Floor outlets (also called drop-in or poke-through outlets) offer a convenient way to place electrical outlets in a home or office, especially in large open areas.
They are designed to be flush with the floor, so they are unobtrusive. But if you need to access one, you will want to know how to open the cover. It’s quite simple, but you’ll need a screwdriver.
To open a floor outlet cover, you only have to push it down with a finger, and a spring mechanism will open it. Otherwise, if you see a cover slot, gently insert a regular flathead screwdriver into it deeply until it can go no further, then press it. If it becomes difficult, use WD40 or oil to lubricate the spring-loaded pins. To fix a floor outlet, you would have to open it completely.
I will show you the usefulness of floor outlets, how to open them to use them, and how to open one if you need to repair or replace it.
Uses of Floor Outlets
Floor outlets are convenient in large open areas with no wall nearby, or installing them on one would not be convenient.
However, they are also found in bedrooms and living rooms, as some homeowners prefer. Like regular outlets, they can be used for any appliances (up to the circuit’s rated capacity).
Another advantage of floor outlets is that they don’t get in the way of furniture you place against the walls.
Protecting Floor Outlets
If you have floor outlets in your home or office, you need to take extra care to keep them covered while they are not in use.
Floor outlets must be protected from dust and water as much as possible. Minimizing the risk of short-circuiting, ground faults, and fire is vital.
Opening a Floor Outlet
I will show you how to open a floor outlet cover, whether for using or fixing it.
Opening a Floor Outlet Cover for Use
Opening a floor outlet cover is straightforward.
You only need a flathead screwdriver to open it for regular use. Insert the screwdriver deeply into the slot on the cover until it can go no further. Then gently press it. It should pop out easily.
Another common type is where you push the cover, and a similar mechanism opens the cover. You won’t need a screwdriver if you have this type.
If it becomes difficult to open it over time, use WD40 or oil to lubricate the spring-loaded pins.
Opening a Floor Outlet Cover for Fixing It
The Things You’ll Need
To open a floor outlet cover for fixing it, you will need the following items:
- Needle-nose pliers
In addition, you might also need a wire cutter, electrical tape, and a flashlight.
Step 1: Turn Off the Power
Before opening a floor outlet to fix it, turn off the power at the main panel.
Locate the circuit breaker protecting the circuit on which you’ve connected the floor outlet and switch it off. Additionally, you can confirm that there is no current by using a voltage tester.
Step 2: Open the Cover
You must first remove the cover plate screws to remove the floor outlet cover.
Use a screwdriver to open these screws. Typically, there are only two or three screws to open, which are equally spaced around the outlet’s outer rim.
Step 3: Pull Out the Cover Plate
With the cover screws removed, pull the cover plate away.
If the floor outlet is nailed or stapled to the floor, use the screwdriver to help you. But do it carefully, without damaging the floor. If it doesn’t open easily, use a pry bar or crowbar.
Step 4: Disconnect the Wires
Disconnect the wires when you have access to them behind the floor outlet.
Use the screwdriver and needle-nose pliers to disconnect the wires from the terminals. If you reconnect the outlet or install a new one, note which wire goes where. You can also take a picture using a smartphone.
Step 5: Work on the Outlet
Once the wires are disconnected, you can work on the outlet.
You are now clear to either do maintenance or repair work on the outlet you removed or to replace it with a new one.
Step 6: Reconnect the Wires
After repairing the outlet or installing a new one, you can reconnect the wires.
Just make sure:
- You connect the right wires to the right terminals.
- You secure the wires to the terminal screws firmly.
Step 7: Replace the Cover Plate
You can replace the cover plate when the wiring is secured.
Carefully fit the outlet back onto the box, ensuring it is flush with the floor and that the screw holes are aligned with the holes on the box.
Step 8: Secure the Cover Plate
Once the cover plate is in place, screw it tight (but not too tight).
The floor outlet is now ready to be used again.
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