Everyday actions like turning on a lamp, turning on the microwave, or switching on the TV make you rarely consider what takes place within your home for those things to function. However, your home’s systems depend on electricity, so knowing how it works is essential if you want to perform simple tasks like testing an outlet or resetting a circuit breaker. The operation of a basic power outlet and a few more types of outlets you might find in your home are explained in this article.
What Are Power Outlets?
An electrical or power outlet serves as a link between electrical appliances and the power grid. It is a piece of equipment mounted on the walls and resembles a socket. They can occasionally be found on the floor and ceiling, where they power equipment like door openers and neon signs. For diverse purposes, there are many types of electrical outlets. Using adapters, it is occasionally feasible to change between the types and modify the voltages.Both terms refer to the same device. Although you may also hear the labels plugs or plug-ins, these terms refer to male wire ends. The prongs of a male connector are housed in the female end of the outlet or receptacle. You can think of it as an opening, or a group of apertures, that take electricity from a wired source and distribute it to the linked electrical devices and components.
Types of Electrical Outlets
Several electrical or power outlets are commonly used in our homes. Some of them that we should know about are:
2 Prong Outlets
Nowadays, few devices and appliances still use 2-prong connectors. These outlets normally have 125 volts and 15 amps. Only unground circuits are utilized with them. Due to code regulations and safety concerns, 2-prong plugs are no longer used in modern dwellings. However, older homes still have these outlets.
Any place near water must have GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets. This covers any room close to water, such as the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or outdoor space. This is because if there is a leak or surge in current, the outlet trips automatically and turns off the power to the machine. The two different coloured TEST and RESET buttons in the centre of these outlets make them easy to identify.
20 Amp, 125-Volt Outlet
More power is used by some appliances than by others. 20 Amp, 125-volt outlets are useful in this situation. The little horizontal slot on the outlet’s top-left vertical slot distinguishes these outlets from conventional 3-prong outlets. Electrical code specifies these outlets, frequently used with big electrical appliances.
Tamper Resistant Outlet
Since 2008, code mandated by code mandated tamper-resistant outlets and receptacles (TRRs). Due to inbuilt shutters that prevent extraneous objects from being inserted into the socket, these outlets are among the safest. Only a 2-prong or grounded socket will allow the interior shutters to open. Using TRRs helps stop kids from messing with the outlet and getting shocked.
Due to the wide variety of gadgets that require charging regularly, USBs are in high demand. However, once all the chargers are plugged in, it can frequently feel like there aren’t enough outlets. Utilizing modern USB outlets will help you avoid this. USB outlets offer many ports so that you may charge your phones, tablets, and other electronics in place of the conventional pronged outlets.
3 Prong Outlets
These outlets are among the most prevalent in contemporary dwellings. The 3-prong outlet is 15 amp, 125 volts, much like a 2-prong outlet. However, outlets with 3 prongs are much safer than those with 2 prongs. This is because the extra grounding slot provides extra safety. Any unsecured cables can’t cause an electrical shock thanks to this grounding.
The Bottom Line
Electrical outlets come in various shapes and sizes but cannot be switched out for one another. Each one is rated for a specific range of volts and amps and has a specific function. Additionally, it would help if you never put a plug into an incorrect outlet. Finally, remember not to bend or twist the plug’s prongs to fit the receptacles.