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A Guide For Different Types Of Outlets

We use several types of outlets in our homes. Outlets are designed to provide a specific wattage and they are available in broad categories. They come in different sizes, shapes, and functionalities. We use outlets for powering electrical appliances, devices, and more. Some electrical items require specific outlets to work correctly. Sometimes due to lack of knowledge, you power electronics through the outlets that are incapable of carrying the required wattage, and as a result, outlets cause a shock circuit or even fire. And remember one thing that while dealing with electricity, you should be aware of electrical precautions. Without the proper knowledge, never deal with electricity and electrical appliances as it can be dangerous for you.

After all, here you will learn about the different types of outlets and their functionalities.


15A, 120-volt outlets ( Two-pronged and three-pronged outlets)

These types of outlets are commonly used in older houses. You might have used these outlets but have not noticed the amperage. They are two-pronged and three-pronged outlets used by most people. Two-prong outlets have two slots to power electrical items but lack a ground slot, and because of that, they are considered unsafe. If you want to upgrade them, your house’s electrical system should have ground wires.

Three-prong outlets have three connection holes in which the third hole is for grounding. They are available in many varieties which you will see in this list. These outlets are electrically safe as they have a grounding slot to prevent electric shock.

Moreover, these two types of outlets are affordable and are handy to use and install. But for ultimate electrical protection, you should upgrade to the newer versions.

20A, 125-volt outlets

These outlets are a secure variant of three slot outlets. Usually, 15A outlets are sufficient to power many electrical items, but 20 amps outlets can power most of the household electronics along with powering some heavy-duty equipment. They can carry more electrical loads than ordinary outlets. They are widely used in places where heavy-duty tools are used. You can identify these outlets by a horizontal slit located at one of the prongs.

20A, 250-volt outlets

If you have large electrical items such as air conditioners, compressors, and other appliances, you should install these types of outlets. For installing these heavy-duty outlets, you should have a proper electrical circuit and a double-pole circuit breaker in the main panel. Also, installation should be done by a professional electrician.

After all, you can easily choose the right outlet to power any type of electrical items by understanding the energy requirement of electronics.

Tamper-resistant receptacles

In many places, you have to install outlets according to building codes. So tamper-resistant outlets are suitable for this as they are designed to work with building codes in newly constructed buildings. They have physical barriers that help in keeping unnecessary objects outside. The protection barrier inside the outlet opens only when someone inserts a plug to power electronics. These outlets are a safe option to install in homes. If you have kids, they can’t insert any sharp object or metal pin inside the outlet because of the shutters. In that way, you and your family will remain safe.

Ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI outlets

GFCI outlets are ideal options for those places where water is used or the places which are near water. They are the safest outlets for your bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. These outlets regularly monitor the flow of current in the circuit and cut down the power supply if they find a surge of electricity. GFCI equipped outlets cut the power supply in a fraction of a second in the event of a power surge.

For example, while using the hairdryer in the bathroom, if it accidentally drops down in the tub, which is full of water, then, in that case, GFCI outlets will immediately cut down the power.

Arc fault circuit interrupter or AFCI outlets

AFCI outlets offer similar safety as GFCIs, but they are designed to prevent electrical fires. If wires and extension cords cause spark and heat, then, in that case, an AFCI outlet immediately cuts the power supply to prevent fire. The National Electrical Code also recommends installing these outlets in bedrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. To install these outlets, you need to install a dedicated circuit breaker in the main electrical panel.

Switched outlets

If you have some appliances that you have to keep plugged in even when you are not using them, go with switched outlets. These outlets are a set of a switch and a socket. You can use the switch available in the outlet to control the connected devices without turning off the power from the main outlet.

USB outlets

As the outlet’s name will give you an idea about benefits, these outlets come with USB slots, which means you can directly insert the USB cable to the outlet without using the actual charger. They are the best solution for today’s USB era. These outlets have more than one USB slot and also a plate with two or three-slot outlets. It is the most accessible outlet to power USB type devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc.

Smart outlets

Smart outlets have features to monitor sudden power surges. They are equipped with an automatic switch off and on feature so that you can set the schedule as per your requirement. For example, to run sprinklers or coffee makers for a limited time, you can consider smart outlets. They also reduce your electricity bill by preventing power leakage, and make your home energy efficient.

Smart outlets also come with remote functionality and can be monitored remotely through phones and voice commands.  Hopefully, you have learned something new about outlets. Outlets come with two or three slots but in different variants based on power requirements. You can install specific outlets in different places in your home. If you want to use heavy-duty electronics, you can go with a 20A outlet. You can enhance your safety in wet places with GFCI outlets, and you can eliminate fire incidents with AFCI outlets. To make your home electrically safe and smart, you can contact us.

Source: A Guide For Different Types Of Outlets

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