Most homes in the U.S are wired with a combination of 15-amp and 20-amp, 120-volt circuits. Often you will see standard 15-amp variety outlets in homes today, with two slots and a u-shaped grounding hole. These are commonly used for everyday electrical needs.
Often when speaking with new home-owners who just purchased we recommend replacing the old electrical outlets with updated safer versions after years of prior use. Not only does this help update the look of your household, but also helps avoid issues in the future after you move your family in.
Chances are you know about common outlets and outlets integrated with USB ports, but you would be surprised to at just how many different outlets you can buy and install into any property you might own.
GFI as it is commonly called or GFCI is short for a ground fault circuit interrupter. This is meant to quickly shut off an outlet power when it detects a short circuit or ground fault. When in use, the current comes through the hot wire and returns back through the neutral wire, but if electricity flow is detected beyond this, the GFI ( GFCI) outlet will trip. This type of outlet is crucial for bathroom installations and anywhere near a water source within your property. Having the proper protection on your electrical outlets will help prevent accidental electrocutions from the use of appliances such as hair dryers and more.
Though it’s not as well-known as a GFCI outlet, an AFCI outlet looks very similar to one. AFCI stands for “Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter” It protects from arcs, which happen when electricity jumps instantly from one wire to another which can then in return result in a fire. Often these are installed at the beginning of every circuit, which in return will protect all outlets following in that circuit. AFCI outlet installation is also used when adding additions to your home when you need more circuits. The most important reason for AFCI outlet installation and protection is that simply help to avoid house fires and accidents as well!
20A circuits and 20A Outlets allow for more power-hungry devices to run without tripping breakers inside your panel box. Because these circuits can support 25% more load compared to most other outlets, they are ideal for areas with power tools, big machinery, and heavy equipment. You will also find 20A circuits installed in kitchens and laundry rooms as well. These outlets stand out from their sibling the 15A and can be identified by a small T notch in the left prong of the outlet. When identified, this means that this outlet and the circuit it’s on is rated at 20 Amps.
If you’re looking to control an outlet by turning it on and off whenever you want, a switched outlet is the one you are looking for. It’s a receptacle that includes one outlet, and a switch that turns it on and off. This is commonly used for when you have something that is plugged into an outlet, but you don’t want it to be on the entire time. From working in the garage with tools, to a light in the bedroom, the switched outlet is multipurpose. When deciding on the exact outlets you need in your home, our team of electrical technicians can help guide you and design the perfect circuitry for your electrical needs.
By now, most of us have come across and outlet or two that now have a USB port located inside of the unit. While most of us wish all our houses would come with these, they are still fairly new to the market. However, don’t worry, as we can easily install these for you into your new home. There are a variety of USB-equipped outlets available. A popular go to option are the variety that still come with two outlet receptacles, but also two USB ports for charging your mobile devices. You can also find one that replaces both receptacles with four USB ports so the entire family can charge with 4 amps each which means a full speed charge for everyone!
If you want to take your new home to the next level and are tech savvy, the smart outlet is for you! They’re like regular outlets, but can be controlled from a selection of smartphones and voice activated devices. This means that these smart outlets can be turned on and off from almost anywhere! Smart outlet options include the belkin WeMo switches which plug into your existing outlets, which are basically adapters you plug in or you can get smart-enabled receptacles that replace any traditional outlet entirely. Odds are if you are considering this option, you already have a smart home hub you use, so this is a no brainer installation!