Should I Use a Three-Prong Adapter or Upgrade My Outlet?

Outlet change in South Central Texas

In many older homes, it’s not uncommon to come across two-slot outlets. These outlets can make it impossible to run many modern-day appliances that require three prongs. As a homeowner, you have two options. These are to utilize an adapter or upgrade your outlet to a three-prong outlet.

Understanding Safe Amp Draw

One of your biggest concerns should be understanding the amount of amperage that a potential device may pull from your outlet. Many older homes have a 100-amp circuit. These are typically too small to handle the amperage draws that are necessary to run today’s bigger appliances like refrigerators, dryers, and electric stoves.

Before you utilize an adapter to plug in an appliance, you should go check the circuit to see how many amps it has. Most modern appliances will need a 20-amp circuit to be run safely. If you use an adapter and do not have enough amperage on the circuit to power what you plug into it, it can lead to overheating and a fire hazard in your home. You can identify the amount of amperage a specific circuit has by looking at the number present on the circuit breaker or by calling a professional electrician to check it for you.

Grounding Your Outlet

Another necessary concern before utilizing a three-prong adapter is determining whether or not your electrical box is grounded. Each outlet should be properly grounded so that any excess energy can be safely released from your circuit. Most older two-prong outlets are grounded via their middle screw. When you purchase a new three-prong adapter, it’s important that you get one that allows you to ground it through that center screw.

Upgrading for the Long Term

While it’s safe to use a three-prong adapter when the wiring is sufficient enough to handle the amperage load and the adapter is properly grounded, this setup shouldn’t be a long-term solution. Adapters stick out of the wall and can become a hazard in themselves when you’re moving anything around in your room. Additionally, plugging and unplugging appliances from the adapter can cause it to become loose. It’s typically best to have your outlets upgraded to three-prong grounded outlets by a licensed electrician if you plan on needing three-prong plugs on a consistent basis.

Professional Electrican Services

GVEC Electrician Services provides professional electrician services for Gonzales, TX and surrounding areas. We also offer quality battery storage, electrical wiring, interior/exterior lighting, and solar services. Contact our office today to get the professional assistance that you need!