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8 Types of Electrical Receptacles / Outlets in A House

Electrical receptacles Types in North America

8 Types of Electrical Receptacles in A House

There are many types of electrical receptacles or outlets in a house. It is good to know different types of receptacle outlets and the purpose.

The electrical outlets are divided into many types all over the world. For example, Australian continent uses different electrical outlets as compared to Europe and North America.

For the purpose of this article, we will share information about the power outlets used in North America.

A detailed read about AC power plug and sockets used all over the world can be found on this page of Wikipedia.

Regular 3 pin outlet

Most common outlet used in Canada and US. An average house will have 70-80 of regular outlets and 20-40 of other outlet types. These outlets are used all over a house for lights, regular appliances, portable lamps, fans, power extension chords etc. The rating of these outlets is 125 V 15amp.

Combination of switch and receptacle

Two most important parts of the electrical system are combined in this type of receptacle. The switch and outlet are combined together as one item. The power ratings for these are 120 V, 15 amp.

Temper resistant receptacles

These are regular receptacles as far as power and current rating is concerned. The major difference is that the pin openings/slots are provided with a temper resistant layer so that children may not accidentally put anything in the pin slots. This is a safety feature and is used fairly well. This feature is safer as compared to the external plastic caps that can be easily removed.

Outdoor weather resistant receptacles

These are specially designed receptacles to be used in the outdoor settings. These are used in various combinations and ratings. The major difference is that they are made with weather-resistant material and have cover mechanism, mostly spring loaded to cover a plug that is inserted into these receptacles. Available in 120 V, 240V, 15, 20 and 30 amp.

Specialty outlet receptacles

There are many types of special electrical receptacles that are to be used for specific appliances, tools or situations. One such receptacle is a rotating receptacle. The pin section inside it rotates so as to accommodate two large size plugs when otherwise one plug’s body is so big that it hinders the insertion of 2nd plug in the second receptacle of the same fitting. Another type we would like to add here is the really old ones with two pin slots. These are not allowed to used anymore.

High power receptacles

30 Amp or 50 Amp and 240 V receptacles are used for bigger house appliances such as cooking range, heaters, laundry dryers etc. The outlet is designed for specific plug pins and can be fitted only in one way. Pulling the plug pins out of an outlet also requires reasonable force.

GFCI and AFCI receptacles

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) are used near the areas in a house where chances of water close to the plug are unavoidable. Kitchen and washroom are two typical areas where GFCI’s are used. Arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is used to avoid any fire due to over-current issues. Both GFCI and AFCI are marked and have inbuilt test and reset mechanism.

Receptacles with USB and Smart receptacles

As the time has progressed, we have adapted to the modern technology. There are now USB and smart home receptacles available that can charge a standard USB item and work with the smart gadgets such as phones/tablets to operate on wi-fi. The electrical specifications are same but the core functionalities are added.

Do you want to ensure that your house is using all the right receptacle types with all the appliances and safety features?

Call us at 780-476-1413 and our trained, experienced and professional electricians in Edmonton will be more than happy to inspect it for you and suggest the applicable scenarios, specially for you.

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1 thought on “8 Types of Electrical Receptacles / Outlets in A House”

  1. I want to replace one of two side by side receptacles with a combination usb charging receptacle. The existing receptacle has four screws, two on each side, and a ground. What type do I need to buy, only finding receptacles with two screws!

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