The humble electrical outlets that you have throughout your Lincoln, NE, home probably don’t get much attention. However, much of your daily life would be impossible without them. You couldn’t use small appliances. You couldn’t charge your smartphone or use your computer. And you couldn’t turn on a lamp to light rooms in your home after sunset. The thing is, though, your home’s outlets are based on relatively old technology. They date back in form and function to the early 1920s. Since then, the way we use electricity in our homes has evolved. Therefore, there are now a variety of electrical outlet upgrades you should consider to enhance the functionality of your home’s electrical system. Here are seven of the most popular and useful electrical outlet upgrades you might want to consider.
1. USB Outlets
After the standard outlets in your home debuted, manufacturers began making appliances and electrical devices with plugs to match. These days, the opposite is happening. Manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and a host of other modern devices coalesced around the USB standard as their primary charging and data interface. As a result, most people now have a handful of USB chargers floating around their homes to keep their devices powered up.
To eliminate those chargers, you might consider upgrading one or more of your home’s outlets to ones with USB ports built right in. There are a variety of options available, including outlets with two standard USB-A ports, and others with a single USB-A and a single USB-C port built in. USB outlets also come in a variety of amperages to support the power needs of every conceivable device. You could even replace one or more of your outlets with a USB-only receptacle, which can come with up to four USB charging ports.
2. Night-Light Outlets
Night-light outlets are another great electrical outlet upgrade option. They’re just like standard outlets, except that they feature an LED light strip to light your way in the dark. By installing them in strategic locations in your home, you can improve your home’s safety. Plus, you’d avert the need to rely on plug-in night-lights that take up valuable outlets. Night-light outlets even feature light sensors to automatically turn their built-in lights off when not needed. And since night-light outlets feature LEDs as their light source, they’re less power-hungry and cheaper to operate than conventional plug-in night-lights.
3. Tamper-Resistant Outlets
If you have children in your home, it’s important to prevent them from playing with your home’s electrical outlets. If they, out of curiosity, push a conductive object into an outlet, they can get a nasty shock. Plus, short-circuiting an outlet in this way can lead to a fire. Historically, most people have relied on outlet covers or outlet safety boxes to guard against such occurrences. However, they’re inconvenient because they block you from using your outlets until you uncover each outlet.
That’s what makes tamper-resistant outlets such a worthy upgrade to consider. To the untrained eye, tamper-resistant outlets look just like a standard wall outlet. The difference is entirely on the inside of the outlet. They feature spring-loaded shutters that prevent anyone from inserting anything but an electrical plug into them. In this way, they prevent children from getting hurt without inconveniencing everyone else in the home.
4. GFCI Outlets
GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, feature built-in circuitry that monitors the stability of the electrical current flowing through them. And when they sense instability, they disconnect from your home’s power supply. That’s important because it means a GFCI outlet can sense a current imbalance within milliseconds and react to protect you and the outlet itself. Since an imbalance typically means that electrical current is flowing somewhere that it shouldn’t, that’s an important feature. Plus, they feature test and reset buttons on their face, so you don’t need to trudge to your electrical panel to reset them if they trip. GFCI outlets are an excellent upgrade for any outlets in your kitchen, bathrooms or outside your home. You can even extend GFCI protection to multiple outlets by installing a GFCI outlet as the first in a series of outlets or by replacing a circuit breaker with one that includes GFCI protection.
5. AFCI Outlets
Like GFCI outlets, AFCI, or arc fault circuit interrupter, outlets work to keep your home’s electrical infrastructure safe. To do so, AFCI outlets detect the traces of electrical arcs — electrical currents jumping from a wire or outlet to metal where they don’t belong — to cut power before any damage gets done. They can prevent fires and unnecessary damage to the wiring in your home that results from overheating. You can upgrade your outlets to include AFCI protection by replacing individual outlets or by replacing circuit breakers to protect multiple outlets at once.
6. Recessed Outlets
If your home has any wall-mounted flatscreen televisions, adding recessed outlets to power them might be a great upgrade. A recessed outlet sits in an electrical box that’s set into a wall by a few inches. This makes it possible to plug in a device like a TV while still mounting your TV flush on a wall. They’re great for hiding ugly power cables associated with permanent device installations. You can also add a recessed outlet that includes a coax cable or network port to hide the rest of the cables you need to plug into your TV.
7. Smart Outlets
The final and most forward-looking electrical outlet upgrade you might consider is smart outlets. They’re WiFi-connected outlets that let you integrate your outlets with popular smart home systems. You can use them, for example, to time lamps in your home to turn on and off at certain times of day. Or, you can use them to add voice control functionality to devices in your home. Plus, there are smart outlets available in a variety of configurations, including some with controllable USB outlets, too.
Your Trustworthy Electrical Outlet Specialists
The good news about your electrical outlet options is that you don’t have to choose just one. You can mix and match outlet types to meet your home’s specific electrical needs. If that’s what you want to do, John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical can help. We offer comprehensive electrical services, including outlet installation and replacement. Plus, we also offer HVAC installation, maintenance and repair, as well as plumbing services and drain cleaning.
So, whatever service your home needs, there’s a good chance we can handle it for you. Also, we’ve served the Lincoln community for over 20 years and are Better Business Bureau-accredited with an A+ rating. We’ve also won numerous awards, including the LIBA Business Owner of the Year and the BBB Ambassador of Integrity Award. So, you’ll always know you’re dealing with the best when you work with us.
For electrical outlet upgrades and a whole lot more in Lincoln, call John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical today!