“Do You Really Need those Extra Electrical Outlets?”

Having enough electrical outlets in your home is crucial for powering all of your devices and appliances. However, determining how many outlets are really necessary versus simply nice to have can be tricky. This comprehensive guide will walk you through evaluating your electrical needs room by room to help you decide if extra outlets are worth the investment for your home.

Taking Stock of Your Current Outlets

Before deciding whether to add more outlets, the first step is taking inventory of what you already have. Walk through each room and make note of:

Once you've cataloged your current outlets, you can more easily identify problem areas and outlets that need replacement or upgrading.

Evaluating Your Electrical Device Needs

Next, make a list of all corded electrical devices and appliances used in each room. This includes things like:

For rooms like kitchens, home offices, and entertainment spaces, be very thorough in your list. The more devices and appliances, the more outlets you'll need.

Also note any devices that you plug and unplug frequently, like vacuum cleaners. These are good candidates for additional outlets so you don't have to constantly swap between devices.

Evaluating Your Future Electrical Needs

Your current device usage may not reflect future electrical needs, especially if you:

Think about your lifestyle and how your electrical needs may change down the road. Adding extra outlets now can save you time and money later.

Room-by-Room Outlet Needs Analysis

Now that you've cataloged your current outlets and device needs, go through each room to identify potential problem areas lacking sufficient outlets.

Living Room Outlets

Typical electrical needs:

The living room often serves as an entertainment hub and needs outlets spaced around the room for convenient device plug-in. Make sure adequate outlets exist near:

Kitchen Outlets

With multiple appliances and devices, kitchens have high electrical demands. Key considerations:

Also pay attention to outlet placement based on workflows when prepping food or cooking. Having to constantly unplug devices can be disruptive and even dangerous.

Bedroom Outlets

Bedrooms have growing electrical needs for charging devices overnight. Evaluate:

Having to run extension cords under rugs or across doorways is inconvenient and a potential tripping hazard.

Bathroom Outlets

Bathrooms have specific outlet requirements:

Moisture and electricity don't mix, so make sure bathroom outlets are in good condition and meet GFCI requirements.

Home Office Outlets

Home offices can be power hungry, especially if occupied for extended periods. Evaluate:

Try different desk configurations when planning office layout to ensure accessible outlets for your workflow.

Laundry Room Outlets

The laundry room commonly hosts multiple appliances:

Pay attention to outlet placement in relation to water sources like sinks and washing machines. GFCI outlets or a GFCI circuit breaker are critical to prevent shocks.

Garage and Workshop Outlets

Garages and workshops need ample and well-placed outlets:

For workshops, go beyond the minimum outlets required by code. Powerful tools and machinery require lots of amperage, so spread outlets around the space.

Key Recommendations for Adding Outlets

If your room-by-room analysis reveals you need additional outlets, use these recommendations when adding or replacing them:

Proper permitting and following electrical codes are essential when adding new outlets. Consider hiring a licensed electrician if you lack experience to ensure safety and correct installation.

Alternatives to Adding Electrical Outlets

While more outlets is usually better, there are some workaround alternatives to adding outlets in problematic areas:

However, these are just temporary fixes. Adding properly installed outlets tailored to your home's needs is the best long-term solution.

Making the Call on Added Outlets

As you balance construction costs versus home resale value and convenience, properly evaluating your home's outlets can help strike the right balance.

If your room-by-room analysis reveals clear gaps in outlets relative to your electrical needs, it is likely worth investing in added outlets now to avoid outlet shortages down the road. But if you identify only minor gaps that can be addressed with power strips and other alternatives, you may be able to hold off on adding outlets to save on renovation costs.

There is no universal rule of thumb for the right number of outlets per room. Let your specific electrical needs, rather than outlet quotas, drive any additions as you strive to keep your home's power flowing freely.