The changes in electrical usage in homes over the last twenty years, even the last ten years, are nothing short of incredible. The average household now consumes more electricity than ever before because of the increase in charging electrical devices and powerful computers and home entertainment systems. Electrical circuitry and panels have to stay current with the rise in consumption, but the outlets have to change as well.
If your home still has two-pronged outlets or standard three-pronged outlets, we strongly recommend calling us to arrange for the installation of GFCI and AFCI outlets as replacements. What are these, and why should you make the upgrade? We’ll answer these questions for both outlet types below.
The GFCI Outlet
GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. You’ve almost certainly seen this outlet type before: you can recognize it by the two buttons between the sets of sockets, one marked “reset” and the other “test.” The point of this outlet is safety—it prevents people from suffering high voltage shocks. (No, this is not the job of the circuit breaker panel. That protects the electrical system, but doesn’t do much good at stopping shocks to people.)
A GFCI outlet measures the voltage flow from the hot side of the socket to the neutral side. If there is an imbalance between the two, it means voltage from the hot side is going into the ground—likely through a person. The outlet immediately trips an internal circuit that cuts off the voltage. The response is quick enough to prevent a harmful electric shock.
We recommend installing GFCI outlets in all bathrooms, which is the room in the house where people are most in danger of electrical shocks because of appliances coming in contact with water. Other rooms where we recommend GFCI outlets are the kitchen, laundry room, and basement. Our technicians know where to install these outlets to make sure your house is up to the local electrical code.
The AFCI Outlet
AFCI stands for arc-fault circuit interrupter. A danger in any outlet is the potential for electricity to arc between the wires and trigger an electrical fire. If you’ve ever seen scorch marks on any of your outlets, it’s likely because of arcing. An AFCI outlet contains a breaker designed to shut off power if arcing occurs, stopping a potential fire that could spread to the rest of the house. AFCI outlets are recommended for the family room, dining room, living room, bedrooms, closets, and hallways—the main living areas of a house. There are outlets that combine both AFCI and GFCI features, and these are the type we often use for upgrading a home’s outlets.
In addition to installing these new outlets, our electricians offer installation of USB outlets and many other electrical services in Skokie, IL and throughout Chicagoland. All our electricians are licensed and know the local electrical code so they can ensure all the work they do keeps homes up to code and safe.
ServiceMax has your electrical needs taken care of in Chicagoland. We’re open 24/7—All Day, Every Day!