How many electrical outlets do you have in your home? You may use different types of outlets in a given day, but every time you do, you don’t think about the difference as you plug in your phone charger, TV, dishwasher, and other appliances. Some plugs can function without any challenges in different types of wall outlets.

However, it is essential to understand how to choose the proper electrical outlet for your home, as different electrical outlets are designed specifically for some appliances. You could experience significant challenges such as shock or unbelievable energy usage when there is a mismatched fit between the outlet and the appliances.

We provide a guide to the information you need to know when choosing the right type of electrical outlet for your California home and how to choose the right one based on your needs.

1. Safety Features

Safety is undoubtedly the most crucial factor you need to consider when choosing the proper electrical outlet for your home. The primary role of electrical outlets is to help power electronics, lights, and appliances by providing electricity to these devices, appliances, and light fixtures. The outlet is a receptacle where we all plug in our devices to get electric power.

Did you know that some safety hazards are unique to the type of electrical outlet you choose? Accidents such as electrical fires and accidental electrocution are specific to your outlet in different parts of your home.

Electrical codes guide the safety features that should be fitted to the different outlets. Parents of toddlers and infants also need to consider upgrading their electrical outlets to protect the children from electrical hazards by childproofing their electrical outlets.

You could consider optimizing your home’s electrical safety with the choice of electrical outlets you make. We explain three types of electrical outlets you can choose from based on your needs, the nature of your appliances, and their safety features. These outlets have various safety features to protect you, your family, and your property from electrical emergencies.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlets

These outlets come with a built-in safety device to protect you from electrocution. As such, you will find these outlets in areas of your home with water sources, such as the kitchen and bathroom, and in areas such as garages, basements, and all outdoor outlets. If your bathroom and kitchen electrical outlets are GFCI, consult a licensed electrician to upgrade your outlets to prevent electrical hazards.

AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlets

The AFCI electrical outlets have safety features to protect your home from fires. You can imagine how devastating electrical fires can be to homeowners and the neighborhood due to the risk of extensive fires and the local ecosystem. When these outlets detect a threat of electrical fire in your home, they shut down automatically.

AFCI outlets interrupt electrical arcing, which is responsible for many electrical fires. When there is an overheating of an electrical device causing damage to a wire, the outlet shuts off power automatically, preventing damage from occurring. If your bedroom does not have an AFCI outlet, we recommend upgrading it to an AFCI outlet to fireproof your home.

Childproof Electrical Outlets

You cannot leave their safety to chance if you have little children. Your toddlers will tamper with everything they shouldn’t, oblivious to the dangers. This tamper-proof outlet is designed to provide safety to your children and your home by preventing children from poking small objects, toys, and even their fingers into the outlet. Exposing the children to unprotected outlets quickly exposes them to electrocution, which can be deadly.

These outlets come with a protective shield over the receptacle. This shield shutters when a plug is inserted and opens into the outlet. The outlet does not entice the children to poke like the other exposed types, hence eliminating the element of harm to your children. If you have small children, consider upgrading your outlets to tamper-proof ones and keeping your little ones out of harm’s way.

2. The Types of Appliances and Electronics

The types of appliances and electronics that you use in your home also dictate the type of electrical outlet you need to install. Some appliances require specialty outlets to operate seamlessly and ensure energy efficiency.

Some appliances requiring specialty outlets include electric ranges (ovens) and electric dryers. To operate these appliances, we recommend getting a heavy-duty 240-volt electrical outlet. These outlets come in two varieties: 3-prong and 4-prong. Contact your electrician when purchasing and ensure you get a suitable variety based on the appliances you need to plug into them.

For medium-sized appliances, you will require 20-amp outlets. The outlet is more prominent and looks almost like the 15-amp outlet, only that it has a horizontal neutral slot. To install this outlet, ensure the wiring in your home and circuit is 20 amps.

You can get in-built USB outlets for your small devices, such as tablets, smartphones, and other electronics. These outlets are essential, especially in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and other places around your home where you can unwind or work while charging your phone.

3. Compatibility With Existing Circuits or Wiring in Your Home

Before you decide to replace or upgrade an electrical circuit, ensure that the new outlet is compatible with your home’s circuit and wiring needs.

If you are installing a new outlet dedicated to large appliances, you may need to run new wiring for the outlet. The need for a dedicated outlet is because your new circuit already has applications, outlets, and many lights, which would result in overheating of the wires in your wall. The break will wear down due to constant tripping. Ensure you install a new breaker with the new outlet in your panel.

Ensure you consider the amperage in your circuit, as the amperage in your new outlet could be impractical. For instance, as mentioned, you should avoid overloading a 15-amp circuit with a new 20-amp electrical outlet.

Consider whether your home has a ground wire. This problem is not prevalent in many modern homes, but you may find homes without a ground wire. If your home has one, choose a 2-prong outlet instead of a 3-prong one. For this problem, we advise changing the wiring in your home to avoid more significant challenges with the old wiring.

Need Professional Help Upgrading Your Electrical Outlets in California?

Upgrading your electrical outlet based on your home’s electrical needs helps you save energy and ensure your household’s safety from electrical hazards such as electrical fires and damage to your appliances.

Our experts and reliable team of electricians at Home Team Electric will recommend and advise you to install an electrical outlet suited to your needs. We prioritize your safety and ensure that the installation is up to code. We are available 24/7 for all your electrical needs.

Reach us for bad breakers, ceiling fans, electrical code compliance, indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, smoke detectors, and surge smokers in Coachella Valley, Morongo Basic, and surrounding areas.

Contact Home Team Electric today for more information.

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