Handy homeowners can replace a ground fault circuit interrupter switch with a Phillips-head and slotted screwdriver, wire stripper, voltage tester and flashlight; the process involves removing the old switch and connecting the wires of the new switch. Homeowners will also want to wear protection, such as safety glasses and gloves, while working.
A GFCI switch is an important and sometimes required type of electrical switch for kitchens, bathrooms and other areas where water or high amounts of electricity are used. It is essential to shut off the electricity to that switch before starting work. Follow the steps below to replace the switch.
- Remove old wall switch
- Check the wires
- Connect the wires
Turn off power to the outlet at the building's circuit breaker. Unscrew the wall plate and test the switch itself with a voltage tester to make sure the power is off. Remove the switch receptacle by unscrewing the top and bottom screws. Disconnect the wires from the sides of the receptacle.
Remove the insulation to expose about 3/4 inch at the ends of the wires, if necessary. Straighten the wires and position them so that none of them are touching. Turn the power back on temporarily and test each of the wires to determine which of them is the hot wire. Turn the power back off and mark the hot wire with a piece of tape wrapped around the insulation. There is likely one white and one black hot wire.
Loosen the terminal screws of the new GFCI. Connect the black hot wire to the brass screw with the line mark and connect the white wire to the traveler terminal. Connect the other white and black wires to the low screws on each side of the receptacle. Connect bare copper ground wires to the green ground screw. Carefully push the wires back into place and screw the receptacle and the wall plate back into place. Restore the power and test with voltage tester.