Electrical receptacles, aka, “outlets,” provide the vital connection between the electrical system and your electrical devices. At AJ’s Electrical we don’t expect everyone to share our love of electrical receptacles. But they do deserve some respect– if only for safety’s sake.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that overloaded outlets cause an estimated 5,300 house fires annually. Almost 2,000 of those occur during the Christmas holidays when indoor and outdoor electrical receptacles get pushed beyond the limit– especially with the extra load of Christmas lights. Shouldn’t the overload trip the breaker blow the fuse, you ask? Yes, they should. But circuit breakers and fuses aren’t always reliable.
Search the internet for ‘house fires” in Canada and you’ll see overloaded outlets mentioned by fire and safety officials over and over as the cause of these sometimes fatal fires. This is but one reason why you should consider a professional replacement and upgrade of overloaded receptacles in your home– as well as a circuit panel or fuse box inspection.
Even when an overloaded receptacle isn’t itself dangerous, all those extension cords that crisscross the floor or hang in inconvenient places can be hazardous. Tangled power bar and extension cords are sometimes so bulky they can’t be properly hidden. Even where they don’t present an immediate danger, too many devices, cords, and too few receptacles are an unhappy combination of ugliness and inconvenience.
Overloading isn’t the only receptacle issue. Like anything else, wear out from frequent use. Plugs can begin to fit loosely into sockets, presenting a potential fire or shock hazard if they aren’t replaced. If you have any suspicions about your receptacles, give AJ’s Electrical a call.
Duplex (two-socket) wall outlets are the most common kind of receptacle. They’re used for standard conventional plugs. They function in several different ways.
Typically, the duplex outlet is installed vertically in one of the following configurations:
- Sockets sharing same breaker.
- Sockets powered by separate breakers.
- One socket, typically one that has a lamp connected to it, controlled by a wall switch.
120-Volt duplex wall outlets are pretty standard stuff and not usually the topic of dinner table conversations. Unless dinner is late because one of them wasn’t working. However, there are some funky and practical wall outlets that expand your ho-hum two-socket receptacles into some functional and appealing variations such as:
1. Rotating wall outlets. These outlets offer sockets that rotate 360 degrees so you can plug virtually anything in without blocking the other socket. Cell phone chargers are the most notorious wall outlet blockers. Rotating sockets are the ideal solution.
2. Wall outlets with one or more USB sockets. Again, since cell chargers are such space-hogs, one or two receptacles around the home with USB sockets can free up space for other 120-volt devices.
3. Pop out design. With the simple push of a button, the number of sockets doubles from 2 to 4. Get rid of that unsightly multi-socket extension cord.
4. Pop-up countertop outlets. These outlets free up counter space when not being uses and typically offer outlet 3 sockets and a pair USB ports.
One or two of the above stylish and practical solutions are likely to benefit your home or office. Or, you may you simply need more conventional two-socket outlets. AJ’s Electrical can advise you on your best and safest options.
If you need a 240-volt receptacle, GFCI receptacle or child-proof receptacles installed, we have experience and expertise with these, too. In fact, proprietors Shawn Willis and Darren Martin have 50 years of combined experience in residential and commercial installation and repair. Power up with AJ’s Electrical.