Choosing The Right Electrical Outlets For Your Home

Posted on: November 15, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Electrician

The Right Electrical Outlets In Houston

Electrical Outlets interrupter outlets prevent accidental electrocution, and code requires them in baths, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages and outdoor locations. A GFCI has a built-in circuit breaker that interrupts the flow of electricity the instant it senses a ground fault or current leak. But a GFCI won’t work unless it’s properly connected.

Receptacles in newer homes may have lost their ground connection somewhere between the receptacle and main electric outlets due to a loose wire connection.

Electrical Outlet For Your Home

Thinking of adding a new electrical outlet to your home? 

Here’s our 3-step process to make sure you install the right outlet for your home and your needs.

Step 1: Know if you need GFCI and AFCI outlets

Most electrical outlets in your home should have some sort of built-in safety device. And there are 2 types: GFCI outlets and AFCI outlets. (You can identify these outlets easily as they will have “reset” and “test” buttons on their face.)

But to know if you need one or both of them, you must first know the difference between them.

  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets protect you from electrocution . They contain a small circuit breaker that trips if it detects a short circuit. 
  • AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter) outlets help protect your home from electrical fires . Similar to GFCI outlets, AFCI outlets contain a small breaker that trips when it detects a dangerous arc. (Electrical arcs create heat that can light insulation, framing and other building materials in your home.)

GFCI outlet on the left with an AFCI outlet on the right. The two electrical outlets look similar but perform different functions.

Where do I need GFCI and AFCI outlets?
According to current electrical code you should have GFCI protection in:

  • Kitchens
  • Within 6′ of sinks or water sources
  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Unfinished basements
  • For all outdoor outlets 

You should have AFCI protection in all bedrooms.

That doesn’t mean every outlet in those locations must be an AFCI or GFCI outlet. Several electrical outlets can be connected to a single AFCI or GFCI outlet for protection

For example, in your kitchen, you likely have a single GFCI outlet (with a “test” and “reset” button) that serves as the GFCI device for all the other outlets in the kitchen (and maybe even the outside outlets). 

For AFCI protection, you can also install an AFCI circuit breaker in your electrical panel.

Step 2: Get the right outlet for your appliances and electronics

You may need or want a specialty outlet depending on the type of appliance or electronic device that will be plugged into it. Here are a few examples of types of appliances and electronics that use specialty outlets.

Large appliances
Heavy-duty electrical outlets are needed for some appliances, like:

  • Electric dryers
  • Electric ranges (ovens)

You’ll need a heavy-duty 240-volt electrical outlet for these appliances. There are both 3-prong and 4-prong varieties. Check your electric cord to make sure you get the right one.

Medium-sized appliances and power tools
Some medium-sized appliances and power tools require larger, 20-amp electrical outlets

These look like a standard, 15-amp outlet except that the neutral slot is horizontal instead of vertical. (See photo below). 
The normal, 15-amp outlet on the left and the 20-amp outlet on the right.

Of course, your circuit and wiring must be 20 amps also in order to install this larger outlet (see step 3 for more info).

Smartphones, tablets and other small electronics
You can also get electrical outlets with built-in USB outlets , which come in handy in the kitchen, bedroom, liv
ing room or anywhere else you’ll be charging your cell phone or other small electronic devices. An electrical outlet with built-in USB plugs. Read more…

The Importance Of Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets are safe for one reason only: with the aid of the ground fault circuit interrupter, otherwise known as a GFCI outlet. GFCI’s cut the electrical current when electricity leaks to ground (which in most cases means the electricity is running through you).Call us for your home service and repair needs. Call (713) 812-7070 us for your home service and repair needs.

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