An electrical outlet is such a small thing, it is easy to overlook when trying to find ways to improve your home. However, you might be surprised to find out what manufacturers have been up to in recent years. Your boring old electrical outlets can do far more than they used to, and this can simplify your life in ways you might not expect.
Add USB Ports To Make Charging Easier
Interchangeable batteries are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, devices are coming with internal batteries that are smaller and more efficient. Instead of constantly changing out batteries, you are now saddled with the task of finding somewhere to plug in your USB charger. USB chargers are large and cumbersome, and you can only fit so many into one outlet. Once you start getting a phone, a tablet, and a Bluetooth headset, you will run out of outlets very quickly.
One easy way to solve this problem is to invest in new outlets that come with USB ports built in. These outlets can be installed by the average DIY enthusiast, but if you want to do a large number at once, it is probably worth hiring an electrician to ensure they get installed properly on the first try. This gives you the same number of standard outlets but adds two or more USB ports that are set up to handle USB charging without an adapter.
Alternative Configurations Allow You Easier Access (Or Let You Hide The Plugs)
USB ports aren't the only way to increase the functionality of a basic power outlet. After all, not every device plugs into USB. Larger electronics still use a standard plug and often require plenty of space between them. In addition, large electronics should always be behind a surge protector, so that you aren't risking damage every time a thunderstorm rolls through. Stand alone power strips can fill this function, but they only contribute to the cable management issue.
You could sit down with a roll of cable ties and try to contain the mess, or you could hide as much of the mess as possible within the wall. There are a couple of things you can do here. A whole home surge protector is an option, but an expensive one. A simpler choice is to install one within the outlet itself. A couple of these positioned near critical electronics is all you really need to get by. While you are there, you should consider models with plugs that are either spaced far enough apart to handle large plugs, or rotate so that you can position each one so that it is not blocking other outlets.
Bluetooth Or WiFi Access Gives You A Remote Control For Your Home
No matter how well you plan, you never seem to put light switches in the right place. You don't want to cover your walls in light switches, but there is always one more spot it would be nice to have one. If you ever rearrange your furniture, this problem will only get worse. While you shouldn't give up your light switches completely, you can add one that comes with you, instead of having to go to it. This means no more bumping into furniture in the dark in order to get to the light switch. Electrical outlets can contain a Bluetooth or Wifi connector that can connect to your smartphone. From there you can control anything plugged into that outlet from your phone.
These upgrades are small and easy, but can make a big difference in how you enjoy your home. By putting these upgraded outlets in strategic locations, you can gain greater control over your home while minimizing the cable jungle that dominates modern life.