Although you may not give them much thought, your home’s electrical outlets are a critical bit of infrastructure. Without them, most of the tools of modern life would be useless. You’d be unable to charge your smartphone and other portable computing devices, your major appliances wouldn’t work, and you could never take advantage of new technologies like electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the outlets in most houses haven’t exactly kept up with the times. The good news is that you can upgrade your outlets in various ways to extend their functionality. Here are five ways you can upgrade the electrical outlets in your home.
1. USB Outlets
These days, most people own countless battery-powered devices that need frequent recharging. And the one thing they all have in common is that they use standard USB connectors to plug in for recharging. But standard outlets don’t have USB ports, so you always have to carry plug-in chargers all around your house when you need to plug in a device. You can avoid that hassle by installing electrical outlets with built-in USB ports in strategic locations in your residence. That way, you’ll always have a place to recharge your devices without the need for a plug-in charger.
2. Recessed Outlets
If your home has wall-mounted flatscreen televisions or you have children around, you may wish to consider installing recessed outlets. They feature receptacles that sit a few inches into the wall so that you can plug in a device without its cord sticking out too far. For wall-mounted TVs, this allows you to hide their power cord behind them without having to leave a large gap between the TV and the wall. Recessed outlets also make it much harder for children to pull on cords or for you to damage outlets by pushing furniture up against a plug that’s sticking out of one of them.
3. GFCI Outlets
Even though electrical outlets are safe, it’s still possible for you to get a severe shock from one of them. To guard against that, especially in any places where there’s water nearby, you might want to install GFCI outlets. GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. It’s a type of outlet that monitors the flow of current at all times, looking for even tiny disturbances in the current. Such disturbances mean that electricity is flowing somewhere that it shouldn’t, like through your hand if you’re accidentally short-circuiting the outlet. When a GFCI outlet detects this, it cuts the power almost instantaneously, so you won’t get a shock.
4. LED Outlets
If you’ve ever gotten up in the middle of the night to get a drink or go to the bathroom, you’ve probably experienced a dilemma. You can either turn on overhead lights to see where you’re going — hurting your eyes in the process — or you can stumble around in the dark and hope for the best. LED outlets offer you another option. They include small lights that can illuminate your way in the dark without you having to waste outlets by plugging in night lights. Plus, the built-in LEDs use very little electricity and last for years, so you won’t be sacrificing much by using them.
5. Tamper-Resistant Outlets
Although you can reasonably expect an adult to exercise caution when using an electrical outlet, you can’t say the same about small children. That’s why approximately 2,400 kids suffer shocks and burns each year when they insert objects into the outlets in their homes. By installing tamper-resistant outlets, you can prevent that from happening. Tamper-resistant outlets feature spring-loaded shutters that prevent anything other than a two- or three-prong plug from entering the outlet. That way, kids can’t put anything into the outlet that can result in a shock or short circuit.
Your Electrical Outlet Experts
The outlet upgrades above showcase some of the many advances in outlet design that have happened over the past few decades. If you’d like to add any of them to your home, our professionals at Dawson's Electric can help. We offer electrical outlet upgrades in and around the Raleigh, NC area as well as electrical repair, electrical panels, and lighting services. We also install EV chargers and whole-house generators. In fact, there’s no electrical service our trained, licensed, and insured team of electricians can’t handle. So, if you’d like to upgrade the electrical outlets in your Raleigh home or you have any other electrical service needs, call us at Dawson's Electric today!