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 technology.
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 other uses.
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!