How to Install an Outlet‐Mounted Surge Protector or USB Extender Box

If you have a problem with too many electrical devices around (especially those that have USB charge plugs), these outlet-mounted surge protectors (that plug right into the existing outlets) and are angry with plugging them into your computer to keep them powered (or to keep them charged), one of these surge protectors may be what you might want to be looking for. However, they look tricky to install, until you get into working with them. If you need to install one, follow these directions below to find out how this can be done.


  1. 1
    Unbox the USB outlet/surge protector item once you've transported it home. Inside most of these boxes, you'll find that the surge protector is there (that has prongs that will be inserted into the wall directly), as well as a longer-sized screw.
  2. 2
    Recognize that you don't need to turn off the electrical power to install an additional one of these outlet boxes, unless you feel safer doing so.
  3. 3
    Find and take off the original switchplate. For almost all of these, you can only install these outlet surge protectors onto a 2-outlet electrical plate that only contain 2 outlets. If you see more than that, or another set next to this, you'll need to find another outlet where these can be installed. You'll most likely need a screwdriver that is either Phillips head or flathead. For European, there are metric screwdrivers that are available that must be used in place of these, but this will differ dependant on the type of screw that was used.
    • You can't just take the outlet out of the box and stuff it into the switchplate. Although that would look logical and way too easy, it's not safe to do anything with that type of outlet to plug it in that way.
    • Much like regular electrical outlet extenders that contain six outlets that go right into the wall, these must have the original outlet switchplate removed first.
    • Set the switchplate and screw off to the side. You should be now done with this older switchplate (as the older switchplate can be used elsewhere now).
  4. 4
    Make sure that the original outlet box set has been tightened down, if it's been quite awhile since it's last adjustment. If it hasn't been too long (about a year or two is on average the max time when these screws start to come a teeny bit loose and will continue to loosen over time) ago, you can skip this step and continue on with the steps below, unless you want to double-check that these are still steady and will not move, causing the outlet to loosen
  5. 5
    Figure out the direction of the way the outlets are formed. For American outlets with the three prongs (two long and one almost round), you'll need to know the direction in which they are facing so the one can go right overtop of the other one without problems. Some can be facing to the left, some can be facing to the right, and some can be one on top of the other, and others yet can be one on top of the other--bottom side up!
  6. 6
    Try to match the prongs of the surge protector outlet up with the original outlet, as you push these prongs into the outlet themselves. Look at the back of the surge protector outlet to look at the prongs and the way they are formed, much like you looked at the outlet themselves in the previous step, but now on the surge protector as you plug it into the wall itself.
  7. 7
    Grab onto the edges, as soon as you've aligned the surge protector's holes up and have started to push them into the outlet themselves, and continue pushing. Your palm of your hand must be completely open and extended and almost covering most of the electrical outlets on the surge protector outlet extender box, as you push it into the wall.
  8. 8
    Stop pushing the box into the outlet until it stops or becomes unmovable and tight. There will be a tiny gap between the original outlet box and the surge protector outlet, but if you can stick your finger between them, you know you've gotten it not far enough in. If you can only see the tips of the grounding prongs on either side of the original outlet box, you'll know that they are in far enough.
    • Try not to stick your fingers in at an angle, if you can get them down between this crack. Although you shouldn't need to turn off the power to add this box, you can turn off the power; as long as you keep your fingers out, you should be fine and electrical-short free!
  9. 9
    Take the screw and place it into the center hole of the box between the three prong outlet and the USB ports. Make sure not to confuse this center hole with the grounding prong (that looks like a half-moon with a flat bottom) hole of the electrical outlet; however, outlets are built so that the screw can't be inserted into this hole, no matter how hard you try to (without brute force, that is).
  10. 10
    Use your screw driver to tighten down the screw that came inside the outlet extender box with this surge protector outlet extender.
  11. 11
    Turn back on the power, if you decided to turn it off earlier.
  12. 12
    Sample (or plug in) an electrically-powered item to ensure all outlets work. If it came with USB ports, try both of these out as well. Make sure to know the concepts built into the USB extenders as some of them have special rules for plugging in any iOS devices you might own (such as iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, etc.)
    • If the one outlet works, the others should; however, try them all out. Use a low-powered electrical appliance such as a night-light or other small light to ensure you aren't draining massive amounts of power and overcharging the circuits all at once.
    • As you unplug the appliance the first time, make sure to watch for any slight variations of the electrical box, as sometimes if the box isn't tightened down enough, it could slip around, causing both the outlet to make the prongs slip around in the plug as well as the box to move around on the wall, and this must be rectified promptly (ASAP)!


  • If you commonly run into problems with having to plug in too many iOS devices and have one of these with the USBs that take iOS devices, these an ultimate gift for properly powering and charging these devices and keeping them charged.


  • Make sure the outlet is made specifically for your country, if you got it sent from out of your own home country. Much like American outlets can't be put on European outlets (due to different voltages and different designs of these outlets), European outlet's can't be put on American outlets.

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Categories: Electrical Circuits and Devices | Electrical and Electronic Circuits