There are many different types of residential outlets. It can be tricky to decide what type is the proper one to use. This is a two-part series focused on simple residential outlet knowledge.
Today, we will focus on two types of outlets: 15 amps (15A) and 20 amps (20A). 15A outlets can use up to 15 amps of electricity, while the 20A uses 20 amps. The 20A outlet is recommended for areas where more electricity is used at once, such as a garage or laundry room. A 15A outlet has two vertical slots, while the 20A outlet has a vertical slot and a horizontal slot.
You can install 15A residential outlets where a 20A outlets werelocated. However, do not mount a 20A in place of a 15A without rewiring the circuit with the appropriate wires. Before installing a residential outlet, be aware of what it will power. A 15A outlet would be sufficient for smaller appliances/gadgets such as a smart phone, microwave and hair dryer. It is suggested to use a 20A outlet for appliances such as a washing machine.
Before changing, or adding an outlet, be conscious how many items will be plugged into the circuit. It is possible to overwork a circuit, which would cause tripping the breaker. Refer to the various manuals and be aware that you may have to run new wiring and potentially install a new breaker box, which you might really want to consider leaving to the experts–like Artisan Electric! Another thing to remember is not to install a 3-prong outlet without having a ground wire. You will be able to tell if you have a ground wire by the number of slots in the already installed residential outlets. Houses without a ground wire (typically older homes) will only have two slots, instead of three.
One of the modern luxuries that we have is living in houses with electricity. Electricity powers our lifestyles–from our garage doors to washing machines to smart phones need electricity. Yet, figuring out how to get these appliances the right amount of electricity can be tricky, especially when done with safety in mind. It is recommended that you seek the advice, and help, of an electrician when replacing, rewiring and installing outlets, circuits and breakers. Check back next week for part two.