Lock, Shock, & Two Smoking Barrels – How to replace an electrical outlet…

My son is crawling around the house now, and has a newfound fascination with all sorts of things. Like power cables and electrical outlets.  You know, those things you definitely do not want a small child playing with.

I didn’t want to go full-bore baby-proofing on the house like the classic Last Man Standing episode (Season 1, Episode 2, if you want to check it out), but I wanted to take the time to make the house safer. This meant replacing the basic electrical outlets that were initially installed in the house with tamper resistant outlets. They’re great outlets because they have a shutter system that prevents things like tiny fingers, keys, etc. from being stuck in one side of the outlet, reducing the possibility of your child getting an electrical shock. And as an added bonus, you don’t have to pull out those irritating safety plugs every time you need to plug something in. Check out the video above!

What you’ll need:


  • Screwdrivers (Philips and flat head most likely, although as I point out in my video, sometimes contractors use whatever random screws are lying around when they’re finishing a job.)
  • Wire Stripper (If you don’t have dedicated wire strippers, you can sometimes use Needle Nose Pliers or a Razor knife if you’re careful)
  • Non-Contact Voltage Tester (One of those handy things to make sure you’ve killed power to an outlet before you start replacing it. Always check both receptacles in case they’re wired on different circuits)


  • Tamper resistant outlets (They come in different shapes and sizes, but I really like the Leviton Decora style)
  • Face plates (Because I switched to the Decora style, all of the existing face plates needed to be replaced, too. I prefer the unbreakable nylon style)

Disclaimer: Almost any DIY project involves risk of some sort. Your tools, materials, and skills will vary, as will the conditions at your project site. The Hesitant Handyman has made every effort to be complete and accurate in the instructions provided on this website. The Hesitant Handyman will not assume any responsibility or liability for damages or losses sustained or incurred in the course of your project or in the use of the item you create. Always follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions in the use of tools, check and follow your local building codes, and observe all commonly accepted safety precautions.

If I’m linking to a tool or material, there’s a good chance it will direct you to Amazon—using the magic of affiliate linking, your use of the links in the post lets Amazon know I sent you their way, and if you buy something within 24 hours, I’ll receive a commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it helps us keep the lights on.
Rest assured, I’m not going to randomly pitch you on something that I don’t think you could use—Whenever possible, I try to link to the tools I use myself. If it’s something I don’t have, I only recommend tools from brands I trust.


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