You may already be acquainted with smart outlets, or electrical outlets with integrated USB ports. But you might be amazed at how many normal electrical outlets you can actually purchase for your house. They’re all design to be used in different locations in the house and for different situations, and we believe as a safety-conscious person you will want to make sure that your home is equipped with the right electrical outlet for the job. Below are the different kinds of electrical outlets you can buy for your home and why you need them.
The different types of electrical outlets
GFCI means Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and its function is to quickly switch off the power at that outlet when it detects a short circuit or a ground fault.
In every house where an outlet is close to a water source, there is always a need for GFCI outlet, and this is even an IEEE requirement for safety
Normally electrical flow occurs when the current comes through the hot (live) wire and flows back through the neutral wire, but if electricity flows beyond that path, the GFCI outlet will trip thus short down power from that outlet.
And also if you happen to be using a faulty electrical or electronics appliances such as hairdryer, electric oven, cooker, blender, etc. and your feet happened to be wet, a short circuit from the faulty appliance plus your wet feet, can cause the current to flow through you, and into the ground, thus effectively electrocuting you. But if a GFCI outlet was installed at such location it will immediately kill power before the current can even remotely escape the faulty appliance.
GFCI outlets are a bit more costly than regular electrical receptacles (socket), but where can they be installed? Locations like the kitchen and bathroom and another area where moisture occurs more often. You can equally install a GFCI circuit breaker on your circuit breaker box or distribution board panel (all houses built after the year 2014 should already have this protection), which will protect that entire circuit line in your home from ground faults, but if this was not done the need for you to update your electrical wiring system to meet up modern living. Though the GFCI breaker is much more expensive than a few GFCI outlets.
Another type of protective outlet that looks almost identical to a GFCI outlet is called an AFCI outlet, though it known by many people. AFCI means Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, and it protects from any arcs that may occur in the circuit. Arcs usually happen when electricity (electrons) jumps from one wire to another, which can quickly result to a fire outbreak if any flammable substance is close to it. Most time, Wire insulation can prevent arcs from happening, but when circuit terminal are not firmly tight may cause partial contact which may gradually heat and crack insulation that exposes the wires, leaving you at risk.
Any modern house built after 1999 should already have AFCI circuit breakers installed at the circuit breaker box or distribution board panel, but if it happens that you check and they are not there, the is need to update your electrical wiring system to meet modern living, you can install the AFCI outlets at the beginning of every circuit, so that all outlets continuing in that circuit line will be protected. Of course, in your ceiling light fixtures and other electrical devices not controlled by electrical outlets won’t be protected, but that’s why it is important you install an AFCI circuit breaker.
3.45A, 20A, 15A and 13A Outlets
Aside from outlets that are self-protective, the still different types of electrical outlets that can be used in other locations in the building. Most regular outlets in your house are rated for 13amps or 15 amps (15A). This means that the circuit that the outlet is connected to can handle up to 15 amps of electricity. Every electronic device has a current (amperage) rating. Many smartphones charge at around 1 amp, and tablets and other higher phone charge around 2-2.5 amps. But Microwaves use about 5 amps to function and larger electronic and electrical appliances obviously use more.
However, thanks to 45A to 20A circuit’s outlets, with it you can use more power appliances without the breaker tripping, since they can withstand 25% more load. You’ll usually find 45 to 20A circuit’s outlet and breakers in kitchens, laundry rooms, garages or bathing room which is where most of the power-thirsty electrical appliances are installed
If you want to be able to control the power of an outlet by switching it on and off whenever you desire. When an appliance is plugged to it, you can get a switched socket outlet, which is a receptacle that includes one or two outlets, and a switch(s) that turns it on and off.
If you have something plugged into an outlet, but you don’t want it on the whole time this is the best outlet to go for which can enable You to simply flip the switch on and off
5.USB Socket Outlets
Before now we wish outlets with integrated USB ports would just come standard in houses. However, today most homes by default install this outlet in sonar locations in the house. Thankfully to the new technology.
There are all different types of USB-equipped outlets. the best option are ones that still come with two regular outlet receptacles, but with two USB ports for charging your mobile devices. Though you can also get one that replaces both receptacles with four USB ports. All these outlets can charge your devices up to 4 amps, so your mobile phone or tablets will charge at fast rate.
Of course, it might be you are better off with just a USB wall charger, that way you don’t have to do any electrical work and you’ll still have the normal switch outlet. But if you like things to be neat and streamlined, a big bulky USB charger might not appeal to you, which is where these special USB outlets come in handy for you. It can be installed any were where phone or any device that requires USB (5V) output to charge or power it.
Do you want to take things to a new age in your home, you can purchase smart outlets, which are different from the regular outlets in that you can control the outlets using your smartphone. This implies that you can switch the outlet on and off from anywhere in the world using your phone.
We’ve covered a couple of different options in the previous article, WeMo smart outlet, etc. but these are merely adapters that you plug into a normal outlet. If you don’t need this, you can purchase smart-enabled receptacles that replace any traditional outlet. Though you will need some kind of smart home hub, since the communication is through Z-Wave.
If you are reasoning about making some electrical upgrades in your house to meet modern living, even if it is just getting some adapters, it’s a nice idea to get to know what kind of outlets you have around your house and what their functions are. Plus, so go-ahead to do the inspection yourself, and if you find it difficult to identify each outlet contact us for help.
7.TRR (Tamper Resistant Receptacles)
Tamper-resistant receptacles that are very essential for every home. These special outlets is designed to prevent small children from inserting any foreign objects in them the electrical outlet. This allows parent and guidance to rest their mind knowing that there are no risks of any injuries which could be as a result of electrical shock. This outlet can be installed in a location where children mostly play and also in children rooms.