The average American household uses about 10,649 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That’s a lot of power, and it comes from the outlets in your home. But have you stopped to consider the various electrical outlet vs. receptacle types in your home?
Understanding your options can help you make informed decisions when designing the electrical system of your home. Read on for a blog post that will explore the common types of outlets so you can stay safe and connected. But first, what is a receptacle and how does it differ from an outlet?
What Is an Outlet vs. Receptacle?
While outlet and receptacle are often used interchangeably, these terms refer to different parts of an electrical system. An outlet is the entire assembly including the receptacle, the cover plate, and the wiring connections. It provides a point where an electrical device can be plugged in and powered.
On the other hand, a receptacle refers specifically to the portion of the outlet that accepts the plug. It allows you to plug in appliances or devices with a standard plug.
So, all receptacles are outlets, but not all outlets are receptacles. For example, a light switch is an outlet, but not a receptacle. A wall socket is both an outlet and a receptacle.
Common Types of US Power Outlets in Goodlettsville, TN Homes
There are several types of US outlet types, each with its own purpose and design. Below are some of the most common ones you can find in Goodlettsville, TN.
1. 15A 120V Outlet
Also known as a standard or duplex receptacle, this is the most common type of outlet in Goodlettsville homes. It features two vertical slots and a round hole for the ground wire.
It can handle up to 15 amps of current and 120 volts, making it suitable for most household appliances and devices. On the downside, it’s not designed for heavy-duty equipment such as HVAC systems and electric dryers that require more power.
2. 20A 240V Outlet
This one provides more power than standard types of electrical outlets. It can handle up to 20 amps of current and 240 volts, which is twice as much as a standard outlet.
As such, it’s ideal for appliances like electric dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, and stoves. It has two horizontal slots and a round hole for the ground wire.
It’s worth noting that even with increased power, plugging in something that requires 120 volts can cause damage or a fire. Consult your local electrician to find out what outlet best meets your needs.
3. GFCI Outlet
The GFCI outlet is specifically designed to protect against electrocution. In fact, the National Electrical Code requires that it be installed in certain areas of your home. This is especially true in the bathroom, laundry room, and any other area that’s in contact with water.
It features two vertical slots, round holes for the ground wire, and two buttons labeled “test” and “reset.” It monitors the flow of electricity and shuts off the power if it detects an imbalance or a fault.
4. Tamper Resistant Receptacle
Worried about the kids playing with electrical outlets? You can take a breath with the tamper-resistant receptacle. It features spring-loaded shutters that block the slots unless both are pressed at the same time by a plug.
This offers an effective solution to protecting your children from electrocution by tampering with sockets. It’s required by code to be installed in all new or renovated homes since 2008.
5. AFCI Outlet
Also known as an arc fault circuit interrupter outlet, it’s designed to prevent fires due to arcing faults. It has two vertical slots, a round hole for the ground wire, and two buttons labeled “test” and “reset”. It monitors the flow of electricity and shuts off the power if it detects an arc, which is a spark or a flash that can ignite flammable materials.
Like a GFCI outlet, it’s required by code to be installed in specific areas of your home. These include bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, or other areas where people sleep or spend time.
6. Rotating Outlet
This type of outlet is also known as a swivel outlet, and it’s designed to accommodate plugs that are bulky or angled. It has two vertical slots and a round hole for the ground wire.
The outlet also has a rotating mechanism that allows you to adjust the position of the outlet up to 360 degrees. This way, you can plug in devices without blocking other outlets or creating cord clutter.
7. USB Outlet
In today’s digital age, having USB charge outlets can provide a lot of convenience. They’ll allow you to charge your device without using an adapter. These outlets have two vertical slots and a round hole for the ground wire.
They also feature one or two USB ports that can deliver up to 4 amps of current and 5 volts of voltage. Besides charging your phone, tablet, or other devices, these outlets are useful for energy-efficient appliances like LED lights and ceiling fans. They are also handy for supplying power to several devices simultaneously.
8. Weather Resistant Receptacle
This is a type of electrical outlet designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions, making it ideal for outdoor use. It’s constructed with materials like heavy-duty plastic or metal that can withstand the elements.
Its features include a watertight seal to prevent water from entering the outlet. It may also include a cover plate to protect the outlet from debris and insects.
This receptacle is perfect for patios, decks, and pool areas, where traditional indoor outlets would not survive. It ensures safe and reliable power delivery to outdoor devices like AC compressors even in rainy or snowy conditions.
Improve Your Home’s Electrical Efficiency with Lanham
Understanding the different outlet vs. receptacle types in Goodlettsville, TN can help you save energy, prevent hazards, and improve convenience. If you need help installing, repairing, or replacing your outlets, contact Lanham Mechanical Contractors today.
We’re your trusted experts for all your electrical needs in Goodlettsville and surrounding areas. Feel free to reach out to our team today to schedule an appointment.