren't able to do this work yourself.