Let’s Chat About Electric Outlets And Switches

Shedding Light On Home Power

In a previous blog, Upgrading And Replacing Electric Panels, we wrote of the power behind the door of the grey metal electrical panel box comprised of circuit breakers and thick wires. The box responsible for controlling the electrical current that flows from the outside utility pole to the service drop, the electric meter, to each room of an Austin, Texas residence or business — with the 'flip of a switch!'

The home power is heard by the vacuum's V-RRROOM, the mixer rrrrrr-ing, the hummmm of ceiling fan blades, and the sounds emanating from the radio, stereo, tv, and computer that connect the home or business to the outside world! The power of electricity speaks through the warmth emanating from the simple ambient light sources of the table and floor lamps and the efficiency of well-lit work environments.

As essential as the electrical panel is to power a home, the electrical circuit is not completed without the AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) electrical outlet, aka receptacle. The amount of electric power that flows to an Austin, Texas home electric outlet is measured in volts and amps. Volts measure the pressure of electrons within a circuit and amp the volume of electrons. Electric outlets in Austin, Texas homes are usually comprised of 120 volts of alternating current and either 15 or 20 amps of power.

Nine Types Of Electrical Outlets

Many homeowners take 'plugging in' or 'flipping a switch' for granted and do not consider how installing the correct electric outlet for appliances and room space will make their home safer and more energy efficient. ATX Electrical, a client-centered electrical contractor, provides the following list of nine types of electric outlets found in the marketplace:

15-Amp, 120-Volt Outlets:Commonly found in older homes are electric outlets without a third grounded slot. Outlets should be replaced with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets to comply with National Electric Codes (NEC), which are best for appliances needing minimum voltage and amps.

20-Amp, 125-Volt Outlets:Provides efficient functioning of larger appliances, such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, and space heaters.

20-Amp, 240-Volt:Best to run air conditioners, air compressors, and any equipment requiring high power, and will necessitate the installation of a double-pole circuit breaker added to the electric panel.

Tamper-Resistant Receptacles:Such outlets, mandatory in new construction, provides a built-in barrier within the slots receptacle slots to block entry of foreign objects, opening only for the insertion of a three-pronged grounded plug. An ideal choice in homes with young children!

GFCI Outlets:GFCI outlets should be installed in rooms where water is present due to water being a conductor of electricity and cause of ‘spikes’ of electric current. These electric outlets can cut the power surge, preventing electric shock.

AFCI Outlets:AFCI outlets (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) will deactivate the electric power to an outlet when ‘arcs’ of electric power, caused when the smooth flow of electric current is interrupted by faulty wires, are detected.

Switched Outlets:Switch outlets turn an appliance on and off without unplugging the device — no additions are needed to the electrical panel or the wiring. A flip of a switch turns on a light plugged into a switched outlet without touching the lamp.

USB Outlets:These USB ‘ports’ can be installed directly on the wall or share space on a three-pronged outlet.

Smart Outlets:Useful for those wanting Smart Homes And Automation, smart outlets can be controlled remotely with a smartphone or voice assistants. They can monitor power use and switch the lawn sprinkler or coffee maker on and off on a prescribed schedule.

Go With The Flow With Electric Switches

As a home electrical panel needs an electric outlet to complete an electric circuit, the outlet needs an electrical switch to open or close the electric flow to the outlet. Electric switches may include dimmer switches to bring softer lighting to a room and for energy savings. Electric switches, like electric outlets, come in various types and styles.

Contact the experts at ATX Electrical for a free consultation regarding home lighting installation.

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