Tech has come a long way in the last decade or so, especially home electrical products. Remote controlled switches and sockets, lights that turn on when you enter the room, smart heating that can be controlled by an app.
Before they were invented, who’d have ever envisaged being able to charge their mobile, E-cig, tablet and more by plugging a USB cable, traditionally designed for computer and laptops only, into a USB wall socket, AND, have two plugs plugged in at the same time, giving you the ability to get four uses out of one double wall socket. I know, right? Whether YOU think you need it or not, your home certainly needs it.
USB electrical outlets are especially useful in a day and age where manufacturers of electrical goods want to give you as little as possible to maximise their profits. Take an E-cig for example, they don’t come with plugs, they merely leave a USB cable charger in your pack, gluing you to your laptop.If you want a plug for your USB cable you usually have to spend 5£ or more, So USB outlets do solve a real need in modern life.
Power points with integrated USB ports are pretty much a necessity these days. USB’s are wired as standard in new properties now. But, don’t worry, whether your home is new or old, you can still have USB wall sockets installed in your property. Like most electrical goods, USB sockets come in a wide variety of styles and colours, you don’t have to stick with White USB sockets but you may choose to if the rest of your socket outlets are white. You could even go all out and change them all? It really doesn’t cost all that much, especially if your home is due a rewire anyway. They do a wide variety of sockets, you can now get matching normal double and single sockets, switches to match, as well as USB sockets, all in the same colour and style.
When people have their home rewired by an electrician, typically people just opt for standard white sockets, switches and pendants, some people probably don’t even get offered a choice. It all really boils down to budget, at the end of the day. If you are refurbishing your property for sale, for example, you may wish to have a few USB’s installed, maybe one in each room of the property, you don’t particularly NEED to change every socket to USB, unless you wish to be fancy, but at least one per room is a good rule of thumb. It will make your property more appealing to the younger generation for sure.
If you are having your home rewired now, it’s perfect timing with so much choice on the market today. For the sake of a few hundred pounds on top of your quote for products that are a little higher spec, such as USB sockets, and easier on the eye, you improve the overall look and feel of your property.
Is it easy to have USB plug sockets fitted? If you are about to have a rewire, it’s no extra effort for your electrician to fit you some wall sockets with USB ports, it’s the same cable running from your consumer unit to your socket location, no matter what type of socket is being installed.
If you have existing sockets in place, and aren’t having a rewire, it can be a tad more difficult. The existing socket installed may have its inner terminals in different locations (the holes where you insert the cables to tighten) to the new USB, and this can sometimes be an issue if the twin and earth cable sticking out of the metal box in the wall is a little on the short side. If you find the cable cores don’t reach the USB terminals you’ll need to extend the cables with connector blocks.
The second issue you may run into is the back box in the wall (the metal box or maybe plastic if its a stud partition wall) might not be deep enough, and sometimes the positions in which the existing cables enter the back box can make it tough to install a new USB. In that case, you’d need to remove the old box, chisel out some brick and fit a deeper one. Depending on the circumstances, you may wish to raise the socket above the existing one, chop a new one in and fill the old one, this can also give you extra length on the cable if it is entering from above, but bear in mind you’ll need to touch up your decoration after. Generally USB sockets come with spacers, which you can place between the socket and the wall, but this will mean your socket doesn’t sit as flush with the wall as other sockets, so it all depends how extensive you want your electrical face lift to be.
Unless you are competent with electrical works, you should seek help from a professional electrician to install your new USB outlets professionally. It’s always better safe than sorry, with electricity in particular.
USB socket Tip: The AMP detailed on the socket you are buying is shared between the two USB outlets on the front plate of the socket. Due to the varying demand of devices, charge times, power they can consume, it is best to go for a minimum AMP of 3.1. This will ensure speedy charge performance even when you have two devices being charged from the same socket. Buying a lesser than 3.1 amp will mean when you are charging more than one device on the same socket, the time it takes to reach a full battery will seem a lot longer.