Restore Family Harmony By Installing USB-Enhanced Outlets

Many family squabbles are often precipitated by the need for additional outlet space for charging cell phones and tablets. While you can opt for  power strips filled with charging blocks, this option limits use to a specific area, The power strips themselves are tripping hazards, dust collectors, and aesthetically displeasing.

Installing a USB-enhanced outlet adds two additional USB ports, free the two receptacles, and allows the precious charging adapters to be used elsewhere in the home.

What will you need to install a USB enhanced outlet?

The USB outlet

An open face plate 

Because these outlets have USB ports in the center between the two receptacles, your old face plate, with the center occupied by the connecting screw, won't work. An open face plate is basically a rectangular frame, with holes at the top and bottom to match the upper and lower connecting screws of the outlet.

Flat and Philips head screwdrivers

How do you remove the old outlet?

You must first turn off the circuit breaker that controls power to the outlet. This is essential to prevent electric shock or electrocution.

When this is done, you will remove the face plate by loosening the center screw. Next, loosen the upper and lower screws that secure the outlet in the gang box inside the wall, and pull the outlet from the wall.

The next step will be to disconnect the wires that are attached to the outlet. You can do this by turning the terminal screws counterclockwise and pulling the wires away. Keep all wires separated.

How do you install the USB-enhanced outlet

You will have disconnected either one or two sets of three wires from the old outlet. If one set of three wires is present, loop the black wire in a clockwise direction under the top brass terminal screw of the new outlet and tighten it securely. Connect the white wire to the top silver terminal and the green wire to the single green terminal in the same manner.

If a second set of three wires are present, connect the second black wire to the bottom brass terminal, the white wire to the bottom silver terminal, and the green wire to the single green terminal.

Push the outlet into the gang box inside the wall, then align the connection holes of the open face plate with those of the outlet. Screw both the outlet and face plate into place with the same two screws.

Turn on the breaker and bask in the enhanced family tranquility provided by the enhanced outlet.

If you have questions about the installation process, turn to a professional like Etheridge Electric Company Inc.