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Switches, Outlets, and Fixtures
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Switches, outlets and fixtures are the portals through which you receive all the electricity flowing through your house. Switches allow you to open and close electrical circuits and outlets provide the plugs to power electrical appliances. Electrical fixtures provide the variety of lighting schemes through out your house.

Generally, switches and outlets are installed after your walls are completed. There are several different types of switches and outlets available. The ones you select will have to function properly with your circuit's wiring scheme. Outlets are pretty standard, but GFCIs are required in some rooms. You must also consider box size.

Switches can be divided into single pole and three way switches. Common single pole switches include light switches. Three-way switches can control one light from two different places. For example, a light switch on the top and bottom of a staircase.

GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, also GFI) are designed to prevent electrical shock and allow you to monitor the electrical currents. You can identify a GFCI outlets by two little buttons located on the front. Conventional outlets do not have these buttons. They contain two plugs and are referred to as duplex outlets.

Electrical fixtures don't have to be the conventional light fixture in the center of the room. There are many new ways to enhance your lighting scheme with a variety of lighting fixtures. Maybe installing a ceiling fan over a light fixture, mounting track lighting, or introducing retro-fitting recessed lights.

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