Sometimes people ask us if cheap outlets and OK to use, and we tell them cheap outlets cost more over time. If you are thinking about replacing an outlet, here is some information you should know.
You can find outlets for less than a dollar and they look pretty similar to the others around them. Let’s say I want to replace three older ivory-colored outlets with white ones to make the living room look better – why not just replace each one with a cheapy and get it all done for less than two bucks? And it might even be much more attractive if you are updating a lot of outlets before you sell your house, so you could save even more money!
But you could be just passing more trouble on to the new owner, or maybe even making the house less safe for the new family. Cheap outlets may seem attractive at first, but it will probably cost you more over time to go that route.
Outlets are designed to grip the metal plugs that are pushed into the slots. If you have ever seen or felt an outlet that is loose, where the cord drops when you plug something in, you know that it doesn’t seem safe to you. Sometimes the appliance will not even stay on. When the contact strips don’t have the right tension on them, the loose connection can cause a heat buildup within the outlet and might lead to an electrical fire. Here’s an example of what can happen when you have loose connections in the outlet. Think what an electrical fire in your home could cost you!
Remember the rule – you get what you pay for! Less expensive outlets are built with less expensive materials and labor and safety components. Thinner material in the metal contacts can wear out with less use than thicker material. You are going to put in your time to make this changeover, so you probably only want to do it once. Cheap outlets cost more because you are more likely to expend the labor again to replace it sooner.
Outlets come in both 15 and 20 amp models, and they come in general (or residential) and commercial grades. The higher amperage and commercial grade outlets do cost more money, but you can expect more durability, saving you money in the long run.
Cheap outlets cost more in terms of safety for your family, length of service before replacement, and the quality of connections. Isn’t it worth a few dollars more to avoid that?
Contact us if you have questions about outlets, or any other electrical topics. We’ll be glad to help and give you solid advice based on over 35 years in the business.