Electrical codes have changed substantially over the years, with more power now required in each room of the house. New homes are built to these codes, but if you live in an older home where you feel lucky to have grounded outlets, to begin with, you might not have the other outlets that are technically required now. You could also have inadequate wiring that does not provide enough power even if you haven't had a problem so far. At the very least, have an electrician install these outlets in your home so that you can start to use the electrical power that you should have had all along.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
If you have an outlet by a water source, such as the kitchen or bathroom sink, you need an outlet called a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. You've no doubt seen these before, even if you didn't know their full name. These are the outlets that have the reset buttons on them. They shut off power when they detect a surge of current, which can happen when the current tries to travel through water. In other words, if you have an electrical appliance (mixer, hairdryer, curling iron, plugged-in immersion blender, etc.) that comes into contact with water, the current can increase drastically, and the GFCI should cut off the power to that outlet and appliance. These are likely the most urgent ones to install, after ensuring all the outlets in the home are grounded.
Those outlets you normally see in your house are generally 15-amp outlets, meaning that you can draw a total of 15 amps of power through both receptacles. The outlets might be connected to a 20-amp circuit, but 15 amps is all you'll be able to pull without causing a problem with the outlet. For appliances that draw a lot of power, a 20-amp outlet is a better choice. The 20-amp outlet has to be on a 20-amp circuit, of course. New homes need to have 20-amp circuits in the bathroom and kitchen, and the outlets need to be 20 amps as well (although in a bathroom, you can have two 15-amp outlets on the circuit in some cases). Have an electrician look at the outlets in these areas and install enough to meet current codes.
Outlets Connected to Switches
You may already have these in your home, but they could connect to outlets that you don't want them to connect to. Switched outlets are those where one of the receptacles is connected to a wall switch. If you have a lamp plugged in and can turn it on using a wall switch, you have a switched outlet. Look at how many you have in your home and where they are, and have the electrician change them or add more as you see fit.
To truly bring your old home up to the current electrical code, you'll likely need to do some major rewiring. The electrician can do that, too. However, for now, at least get the GFCIs installed and then work on other electrical issues as you can. Hire a local electrician if you have any questions about it.Share
17 December 2021
You might know that you need to hire an electrician, since you might be building or remodeling a home, or you might have an electrical issue. Of course, you're going to need to find the right electrician for the job. We know that finding and hiring a good electrician can be challenging, particularly if you aren't involved in the industry yourself. We're here to share what we know about hiring someone to perform electrical work in your home, commercial building, or industrial building. You can get tips for choosing an electrician, and you'll find advice for working with that electrician, too.