Standard electrical outlets do just as the name implies; they power standard electrical devices such as lamps, stereos, and other electronics. Standard outlets are 120 volt/15 amp outlets. They will have three holes: two vertical slots and a ground hole. The two slots are "hot" and neutral. One slot is typically wider to ensure the proper insertion of polarized plugs.
It can become dangerous to have too many electrical devices plugged directly into a standard outlet. That is why power strips, or surge protectors, are often used in today's very "electrical" world of computers, televisions, multi-component stereo systems, etc.
In the last 15 years or so of new construction, the standard has changed somewhat to a 20 amp outlet that has a T-shaped neutral slot. 15 amp plugs still function in them but devices requiring 20 amps can be used. Such devices will have a T-shaped prong to ensure that they are not used in a solely 15 amp outlet.
Other electrical outlets include ground fault circuit interruptors (g.f.c.i.) and 220 volt outlets.
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