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  • Erin Hudgins

Upgrade Your Basic Electrical Outlets

Home electrical outlets have come a long way in 100 years. Since their invention in 1904, AC sockets have become much safer and easier to operate -- evolving from basic power points to high-tech gadgets. In the last decade alone, convenience features and smart-home technology have converted these ubiquitous household items into multitasking hubs. If you're still living with the same receptacles you had 30 years ago, consider upgrading to one of these modern outlets that will make life a little easier.

LED Night Lights

These LED receptacles give you longer light and keep both plugs available for your devices. Whether you need to plug in your phone after the lights are off or you want your kids to sleep with more ease at night, these outlets are super handy and have a life expectancy of 20 years.

USB Outlets

USB Outlets are quickly becoming the standard for many homes and are convenient for bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen -- anywhere you need to charge your phone! Instead of dealing with bulky chargers and adapters, you simply plug your electronics directly into the receptacle. Even when charging multiple mobile devices, you still have access to sockets for other uses. These practical devices cost about $20 each and will double your current charging power.

Tamper-Resistant Receptacles (TRR)

These receptacles are a must-have for homes with small children, and are required in all newly-built residences by the National Electric Code. These specialized outlets feature a safety barrier that prevents children from inserting any foreign objects into them, while still allowing easy access to power cords. Look for the TR label on packaging, and you can rest assured knowing there is no potential risk of injuries due to electrical shock.

Recessed Outlets

Unlike standard outlets that leave plugs sticking way out into the room, recessed outlets are set deeper into the wall, preventing plugs from extending beyond the surface. These flush-mounted installations are perfect for entertainment systems, wall-mounted TVs and home offices. HDMI and AV cords can also be routed to these boxes -- keeping your cords organized and reducing clutter.

GFCI Outlets

GFCIs -- or Ground Fault Circuit Interruptors -- help protect you and your family from potential electrical hazards. These outlets constantly monitor the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit and will shut off power if it detects an imbalance between incoming and outgoing current. GFCIs react to problems in less than one-tenth of a second to prevent electrocution-related injuries. These outlets should be installed in areas close to water sources: above kitchen sinks, in bathrooms, on decks, and in garages. Look for the 'test' and 'reset' button on the face of the outlet to verify that it's a GFCI.

Smart Outlet

Internet-enabled electrical outlets can do a multitude of tasks depending on your specific needs. They keep unused appliances turned off reducing “standby” power consumption-- lowering your energy bills over time. You can also turn devices on and off remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection and monitor power consumption in real time. Do you have an old fridge that you suspect is draining your wallet? Just plug it into one of these adapters for a few days and see exactly how much electricity it's consuming.

If you'd like an estimate to upgrade your home's electrical outlets, please give Bell Electric a call at 540.552.5397

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