Looking around the house, you may notice that not every electrical convenience outlet is the same. This is because when the house was being built and designed, each outlet had a specific use in a specific room or area. So, what are the different types of electrical convenience outlets, and what are they used for?
We will be looking over the ten main electrical convenience outlets that you can buy or that may already have in your home. Each one has a different purpose and reasoning behind why it is where it is.
In this article, learn about the ten different types of electrical convenience outlets and their uses.
#1: 15A – 120V Electrical Outlet
When going through a list of different items, starting with the most common item is important. This is why the first outlet we are looking at is the 15A 120V outlet, which can easily be bought on Amazon. This outlet comes in two variations, one with two prongs and another with three.
The three-prong outlet was designed to add an extra prong to protect the user and the household from unwanted shocks. However, these outlets are some of the oldest outlets that you can find. This means that many new types of outlets are likely to be safer for a household to use.
The 15A 120V outlet is most commonly used to power and charge small items such as:
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#2: 20A – 120V Electrical Outlet
It is vital to remember that electrical devices require different kinds of power when attempting to power them. If an appliance or device gets too much or insufficient electricity, it can be dangerous for the device’s health and the household.
The 20A 120V outlet, sold on Amazon, is slightly more powerful. It provides more electricity to the device or appliance connected to the outlet, giving sufficient power to devices that require more power. Unlike the previously mentioned outlet, the 20A 120V outlet has the same two vertical strips, but a horizontal strip sticks out of one of the vertical strips.
This type of outlet is often found in rooms such as a kitchen or a laundry room. The 20A 120V outlet is intended to power bigger appliances such as:
- microwave ovens
- washing machines
#3: 30A – 250V Electrical Outlet
With a similar look to the 20A – 120V outlet, it is extremely easy to confuse it with the 30A 250V outlet, sold on Amazon. However, this outlet requires much more work and precision within the circuit, allowing it to produce more power than the previous outlet.
The 30A 250V outlet is much more powerful than the previous two. It is used to power large appliances and devices such as:
- air conditioners
- large ovens
- air compressors
NOTE: It is recommended that these outlets are installed by a certified electrician to do it for you since building the circuit requires a lot of expertise to work correctly.
#4: GFCI Electrical Outlet
As mentioned above, each outlet has been made with a specific purpose for use. For example, the ground fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI), sold on Amazon, was built with one main aim: to prevent unwanted power trips or electrical shocks in places such as a bathroom or even outdoors.
Inside a GFCI outlet is a sensor designed to constantly track the current level and immediately trip the power once the sensor notices an unwanted upward spike in the current level. For example, if an outlet came into contact with water or condensation.
A GFCI outlet can come in many current output levels, such as the three outlets mentioned above. The specialty of this outlet is to prevent electrical hazards around water and other condensation.
#5: AFCI Electrical Outlet
The arc fault circuit interrupter outlet (AFCI) is very similar to the GFCI outlet. Not only because of the similarity in the name but also because it prevents dangerous situations. The dangerous situation, in this case, is overheating when arcing occurs.
NOTE: Arcing is when the current jumps from one connection to another, which can create an extraordinary amount of heat in the wires.
The AFCI outlet is designed to recognize an increase in temperature along the wires and interrupt the circuit as soon as that happens. If a wire gets too hot, it can cause sparks of fire, which can be very dangerous.
This type of electrical outlet is most commonly used in bedrooms and kitchen areas, as you are not always aware of what is happening within a circuit in your house.
#6: Tamper-Resistant Electrical Outlet
The name of this outlet effectively explains what it is used for. Unfortunately, sometimes, accidents happen, and unsafe items are inserted into an electrical outlet. The example that happens most commonly is children sticking metal objects into the holes in an outlet and shocking themselves, which can be very easily fatal.
A tamper-resistant outlet, (Amazon link), will have walls inside the ports of the outlet, which can only be bypassed if either two or three prongs are inserted into the outlet simultaneously. So, unless a child sticks two or three different electricity-conducting objects into an outlet, the tamper-resistant outlet is very good at preventing unwanted electrical shocks.
Like the GFCI and AFCI outlets, the tamper-resistant outlets can come in all levels of the required current outputs. As safety regulations in buildings and houses have become stricter over the years, most buildings require:
- tamper-resistant outlets
- GFCI outlets
- AFCI outlets
#7: Switched Electrical Outlet
As with the other outlets, a switched outlet, sold on Amazon, provides a simple yet specific function for anyone who wishes to use it. Over the years, all types of technology have advanced to make certain tasks:
- more efficient
FACT: The switched outlet was created for efficiency and to save electricity.
As it says in the name, a switched outlet has a switch on the outlet that allows an appliance or device to stay plugged into the outlet without having the outlet constantly consume any power. All that has to be done is to turn the switch off.
#8: USB and Smart Electrical Outlets
The USB and smart outlets can both be easily bought on Amazon. They have separate functions but are a testament to the efficiency of modern technology. These outlets are solely due to growth in other technologies, such as wireless connections and faster-charging methods.
A USB outlet is often paired with an outlet such as a 15V 120A outlet. It has a USB port directly on the outlet, instead of using an external USB extension. This outlet saves space and time.
A smart outlet is a remotely controllable outlet. Since things such as TVs and air conditioners are now controllable via a remote without actually touching the device, why not do the same with an outlet?
#9: Weather Resistant Electrical Outlet
This outlet is very similar to the GFCI and AFCI outlets. It may even be paired together with a GFCI or AFCI controller inside the circuit that powers the outlet. However, the main difference between a weather-resistant and a GFCI outlet is that the protective component of the weather-resistant outlet is on the outside rather than the inside.
Weather-resistant outlets are often made of materials that prevent corrosion and rust, as well as a protective cover that needs to be taken off when the outlet is to be used. This prevents damage and accidents caused by ice, snow, rain, and dirt.
#10: Rotating Electrical Outlet
The rotating outlet on Amazon, is one of the lesser-used outlets. Still, it is handy for people using machines and appliances with large plugs. Often when a plug is too big, it prevents from plugging something else into the socket next to it.
A rotating outlet allows each socket to rotate so it can fit all the plugs needed into an outlet if they interfere with one another. For example, if the sockets are in a straight line.
As technology has exponentially improved over the years, things like electrical convenience outputs have improved too. The different outputs allow us to have many options for what we want in our households or buildings, each serving a different and specific purpose.
Some outlets prevent unwanted safety issues, such as tamper resistance and AFCI outlets. In contrast, some outlets prevent damage from rain and weather, such as weather-resistant and GFCI outlets. Each outlet is designed to serve a specific role, so there is an outlet for anyone with a specific need.
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