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Get the inside scoop on upgrading your home’s outlets image

Get the inside scoop on upgrading your home’s outlets

Sep 08, 2015

Homes that were wired many years ago, before the requirement of three-wire, grounded electrical systems, may still have two-prong outlets as their main electrical receptacles. With the increasingly higher demand of electricity required by modern-day technology, some homeowners may be wondering if—and when—they need to upgrade the outlets in their home. Keep reading to learn more and get the inside scoop on upgrading your home’s electrical outlets to three-prong or ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles.

 

Unlike older homes, today’s homes are built with three-prong or GFCI receptacles.  Three-prong receptacles are designed to provide an outlet’s electrical current with a fault path in the event the wire or connected device should short out. This added prong helps to detect possible malfunctions in the circuit and reduces your risk of electrical shock. In addition to three-prong outlets, GFCI receptacles are also common in today’s homes. Connected to a breaker that is designed to shut off power to an outlet should the electrical current exceed the breaker’s rating, GFCIs add an extra—and needed—layer of electrical protection for our home’s outlets. Much like three-prong receptacles, GFCIs also decrease your risk of a circuit overload or electrical shock.

 

When trying to determine if your home’s electrical outlets should be updated, you must consider the usage of the outlet in question. If you know an outlet will only be used for simple, two-prong devices—like a lamp—keeping your two-prong outlets or replacing them with a new two-prong outlets is the most economical solution. If you know your outlets will be used for more electrically demanding technology, upgrading to three-prong or GFCI receptacles is your best option. If an old two-prong receptacle is located in the bathroom, kitchen, garage or outside, upgrading the outlet to a GFCI receptacle is a must. GFCI outlets will protect you from shock hazards—like wet or damp floor—in these areas and will ensure the circuits do not overloaded and start an electrical fire.   

 

Remember, if you decide to replace your two-prong outlets with either three-prong or GFCI receptacles, you must ensure that the circuit in question is bonded to the ground before installation. To test your outlets for grounding, contact one of the many certified contractors and electricians from LightingtheQCA.com. Using a tool called a circuit tester, they will help you determine if your outlets are properly grounded before you begin the upgrading process. If you are considering upgrading the outlets in your home, contact a professional contractor or electrician to get the job done—do not attempt to upgrade the outlets in your home yourself. Upgrading outlets is a difficult task, and if not done correctly can result in serious electrical damage to your home—and yourself. 

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