Back Button

How to Wire a Two-Way Electrical Outlet

Nichole Liandi

A two-way, or duplex outlet, is the common electrical outlet we're familiar with in our homes. These will occasionally need to be replaced, or you may need to wire a new one in a remodeling job or addition. This basic piece of electrical wiring is a skill every homeowner should be familiar with--it requires only basic tools and a few minutes of time.

  1. Turn off all power to the circuit you'll be working on by switching the circuit breaker to "OFF" at the circuit breaker box.

  2. Strip 3/8 to 1/2 inch of insulation from the wires you'll attach to the outlet with wire strippers. If the outlet will be part of a circuit leading to another outlet, a switch, or a light, strip the same amount of insulation from that pair of wires as well.

  3. Bend the bare wires so that each is shaped like a small hook, large enough to fit over the screw terminals of the outlet. A small pair of needle-nosed pliers is perfect for this task.

  4. Loosen the screw terminals on the sides of the outlet with a screwdriver. Back the screws out far enough so that you can slip the ends of the wires over them easily.

  5. Wiring the outlet
  6. Take the first pair of wires and slide one wire over the the first brass-colored screw terminal, and one wire over the first silver-colored terminal. Tighten the screws so that the wires are securely held in place. Repeat this process with the second pair of wires and second set of screw terminals.

  7. Push the outlet into the gang box in your wall, and screw it in place with two screws, one at the top, and one at the bottom.

  8. Turn the power on and test the outlet. Then put the outlet cover onto the outlet with a screwdriver.