Install USB Wall Outlet
I was recently at one of the the big box stores for home repairs in Tampa. In the electrical section I noticed the selection of USB wall outlets (sometimes called USB charger receptacles). With most electronic gadgets utilizing USB connections, a USB Wall Outlet will probably find its way into our homes soon enough. So I thought I would do a little research on them and the different options that are available.
One of the advantages of using the duplex outlet with USB ports is that it can replace most outlets in your home and most of them are tamper proof. Tamper proof means that they are designed to make it difficult for a child to put a metal object in one of the power slots of the outlet. You should not have these installed in an outlet that is only a 2 prong. The 2 prong outlets are generally found in older homes. These outlets do not have the ground prong in them which means there is no ground wire connected to the outlet. A wall outlet with USB port should not be used to replace GFCI outlets. These are the outlets you find near your sinks that typically have a reset button on them.
USB Wall Outlet Options
There is a large selection of USB wall outlets on the market with different choices. If you are having an existing outlet changed to a USB wall outlet I would recommend using the duplex charging outlet. Electrical code has requirements for outlet spacing for the walls in your home. Replacing an existing outlet with a duplex USB wall outlet keeps you within code. If you were to have your existing outlet replaced with a 4 or 6 port USB charging outlet those plates do not have space for an outlet so they would violate the code for outlet wall spacing. This is an important code that cuts down the use of extension cords in the home which can be a fire hazard.
Another option is to add wiring from an existing power outlet to a new box and then you can install any type of USB wall outlet.
Choosing a USB Wall Outlet
When choosing a wall outlet with USB ports you need to think about what you plan on plugging in. The outlet illustrated in the picture is a 3.1amp USB wall outlet. This will allow two iPads to be charged at one time. The lower the USB amperage means that it will charge slower or may not be compatible with certain devices. The 3.1 allows for 2 chargers to be plugged in at one time. Other choices of USB outlets have many different configurations. They also come in a few various colors like white, ivory, almond, dark brown and black.
I believe USB outlets are a great idea. They allow me to plug in 2 items for charging while allowing the outlet itself to remain open for electrical items and there is no need for the USB transformer plug.
Brandon Electric Inc