When you need to do large appliance installations or major wiring and rewiring you definitely need to call a qualified electrician to handle that for you. While there is no such thing as a safe electrical repair or upgrade, there are a couple of fairly simple upgrades or repairs that you can make if you have the tools, knowledge and materials. One such type of work is installing a new outlet in a place where one already exists but is broken. Here are a few helpful hints to aid you in the process.
The first thing you will want to do is go to the electrical supply store and pick up one or two new outlets to install. Make sure you are getting the correct type of outlet. A modern outlet should have three prongs and there should be a ground wire present to attach in the new outlet. If the outlet is going to be installed outside, in a garage, in a garden or inside in a kitchen or bathroom, the outlet should be equipped with ground fault interrupt feature (GFI).
The next thing you will need to do is turn off the power to the circuit you will be working on. If your outlet is broken, this could be difficult if the outlet is getting no power. Find the breaker that controls the circuit your old outlet is on and turn the power off. At this point you can carefully remove the screws holding the outlet onto the wall. You should be able to see the wires where they attach to the outlet. Do not touch them yet! You need to use your multimeter to test the wires for voltage. Be sure the multimeter is set for AC current and not DC. Some multimeters will display a false reading of 0 volts if set to DC accidentally. In this case when you touch those wires you could be seriously injured. Once you are sure there is no electricity you can disconnect the wires form the old outlet, attach them to the new outlet in the same positions as before and attach the outlet to the wall. Once you restore the power by turning the breaker on again the outlet should work.
If the outlet isn’t working, it is time to call an electrician because the problem is either the breaker or the wiring from the breaker to the outlet. You should never attempt repairs on either of these on your own. Defective wiring in the walls is very dangerous and needs to be repaired immediately by a professional electrician. Also, if the problem is in the breaker box, or the breaker needing to be replaced, this is professional level work and should not be attempted by an amateur.
Electricity is unquestionably one of our basic necessities. Aside from food, water and shelter, it is one of the most important needs in modern life, so considering this fact, try to have an electrician take care of it when you can’t. Risking your life to do major electrical work you are not qualified for isn’t a smart idea.