Do you have a smart phone? What about a smart watch? Tablet? Laptop computer?
Backup battery? Each of these devices needs frequent charging, which means
the charger will take up a precious electrical outlet somewhere in your
home for hours at a time, and could prevent you from having to plug in
something else that you may need. What’s worse, what happens when
you lose your charger and are left with nothing more than a typical USB
cable? You can’t plug that into the wall, so what good will it do?
Well, that’s not exactly true anymore. In recent years, because the
USB platform has become so popular for smartphone and other device charging,
electrical component companies have begun to make wall sockets with USB
plugs already built in! These combo outlets give you the best of both
worlds, allowing you to plug in your devices with a regular USB cable
while keeping your electrical sockets open for additional plugs.
How They Work
A USB combo outlet is remarkably simple, and can be retrofitted to fit
nearly any already-existing outlet. Essentially the two electrical outlets
are exactly the same, but they also have two USB outlets squished right
in between them. When the electricity is fed to the outlet, it also feeds
directly into a step-down circuit, which brings the voltage down from
110 volts to about five, which is the standard for that particular plug
Benefits of a USB Plug
As stated previously, the ability to plug your USB cable directly into
the wall and charge your devices is an exceptional benefit, but there
are others as well. For starters, depending on the type of wall socket
you get, your devices may actually charge
faster a regular plug. Some brands and models are designed to allow more amperage
to flow through the USB ports, and more amperage allows the batteries
in your devices to charge more quickly. This is particularly nice if you
have a larger device with a bigger battery, which generally would take
longer to fully charge on a standard charging outlet.
The other benefit is you don’t have to worry about a large or bulky
charger potentially blocking up the other outlet. While most manufacturers
have gotten pretty good about keeping their wall chargers small, some
larger units can take up a big chunk of space on your wall, potentially
hindering access to the other charging unit. Getting rid of these units
entirely and charging off a USB port keeps both plugs free and open for
Can I Install Them In My Home?
Think something like this would be far too expensive? Think again. The
average cost of a USB wall socket is generally anywhere between $10 and
$25 each, making them remarkably cost-effective. When you consider you
don’t usually need any more than three to four of these outlets,
you can make this switch for at most about $100.
That is, provided your home can support these new devices. A wall outlet
sits inside a small metal case that’s mounted inside your wall,
known as a junction box. Most modern junction boxes are fairly large,
and upgrading to these new outlets isn’t a big issue. But some older
homes were built with smaller junction boxes that won’t be able
to fit the increased size of a USB outlet, which is normally roughly twice
as deep as a traditional standard outlet.
You will also need to consider the amperage running through your home.
Most modern homes deliver more amperes and can charge devices quickly,
however older homes may have a lower amperage rate, and installing a USB
outlet may not improve your charging at all. In fact, in some instances,
it will actually charge
slower than a standard wall charger. If you’re unsure of how your electrical
system is configured, you should not hesitate to speak with a skilled
Marietta electrician and arrange for an inspection of your home.
Call Lightning Bug Electric today by dialing (404) 471-3847 to schedule your inspection service or
receive an estimate for your home’s electrical needs!