One of the first jobs I wanted to tackle when we moved in a few months ago was to replace every electric receptacle in the house. Every one of them was ancient, ugly, and barely usable. Most of them were only two-prong outlets (which means that we couldn’t plug in anything that requires the third ground prong – like a laptop!). They were all so loosy-goosy, plugs would just fall out of them. Many of them had been painted in place so many times that the slots were painted shut. Here’s a representative example of what they looked like:
Gross, huh? You couldn’t even plug something into that bottom receptacle if you wanted to! One plug I found was even so old that the slots weren’t even parallel to each other! I don’t know if this was some kind of special plug, or if all plugs used to have one slot angled like that, but I knew I definitely didn’t want it in my wall anymore. Anyone out there know what’s up with the angled slot?
Slowly but surely over the past few months I’ve been swapping them out one by one for new hardware, and correcting a few deficiencies along the way. A couple of the outlets were obviously newer than the ones pictured here, but the previous owner had mismatched a few of them with different circuit amps. The previous owner had used 15 amp outlets everywhere – even on the 20 amp circuits. When I replaced them, there were two outlets that I had to upgrade to a 20 amp receptacle. (HINT: you can identify a 20 amp receptacle because the neutral slot will be T-shaped like below):
It also seemed like a good time to get around to sticking some of those plastic kid-blocker things in all the outlets since we’ve got a curious 8-month-old wandering around.
I was worried I was going to run into a bunch of problems with the old cloth-covered wiring, but it ended up not being much of a problem at all. Boy the difference in the quality of wiring used in our current 1939 home compared to our previous home which was built in 1909 is shocking! (lol – see what I did there?)
Anyway, replacing outlets is one of my favorite jobs, because it’s simple, and because it goes a long way to sprucing up an old room, don’t you think?