If you’re planning electrical upgrades in your home or even a complete remodel, you should know what your options are when you’re choosing electrical outlets. Each outlet was designed for specific uses and situations. When you put the right outlets and receptacles in the right locations, your daily life becomes both easier and safer.

As your Greenville electricians, we’re here for you at Upstate Electrical Solutions to help you make the right electrical outlet selections. Take a look at your choices for electrical outlet installation.

AFCI Outlets

If your home was built after 1999, most of your outlets and receptables are likely to be arc fault circuit interrupters, or AFCI outlets. If you’re remodeling or adding more electrical circuits, they’re required to be AFCI.

These outlets protects against any arcs of electricity that can sometimes occur, with electricity jumping directly between wires. These arcs can occur when cables deteriorate or even from something as simple as hammering a nail into a wall and inadvertently hitting an electrical wire. If this transmission of energy isn’t controlled, it can cause fires. Installing AFCI circuit breakers at the circuit breaker box or at the beginning of every electrical circuit protects the entire circuit from this danger.

AFCI technology monitors the electrical current through an electrical circuit, tripping the circuit if it detects any signs of arcing. In most homes, you’re required to have AFCI outlets in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, closets, hallways, and laundry areas. It’s expected that they will soon be required in garages as well.

GFCI Outlets

Electricity and water is a dangerous combination. That’s why ground fault circuit interrupters, known as GFCI, exist. These outlets shut down automatically whenever they detect a short circuit or a ground fault, thereby preventing electrical fires.

Because of this, GFCI outlets are required in locations where water is present. They were initially required around swimming pools. Quickly that requirement expanded to include bathrooms because of the potential danger. Imagine, for instance, that you’ve just gotten out of the shower, and your feet are still wet. You plug in your electric shaver, not realizing that it’s faulty. The shaver short circuits, sending the electricity into your body, down to your wet feet, and into the ground — with the result that you’re electrocuted. Fortunately the GFCI outlet in your bathroom prevents that from happening.

GFCI outlets, which are designed to de-energize electricity when it exceeds certain values, are more complex than AFCI and other outlets, so they tend to cost more. While you don’t need to install them throughout your home, they are required in key locations where water is anticipated, including in bathrooms, along kitchen counters, near all sinks, in crawl spaces, and in unfinished basements. In addition, all boathouses and dishwashers must use GFCI outlets, as well as in some garages, depending on how they’re designed and constructed.

20A Outlets

Most outlets handle 15 amps of electricity. But some appliances, such as washers and dryers, require more power. That’s where 20A outlets come in. They’re designed to handle 20 amps of electricity, so you can do a load of laundry, heat your lunch in the microwave, or power up that table saw in the garage without tripping a circuit breaker. If you’re remodeling or updating your electrical system, make sure to add 20A outlets in your kitchen, garage, and laundry to deliver the higher level of electricity typically required. You can recognize a 20A outlet by looking at the left side of the prongs. If it has an extra notch to the left of the prong outlet, it’s a 20A outlet.

Switched Outlets

Think how easy it is to turn on lights in your home. There’s no need to plug and unplug lamps. You just flip the switch on the wall. Switched outlets provide the same kind of convenience. When you want to control an outlet easily, choose a switched outlet, which pairs the electrical receptacle with an on-off switch. Maybe you don’t want to leave your home theater setup on and drawing power when you’re not using it, or maybe it bugs you to see all the little green “on” lights when you wander into your kitchen late at night, knowing that all those appliances are continuing to draw power and increase your electricity bill. A switched outlet is a simple answer to this issue.

USB Outlets

How many mobile devices do you have to charge every day? Between your smartphone, your tablets, your digital camera, your desktop’s keyboard and mouse, your portable scanner, and your webcam, you may be scrambling to find enough USB ports to keep everything powered up.

A USB outlet is a solution for this problem. USB outlets typically have the two standard receptacles of most electrical outlets, but they also contain a couple of USB ports. An alternate version replaces the standard receptacles with two more USB ports, letting you charge four devices at a time. These outlets charge at 4 amps, so your devices get powered up as quickly as possible. Choose them when you’re remodeling a home office or even your bedroom.

Smart Outlets

Smart outlets, when paired with a smart home automation hub, take your home’s electrical system to a new level. With these ultra modern outlets, you can control your home’s electrical system from your smartphone, no matter where you are in the world.

That means you can turn appliances on and off remotely. You can turn lights on and off to make it look like you’re at home while you’re actually away. You can control the air quality in your home when you plug humidifiers, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers into a smart outlet. You can control automatic pet feeders when you’re not home, and you can speak to your home’s virtual assistant. Parents can maintain control over how much time their kids are spending playing video games by turning consoles on and off, and you can even turn off the air conditioning or “unplug” that hair dryer when you realize you’ve left the house with them still on.

When you find yourself asking, “Where can I find reliable, professional electricians near me?” we’re ready at Upstate Electrical Solutions to provide the services you need. Whatever types of electrical outlets you need, contact us for reliable service, honest pricing, and 100% money back guarantee.