Electrical outlets represent your end of the massive electrical grid. They are wired like a spider web from the cables coming in off the power lines, which run back to a transformer, which runs back to the power plant, and so on. Wiring and repairing electrical outlets is a common chore for homeowners and an inescapable challenge for remodelers.
In the average home there are three types of electrical outlets: standard (120-volt), GFCI, and 220-volt. In actuality, the GFCI outlet may be a 120 or 220-volt outlet. It is more about the safety feature involved that will cut off electricity under certain circumstances.
The voltage of outlets may not always be 120 or 220 exactly. You will see ranges from 110-125 and 220-250, which is common. They are often thought of interchangeably, although obvious differences exist. All, however, are essentially the same in that they will run the same appliances and must be handled with the same amount of caution.
This section of the CalFinder library will briefly explain the function and design of these main types of electrical outlets. Under every circumstance, safety is the essential focus, as electricity is a very dangerous tool. If ever in doubt, CalFinder has a long list of certified, professional electrical contractors who can safely repair and upgrade your outlets or wire your remodel or addition.
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