Edmonton Outlets & Switches

Leduc & Edmonton Area – Polar Electric

The 21st century is an incredible time to be alive. We have appliances that run themselves, and smart home systems that turn the lights on and off at specified times, brew the coffee at the perfect moment, and even allow us to answer the doorbell while we’re out running errands.

While technology has advanced, so too have our methods for supplying the electricity needed to power all our gadgets.

For example:

  • The electrical wiring in our homes has become safer.
  • Outlets in our kitchens and bathrooms have safety mechanisms to prevent electrocution.
  • We can time and dim our lights at will.
  • And our homes can be energy efficient in every aspect.

With more advanced electrical systems, it may seem daunting to understand how our home electrical operates. So today, we want to start with some of the basics. This article has everything a homeowner needs to know about electrical outlets and switches.

Polar Electric
Alberta Certified Electricians – Licensed & Insured
Edmonton Electrical Outlets & Switches
Leduc & Edmonton Area
10+ Years Experience
A+ Rating on Better Business Bureau

How Electrical Switches Work

What Is a Switch?

The function of a switch is to manage the power that is delivered throughout your home. You can engage switches in various ways. To turn the power on or off, you can flick, press, rotate, or slide a switch. One movement will disconnect the electrical current to turn the power off, while the other will connect the electrical current to turn the power on.

What Is a Circuit?

Without getting too technical, a circuit delivers electricity to the outlets and switches in your home. The electricity travels through wires hidden beneath your floors or behind your walls to the switch or outlet. If you’ve ever tripped a circuit breaker and only one portion of your home’s power went out, that was a circuit.

Types of Switches

Switches are categorized by the number of terminals they have and the purpose they serve. The cover plate of a switch is more important to aesthetics than functionality.

Single-Pole Switch – The all-purpose switch is the single pole switch with two terminals labeled on and off on the actual switch. These are only found in single locations.

Three-Way Switch – This commonly used switch is used to control a light or receptacle from two different locations. This type of switch features three terminals and does not have labels indicating on or off since it depends on which switch is in use. For example, if your bedroom lights can be turned on or off from the door, and from another switch beside the bed, you have a three-way switch operating.

Double-Pole Switch – The double-pole switch is another single location light switch with on and off labels, but it has four terminals instead of two. The main difference between a double-pole and single-pole switch is that the double-pole controls electricity to more powerful machines and appliances.

Four-Way Switch – The four-way switch is most often found in large rooms with multiple entrances or long hallways where three or more switches control the same lights. As the name suggests, there are four terminals on this switch and no labels for on and off.

Smart Switches – The switches of the present (and the future) are designed to work with modern smart machines and appliances. A smart switch allows your devices and lighting setups to be controlled by a remote, a cell phone, or a voice activation system.

Dimmable Light Switches – Dimmable lights are the ultimate mood-setter when it comes to lighting. They’re often used in spas, restaurants, and residential buildings. The light switches that enable your lighting to go from romantic dim to bright daylight are specifically wired to a circuit that allows for variable power. Dimmable light switches come in a variety of styles, including rotating dials, buttons, sliders, and remote controls.

The Basics of How Electrical Outlets Work

What Is an Electrical Outlet?

There are two main types of outlets: residential and industrial. An electrical outlet can also be called a socket, a plug, or a wall plug. The purpose of an electrical outlet is to supply power to devices. When you plug in your cord, the prongs complete the circuit in the wall, allowing electricity to flow through to the device. When you remove your cable, the circuit stops.

Global Electrical Outlets

Where you live in the world will determine what voltage is supplied to the outlets in your wall. Different regions provide different voltage levels. For example, in North America, our outlets supply 120 volts, while European outlets supply between 220-240 volts. The design of the circuit is basically the same. However, different countries use different design layouts for their outlets, so you’ll want to purchase a converter for your devices if you go traveling.

Types of Electrical Outlets

Non-Polarized Outlets – Non-polarized outlets are an older style of outlet. They allow two-prong plugs to connect in either direction. Non-polarized outlets have a greater risk of shocks.

Polarized – Polarized outlets are designed so there is only one correct way to connect a plug. Usually, the left prong hole is larger than the right one.

Grounded – A grounded outlet has three-prong holes, two vertical ones, and one round or half-moon-shaped hole at the bottom (the one that looks like a face). Grounding outlets use ground wires to provide protection against electrical shocks, especially for metal or cased-in metal devices, such as electronics.

USB Outlets – Electrical outlets with USB slots are becoming more and more common in homes, as our most used devices don’t necessarily require a two- or three-prong plug anymore. There are two main types of USB port, USB-A and USB-C. The more common style used today is the USB-A, 3.1, which features the fastest charging speeds.

GFCI Outlets – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are found in more modern homes or recently renovated homes in bathrooms, kitchens, and wet bars, or anywhere water is in use. GFCI outlets will automatically turn off the power when an electrical fault is detected, reducing the risk of electrical injuries. They often feature red and black reset buttons.

Hire Electrical Experts in Edmonton, Alberta

Are you curious about the types of switches and outlets you need in a new home or building, or when upgrading your electrical system? Polar Electric Contracting has answers! We can often find unique solutions and help you map out your system in a way that makes more sense, and saves you time and money.

If you need electrical work done in your home or business, we recommend hiring our professional electrical contractors for the best outcomes. The experienced electricians at Polar Electric Contracting are licensed and insured to handle all your electrical projects and repairs. Contact us today for a quote.

Polar Electric
Alberta Certified Electricians – Licensed & Insured
Leduc Electrical Outlets & Switches
Edmonton & Leduc Area
10+ Years Experience
A+ Rating on Better Business Bureau




Leduc, Alberta
*We service Leduc, Edmonton, & surrounding area


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