January 15, 2018

Upgrading to Screwless Outlets and Switches in 30 Minutes

One thing you're almost guaranteed to run into when you buy an old house is outdated outlets and switches. Most of them don't match and some of them might even still be two pronged. But you don't feel like taking that hour and that wallet to update them all. Thankfully, Legrand's Radiant collection comes to the rescue with a modern and affordable line of switches and outlets. With several different types of outlets and switches (USB/wifi-controlles/dimmers/home automation) and in several colors (even metallic!), you're sure to step up your outlet game.

Our guest room is the room that needed the most outlet love. With 2 switches and 3 outlets, most were still from the 80's. The first switch is the main fan-light switch by the door - you can see the actual switch is sunken into the faceplate because they are so old and it makes the loudest clicking noise imaginable.

The most used outlet is in the corner next to the window where guest plug their phones and electronics in.

Right under the window is another outlet - rarely used unless I'm cleaning things, but you see it almost 100% of the time since it is located above the vent which we don't cover up.

Our 1960's (actually 1957) house has old walls and I don't think any of them are straight. See the below picture for evidence. Probably could be fixed with a new electrical box and some strategic spacers, but that's another project for another day.

Let's get down to business! (to defeat, duh duh, the huns)

How do you change a switch or outlet? This is the first house I've worked with anything electrical - so if I can do it, you can do it too. Just follow these 10 steps and in just 10 minutes you'll have pretty new switch.

1. TURN THE POWER OFF. This is pretty simple with modern circuit breaker boxes. 

2. Double check - test that the power is off in every outlet. You really don't want to mess with electrical shocks, I may or may not have lost feeling in my middle finger nail because I didn't double check last time. I use this Klein Tools NCVT-2 Dual Range Non-Contact Voltage Tester one- it's great, has more than 1,000 reviews and is only $18. Messing up is a heck of a teacher, go ahead and learn from me and spend the $18.

2. Remove faceplate. If your's are nasty like mine, they went straight from the wall to the trash can.

3. Unscrew switch (or outlet) from electrical box. Mine were painted shut so I had to shove the screwdriver under the switch and pop it off. Pull it out of the box so you can work with the wires.

4. Unscrew one wire and disconnect from switch. I start with the top one and work clockwise.

5. Connect and screw that wire on to the same terminal on the new switch.

6. Repeat for next wire. If you're doing an outlet, you'll have two terminals on both sides - in that case repeat the process for all terminals.

7. Double check are terminals are snug. The rule of thumb is to tighten it until the screw stops, then tighten it just a tad more. No need to strip out a screw or make it hard to release next time.

8. Screw switch back into electrical box. If you have old wiring like ours, then you know how stiff that solid copper wire can be - but don't be afraid to stuff it back in there.

9. If you have screwless faceplates, fasten the faceplate back to the switch - if not simply screw your plate on.

10. Snap on the faceplate...

11. ... and presto! A beautiful new switch.

Did I mention this brand has a night light option?! It's so small you wouldn't think it would matter, but when you get up and it's dark that tiny light is a life saver. No more stumbling around and feeling in the dark for the switch - you know exactly where it is.

There is nothing I hate more than going to someone's house overnight and forgetting my phone charger. If I can make it to the next day without it, I try not to bother my hosts with it. In order to prevent my guests from feeling like that, I places a charger in the guest room. But what's better than a charger - A USB ENABLED OUTLET. Yes sir, Legrand makes outlets with USB connections. No more extra charger being plugged in, I'll leave the cable in the nightstand just in case.

Subtle and sleek - not much more you can ask for!

I really didn't mind normal switches before, but after using these wide push (instead of flick) ones I am 100% on board. And that's only talking about their functionality. This line is stunningly modern and perfectly affordable for any DIY'er. The before and afters really speak for themselves.

Aren't you going to go replace all your outlets now?? Please share pictures on Insta (@jonesvilleblog) or Facebook so I have share in all your new modern-loving joy. And I hope the Radiant collection on your short list - they really are so beautiful in person.

Want to know about why we do sponsored posts? You can read more about my sposorships and affiliates policy here.

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