wrap in electrical tape

Update your Electrical Outlet to a USB Outlet

A simple 10 min DIY can really make all the difference in a single space. We updated a regular outlet to a USB outlet at our kitchen counter and it’s made all the difference in our makeshift office!

Watch the full video on How to Update Your Outlets

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We’ve been working from home for months now and we’re constantly unplugging each other’s devices to recharge our own. We wanted to make a quick update that would bring better functionality to our counter.

To give you an idea of the difference between a regular outlet and a USB outlet, take a look at these pictures.

usb outlet vs regular outlet
side by side usb outlet and regular outlet

The USB outlet pictured on the left is significantly larger than the normal dual plug outlet on the right. With the USB outlet, you’re able to have 4 devices plugged in at the same time. That means two computers and two phones can all be charging at the same time. Which is perfect for our current needs. The USB outlet also has a computer processing chip that measures the amount of electricity that is needed depending on the number of devices that are plugged in at a given time, making the USB outlet highly efficient.

Step 1: Turn off the power at the breaker

Safety is really important. It’s best to shut off the electric at the breaker before starting any wiring project.

Step 2: Remove the cover and the existing outlet

pull the outlet out

Depending on the style of cover and outlet you have, there are 1 or two screws that need to be removed to take the cover off the wall. Once the over is off, there will be a couple of more screws that attach the outlet to the electrical box that will need to be removed as well. Take your time.

use needle nose pliers

Once the outlet is out, you can use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the wires from the outlet. Since you should have already turned the electric off at the breaker, it is OK to touch the wires.

Step 3: Attach the New USB Outlet

how to attach the new usb outlet

On the back of the outlet you’ll see two labels that correspond with two wire terminals. These are labeled so you know where to put the wires. WHITE is where the white wire goes. WHITE is your neutral charged wire. HOT is where the black wire goes. This is where the electric current is located.

attach the wires

The third wire is Copper and that gets connected in the last terminal. Sometimes the Copper wire it on the bottom of the outlet (like the one pictured above), or the opposite side. It is usually not immediately grouped with WHITE and HOT.

Step 4: Wrap in Electrical Tape

wrap in electrical tape

Wrapping the USB outlet in electrical tape will help the wires stay in place. This isn’t a mandatory step, but this is a nice safety measure to put in place.

Step 5: Secure the USB Outlet back in the Wall and Reattach the Wall Plate

It’s been great having up to four devices charging all at the same time!

usb outlet

If you like this DIY and would like to see more, check out our other DIY blog posts >

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