The home renovation cost vs value calculators that you find online do not show the value that’s added when you update outlets and switches. There’s very little information on how much return you’ll receive on that investment. There are multiple reasons for that, one being that not a lot of people track it. Another big reason is that this is one of those projects you can do in small sections with smaller monetary and time investments. Either way, it’s hard to determine if the work you’re putting into your home by upgrading your electrical devises is really worth the investment.
So, let’s talk about some of the reasons you might want to upgrade these devices so you can determine if you feel it’s worth your time and money because this is one of those upgrades you can do yourself.
Do you still have the two-prong outlets in your home?
If you try to sell your home, the inspection report will probably come back telling you to update them to three-prong outlets. That third prong is your ground, which keeps your home safe. If anything goes wrong at that outlet, the ground system is designed to take the excess power and put it somewhere else – literally in the ground.
In most cases, you don’t have to rewire the entire home in order to make this upgrade as that ground wire is usually there. But if you remove the outlet to replace it and discover there’s only a black (hot) and a white (neutral), now you need to fish in a ground wire which isn’t as easy as it sounds. At that point, it’s probably a good idea to call the professionals.
Oddly enough, giving your home a fresh coat of paint gives home owners the greatest return on their home improvement investment. It’s an easy-enough DIY project that’s not super expensive monetarily, though it can be a time-sucker if you’re just not… great at it. *stares at the thin spots in my amazing orange wall*
When new potential home owners are looking at a home, they’re looking to see if it’s been maintained. Paint says it has. It says that the previous owners cared enough to invest at least a little into the upkeep of their home.
Updated switches and outlets do the same thing. Changing out device plates that have become dingy-looking is an easy upgrade. Changing out the regular duplex outlets to the rectangular Decora style outlets are even better.
Devices age. It’s a simple thing. Every time we lose power, there’s a surge of electricity that runs through the home. Each time the refrigerator turns on, there’s another surge. You’ve got a steady stream of power surges running through your home and fatiguing your house. Sometimes, it’s big enough to kill lamps and appliances.
So, imagine what it’s doing to your outlets and switches.
If you see smoke marks on an outlet, change it out. When you do, take a look at the wire. If the wire looks fine, a simple swap is fine. If you look inside and you’re still questioning it, call the professionals. If a switch is hot, a simple swap should be fine, but switches can be a bit trickier than an outlet. If the switch is a dimmer or controlling a fan, you should expect a little warmth, but if it’s hot, it’s a safety concern and should be addressed immediately.
Upgrading To A Larger Need
With today’s power requirements, we need more outlets in a room. We can add a ton of power strips and extension cords, but that can be a safety hazard as well.
Sometimes a room needs more power. That’s something to call the professionals for. There are a lot of things to consider when adding a new outlet(s) to a room.
The easier thing to do is to add a USB outlet where an existing duplex outlet had been. They’re an easy swap and give you more access to the power needs you have without adding a potential safety hazard to your home.