Is there an issue with an electrical outlet inside your Katy, TX, home? Do you need to add extra electrical outlets inside or outside? Mister Sparky is here to help with all of your electrical outlet needs!

Electrical Outlet Repairs

For many homeowners, electrical outlets are heavily used but often neglected when it comes time to replace or repair them. Loose outlets, smoke or burn marks, dimming lights, loose connections, and unusual noises are just a few of the signs it may be time for electrical outlet repair. It is important not to let these issues go unattended as there are plenty of electrical outlet mishaps that occur each year. Mister Sparky’s licensed electricians can help with electrical repair and spot any potential issues that could arise.

Electrical Outlet Installation

Along with outlet repair, it is essential that your new electrical outlet installation is done correctly and meets your family’s needs. There are many different electrical outlets, including 120-volt, 240-volt, ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI), and many specialty outlets. See a comprehensive breakdown in this article on electrical outlets. It is important to note that two-pronged outlets are not up to code and can be a safety hazard. These outlets should be updated to include the third grounding hole.

Mister Sparky provides, installs, and repairs electrical outlets in accordance with safety standards to guarantee the reliability of your electrical systems. As further measures to keep you safe, our team of technicians installs GFCIs in specified areas of your home, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas with outlets that may come in contact with water. Depend on Mister Sparky for trusted, reliable GFCI wiring and electrical outlet services.

Schedule your electrical outlet installation today!

Diagram of electrical outlet types.

GFCI Versus AFCI Outlets

GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. Electricity follows the most accessible path toward the ground when it comes out of an outlet, usually the ground. A ground fault can occur when there is faulty or loose wiring plugged into an outlet or water is near the electrical device or outlet.

To protect you from these electrical hazards, a GFCI monitors electrical currents, turning off an electrical circuit when detecting an imbalance such as a current flowing from an unintended path. For example, if a hairdryer is dropped into a sink full of water, the electricity will fault to a new ground through the water. The GFCI outlet will notice this and stop the power flowing to the device. There is a reset button on the outlet to restore electricity to the outlet and a test button to ensure the outlet is active.

Tamper-resistant GFCI is also available to keep children safe. These receptacles have spring-loaded shutters that close off the contact openings or slots of the receptacles. When inserting a plug, the springs compress, and the shutters open, allowing the prongs to make contact and create an electrical circuit.

The following spaces require GFCI outlets:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry and utility rooms
  • Garages
  • Crawl spaces and unfinished basements
  • Wet bars
  • The exterior of your home/business
  • Spa and pool areas

AFCI stands for arc-fault circuit interrupters, and they protect from electrical dangers via heat arcing, which differs from the GFCI. Arcing can create high-intensity heat, which can ignite surrounding materials such as wood framing or insulation over time. AFCI outlets work to help prevent these electrical fires. You can use the test button on AFCI outlets as well. Pressing the “Test” button on an AFCI outlet will cause the outlet to trip immediately. You should hear a clicking sound, indicating that the outlet has tripped and is without power.

AFCI protection can protect you from a variety of unsafe situations, including rodents chewing on a wire, driving a nail through a wire, or a device overheating. If your AFCI outlet seems to have tripped, test the outlet with any device and see if there is any power. If the outlet has a “Reset” button, press it to switch the outlet back on. If there is no button on the outlet, the AFCI reset may be present on the circuit breaker.

The 2020 edition of the NEC® requires AFCI protection in all 120-volt, single-phase, 15-amp, and 20-amp branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in:

  • Kitchens
  • Family rooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Living rooms
  • Parlor
  • Libraries
  • Dens
  • Bedrooms
  • Sunrooms
  • Recreation rooms
  • Closets
  • Hallways
  • Laundry areas, or similar rooms

Other Outlets

  • Two-Pronged Outlet 

    These are typically older outlets that provide an ungrounded connection. You can identify them by their two prongs and no third prong or “grounding pin.” Without a third prong for a connected ground wire, unstable electricity doesn’t have a path to travel safely away from you and your electrical system.

  • EV Outlet (Most Commonly a Tesla Outlet)

    Are you driving an electric vehicle (EV)? It is imperative to have a top-notch electric car charger at your home. The recommended home charging installation option for Tesla vehicles is a 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet. This outlet is also commonly used for electric stoves and recreational vehicles.

    At Mister Sparky, we continue to receive more requests to install EV charging stations. Whether your breaker box is inside your garage right next to your charger location, or if a circuit needs to be run, we can take care of it all!

  • USB Outlet 

    Mobile devices need charging all the time, so rather than plugging a universal serial bus (USB) adapter into an outlet, USB outlets combine the best of both worlds. The best choice is one with two regular outlets, plus a couple of USB ports built in for charging any mobile device.

  • Smart Outlet 

    A smartphone can control these electrical outlets. Anything plugged in, such as a lamp, can be turned on or off from anywhere using a smartphone. They require a smart home hub to allow communication between the outlet and the phone.

  • Dryer Outlet 

    In most cases, 3-slot dryer outlets have the ground and neutral wires grouped, which creates the potential for shock. It contains two "hot" wires and a third wire containing both the ground and neutral wire. The NEC now requires a 4-prong dryer outlet in all new home constructions; we wire these 4-prong dryer outlets as a 120-/240-volt circuit. The 120-volt service is for the dryer’s timers, sensors, and other electronics, while the 240-volt service supplies power to the heating elements.

Electrical Outlet Wiring Methods

  • Quick Wiring (Backstabbing)

    Backwiring. Backstabbing is the most common method for installing outlets on a new home build. It’s fast and easy. This method may be used by a handyman or electrician when replacing an outlet as well. Although it’s an acceptable installation method, we do not recommend this back-wire or push-in type of connection point on an electrical receptacle. The method has a higher chance of failing in the future, and with more effort and care, a more robust connection can last far longer.

  • Side Wiring

    sidewiring. Side wiring is a technique using the screws on the sides of an outlet. The wires are attached using the side terminal screws. The side wiring method makes a stronger connection point than quick or backstabbing wiring, and it takes a bit more time to complete. However, it’s still not the most reliable method.

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  • Pigtail Wiring

    pigtail wiring. The safest option to wire an outlet is pigtail wiring. This technique provides power from the circuit to the individual outlet, while also creating a path for the circuit to pass the outlet (in case the outlet is not working). This creates a better experience for the homeowner, who won’t have a string of outlets go out like Christmas lights when there’s a single issue. It also makes it easier to troubleshoot which outlet has a problem.

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  • Aluminum Wiring Outlets

    aluminum wiring. Homebuilders could use aluminum wiring in homes built between 1965 and 1970 as there was a shortage of copper at the time. Aluminum wiring is hazardous and is unfortunately hard to detect signs of trouble. Aluminum wired connections have reports of failure and overheating without any prior indications or problems. If you notice any signs of an issue, please have a qualified electrician determine the cause. To ensure your home is safe, have a qualified electrician retrofit all aluminum wiring with copper connections.

 

NEW Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Requirements

  • GFCI protection is now required in all 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles supplied by a single-phase branch circuits rated 150-volts or less to ground in 11 locations* of a dwelling. Dryer and range receptacles, common 250-volt receptacles in homes, require GFCI protection* Locations listed in NEC section 210.8(A)(1) through (A)(11).
  • New GFCI requirements include protection in non-dwelling locations and marinas.

Let Us Address All Your Electrical Outlet Needs

Our Mister Sparky highly trained, licensed electricians are professional electricians who fix potential hazards before they cause serious damage. We assist in installing new outlets and repairing damaged outlets all throughout the Katy, TX, area. Contact us any time you require professional electrician services. Call 281-907-8418 or request service online.

Need Electrical Outlet Service?

Contact the experts at Mister Sparky.

Call us at 281-907-8418!