Electrician, J.M. Mullen Electric
Written by John Mullen

Specialty Outlets

It is the responsibility of professional electricians to be knowledgeable about a variety of subjects including ‘specialty outlets’ – better known as electrical receptacles. Many people are unaware that different appliances require varying specialty outlets. It is important for homeowners to have a basic knowledge of standard and specialty outlets. In most homes a standard duplex receptacle is most common. It is the typical two plug outlet that provides 15 amps of power.

• When appliances are installed in the home their location and outlet are important considerations. A ‘specialty’ outlet will ensure that your appliance is properly connected to the home’s electric system.

• One type of specialty outlet is the ‘2 duplex receptacle’. They may also be called ‘quad’ or ‘double duplex’ receptacles because they offer four outlets instead of the usual two. The advantage of these is they negate the need for power bars or extension cords.

• Certain appliances such as the clothes dryer or washing machine usually require the need for an enhanced outlet that provides greater voltage and are labeled as ‘240 volt receptacles’. Most homeowners realize this when they see the larger plug on these large home appliances.

• Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI outlets). There are certain areas of the home that leave the homeowner more vulnerable to electric shocks. These include the garage, bathroom, and kitchen. As a result, these outlets have been designed to shut off the flow of electricity and then require the push of a ‘reset’ button to correct it. The GFCI outlet actually monitors the amount of electricity that flows then ‘trips the circuit’ and cuts off the flow of electricity when there is a detected imbalance.

• Rotating outlets. A rotating outlet lives up to its name. It can rotate an entire 360 degrees. They may be used in place of a power strip and once plugs have been placed in the outlet it will not spin. This provides the homeowner with maximum utility possibilities.

• Floor outlets. Again, they are aptly named. Outlets are built into the floor versus a wall. This may be done when a room is oversized and access to wall outlets could be cumbersome. They prevent the need to use extension cords.

There are other types of specialty outlets and each is designed to address a safety or design issue. To learn more about specialty outlets and how they can be useful in your home, contact the professionals at J. M. Mullen Electric Services.