Common Types of Electrical Outlets and Their Working Principles

28 March 2022

For buildings to function optimally, they must be equipped with a fully functional electric power system. With this system, equipment pieces, machines, and appliances are all allowed to work and function accordingly, making sure that buildings can carry out a wide array of activities.

One part of the electric power system that should work optimally is the electrical outlet. An electrical outlet is a system component that allows electrical equipment pieces to be connected to the electrical grid. Once an electrical device is plugged into the electrical outlet, the loop of wire is ultimately complete, allowing electric power to flow through so that the device can become operational.

Not all electrical outlets, however, work similarly. Here are some of the most common electrical outlets and how they work.

2-Prong Outlets

2-prong outlets have been around for a long time. They are 15-amp, 125-volt outlets that maximise two wires on an undergrounded circuit, making them somehow less safe compared to other outlets as they do not utilise a ground wire. Building owners that still use 2-prong outlets are often advised to replace them right away to ensure the safety of their properties.

3-Prong Outlets

3-prong outlets serve as the perfect replacement for 2-prong outlets. These outlets are the go-to outlets for most properties as they have a third prong for ground, making them much more compliant with existing building codes and standards. Through the grounding element of these outlets, any unstable or high electrical currents are expected to be neutralised.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI outlets are outlets often used in areas where water is being maximised. Some areas where GFCI outlets are commonly installed are the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry areas. These outlets can be easily identified thanks to their huge TEST and RESET buttons on their bottom area. Once they have detected current changes, they will promptly stop the current flow.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlets

Air Fault Circuit Interrupter or AFCI outlets, alternatively, may look similar to GFCI outlets. The main difference is that AFCI outlets regulate and minimise arcs whenever electricity leaps from one wire to another. Most of the time, these outlets are installed into the breaker. They can, however, be added through a special outlet on older properties.

Recessed Outlets

A great alternative to 3-prong outlets, recessed outlets are outlets that recessed into the box. They are not flushed with the wall plate that other outlets often manifest, giving them a stealthy vibe that makes a property appealing. What is great about maximising recessed outlets compared to other outlets is they can prevent cords and other electrical cables from bending.

Temper Resistant Outlets

Temper resistant outlets are one of the outlets that are now required by some building codes globally. These outlets utilise a special barrier to stop random foreign objects from being inserted. The special barrier will then only open if a grounded or 2-bladed plug is being inserted. Maximising these outlets can be very useful to protect children from electrocution.

To know more about these electrical outlets, you can contact us at Light-On Electrical.

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