Electrical outlets provide power to most of the appliances found in modern homes, from lights to washers and dryers. While the purpose of any outlet is to power up devices, not all outlets are created equally. With the right type of outlet, you can lower the risk of electrical hazards and, in some cases, even get more efficiency out of your appliances. Read on to learn about the most common types of power outlets in the United States.

15A, 120-Volt Outlets

The 15A, 120-volt outlet is perhaps the most conventional type of outlet, available in both two-prong and three-prong versions. They both function similarly, but three-prong outlets have a grounding wire, which allows them to redirect excess electricity and prevent shocks.

20A, 125-Volt Outlets

20A, 125-volt outlets look similar to the three-pronged version of 15A outlets, but they feature a T-shaped slot in place of one of the typical vertical slots. The modified slot helps supply additional power for items like refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, or large space heaters. In fact, building codes in many localities require 20A outlets for heavy-duty kitchen appliances.

20A, 250-Volt Outlets

Major appliances like air conditioners or compressors can impact the entire home. For these items, you may need a 20A, 250-volt outlet. These outlets draw even more power than the 125-volt variations and require your electrical panel to have a double-pole circuit breaker installed by a professional.

Tamper-Resistant Receptacles

Tamper-resistant outlets use a built-in shutter mechanism to prevent the entry of dangerous foreign objects. The spring-loaded shutter acts as a barrier, only opening when you insert a two-pronged or grounded plug from an electronic device. Many jurisdictions now require tamper-resistant outlets in homes. You can also invest in outlet covers in other areas for additional protection in the home.

Switched Outlets

Switched outlets are for lights or appliances that you wish to remain plugged in regardless of whether they are currently in use. Also known as combo outlets, these receptacles combine a socket and a connected switch. By using the switch, this combo mechanism allows the user to control the electrical power of a connected device without ever needing to remove the plug.

Weather-Resistant Outlets

From porch lights to backyard deck appliances, many modern homes use electricity outdoors. Weather-resistant outlets are usually the safest choice for this need. These outlets offer protection from environmental elements like precipitation, humidity, wind, or harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays. They are usually composed of nickel plating or similar corrosion-resistant materials and often have additional features like covers or boxes.

USB Outlets

The USB port is a popular component of modern items such as smartphones, tablets, printers, external hard drives, and eBook readers. USB outlets provide compatible sockets for your wall so that you do not have to depend on adapters, converters, or charging bricks.

GFCI Outlets

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets track electrical current as it passes through a conductor. If there is a spike or leap in the current, the outlet will immediately cut off power. For example, a GFCI outlet can cut off power if someone accidentally drops a hair dryer or electronic device in a bathtub filled with water. In this way, the outlet acts as a circuit breaker that helps prevent damage from power surges. Many building codes require GFCI outlets in any areas with potential exposure to water, like kitchens, bathrooms, basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms, and even outdoors.

AFCI Outlets

Arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) outlets are receptacles designed to recognize dangers in your wiring and immediately break the flow of electricity if necessary. AFCI outlets help lower the risk by detecting unusual electrical discharge and acting as an instant circuit breaker. Most building codes recommend these outlets for all sleeping areas, bedrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Smart Outlets

Where smart thermostats give you remote control over your home’s temperature, smart outlets give you that for any appliance you can plug in. Most often used for home automation, smart outlets let you turn off any appliances you may forget about when you travel or turn them on when you get home from work. Some models even give you an overview of your electricity usage to give you better control over your energy efficiency. In addition, some smart outlets integrate with various types of virtual assistant technology such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

Contact Us Today

Beck Electric, Generators & Plumbing offers premier electrical services for homes in Canton, Waynesburg, and surrounding areas. We can assess each room in the home and professionally install the right outlet to suit your needs. Our experts can also install or inspect electrical panels and all connected lighting or switches. If you have safety concerns, we can install surge protection or backup generators as needed. Instead of taking the risk of conducting an upgrade on your own, call us to conduct the proper wiring and keep your property in great shape.

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