Protruding plugs are not only an eyesore, these also rob wall spaces and leave your appliances and furniture floating. Recessed outlets provide solution to these problems. These low-profile receptacles, with their inset-framed design, stay recessed into the wall. Keep reading about the recessed outlet definition and their applications to know how excellent they are in keeping your mess of plugs and cables organized and out of sight.
Recessed Outlets Definition
The electrical outlet technology these days is way ahead of the traditional receptacles you grew up with. The recessed model is one example of those advanced outlets that offer seamless integration into the interior design schemes of modern homes.
Unlike the standard units, these little receptacles don’t leave the plugs dangling outside. The faceplate they have is set deeper into the wall, preventing the connectors from extending beyond the surface.
There will be no more cords damaged from being bent and crimped. The recessed design has enough space to house them. Whether you install a flat-screen TV or a wall-mounted digital photo frame, they will supply the power and keep the cables out of sight.
The receptacles come in an array of styles and practical designs. You can choose from one, two, four, or six-gang layouts. Some others come with hi-definition connectors compatible with HDMI jacks and USB ports. They are practically available in every type for managing audio, video, power, and data cords of all manner.
The recessed outlets also cover pop-up outlets, which are more advanced model versions. You can install them on any surface such as walls, conference tables, and desks. With a retractable design, they will pop up when required and then sink back into the surface when not in use. They can bring power and data connectivity to everywhere without sacrificing aesthetics.
The Applications of Recessed Outlets in Your Home
Where do you use these receptacles? From the recessed outlets definition, you may reckon that they keep your cable mess at bay, but you have to install these space-saving electrical hardware at the right place to utilize their full benefits. Consider these places around your home for these outlets:
For Any Wall-Mounted Appliance
The recessed outlets are a lifesaver when you have to install something on the wall – be it a flat-screen TV, a digital clock, or other electronic appliances. Let’s say it’s a wall-mounted LCD TV that has to sit flush against the wall. It’s not possible with standard outlets if you want to conceal those unsightly plugs and cords behind the TV. Install a recessed unit, and you can run all the important cables seamlessly between the TV and the wall.
For a flat-mount device such as a digital photo frame, choose a model with added ports to keep the dangling cords to the minimum.
The recessed receptacles let you close the gap between the wall and the furniture pieces. You can keep the boxy sofa, hutches, dressers, and small appliances tight to the wall. Tucking the receptacles behind the furniture not only eliminates an eyesore but also helps gain counter space.
In the Bathroom
You cannot keep two things out of a bathroom – water and moisture, both of which are recipes for a disaster if mixed with electricity. The recessed outlets will maximize a small space, and keep electrical hardware out of splash zone.
In the Kitchen
Name one thing that you don’t get enough of in your kitchen? The counter space! It is always at a premium in any kitchen. Using recessed receptacles will allow pushing small tools and appliances flush against the wall and backsplash, gaining extra inches of space. All the plugs and wires will be out of sight, and your kitchen will cater to you better than before.
Advantages of Recessed Outlets
The recessed outlets definition and the discussion about their applications make it clear that they have some unique benefits compared to the standard receptacles.
Increases the Aesthetic
It is the most obvious benefit. They look better because they keep cords neatly tucked inside, and you don’t also have to deal with the protruding plugs. You can also keep them out of sight by concealing behind a furniture piece.
Suitable for Everywhere
It’s possible to install them anywhere in the house and outdoors. They provide a safe access to electricity in places like bathrooms and kitchens where electrical hardware poses the danger of electric shocks and short circuits.
Protects the Plugs
When you put furniture or appliances close to an outlet, it bends the power cord at a sharp angle, which can not only ruin the cable but also expose the internal wiring. The exposed wire could trigger fire hazards or cause electrocution. The recessed receptacles prevent sharp bends on the cords, and thereby, the accidents that can stem from it.
Frees up Space in Any Tight Spot
The inset design of the recessed outlets is excellent for placing gadgets in a tight spot. You can push small appliances like coffee makers and toasters close to the wall because the plugs of the electrical cord will not protrude past the face of the box. These are also excellent to use next to refrigerators where space is at a premium for accessing to power and cables. Install double or triple-gang insets to save up more space.
Disadvantages of Recessed Outlets
Unlike the standard receptacles, the recessed models don’t have any major drawbacks. They could be a dust trap though because of their design and the way they sit on the wall. They need regular cleaning to prevent the dirt buildup.
How to Install a Recessed Outlet
It will be a wise move if you decide to replace all the regular outlets with the recessed models. There is no need to buy any special electrical box because the recessed outlets will fit in any standard electrical box.
Things You Should Check before the Installation
You have to shut down the power supply by turning off the main circuit breaker in your home. Once the power is off, you can proceed with the installation.
For Replacing a Standard Receptacle
Follow these procedures if you want to replace a standard outlet with a recessed version:
- Remove the outlet cover by dislodging the screws with a screwdriver. Detach the internal wires carefully.
- Mark the outline of the recessed outlet box on the wall. You have to do it if the new unit is larger than the old one. Be careful that the framework is aligned with the stud.
- Make the marking more visible with a utility knife. Then, cut the hole into that size with a drywall saw. Be extremely cautious not to cut any wire.
- Pry the old electrical box off the stud by using a sharp tool such a flathead screwdriver, butter knife, or a nail file. Thread the wires into the clamp of the new box.
- Bend the end of each wire to form a U-shape hook. Attach the red or black wire to the brass screw, white wire to the silver screw, and the remaining ground wire to the green screw. Nip the hook around the screw and then tighten it. Fold the remaining wire into the hole. Insert the new box into the opening and give it a gentle push to set it properly.
- Now, secure the receptacle, place the cover plate, and tighten the screws. Restore the power and you are done!
Remember that you have to replace the wires if they are damaged. If you are not equipped with that skill, call an electrician.
For Installing a New Receptacle
The procedure will be a little different if you want to install a recessed outlet on a fresh spot.
- Select the place where you want to mount the receptacle. Locate the stud inside the wall by using a stud finder. Mark a spot between two studs.
- Every recessed model comes with a template to make drawing the layout on the wall easier and flawless. Cut an opening along the marked shape with a drywall saw.
- Pull the wires from the circuit breaker installed inside the wall. Use a wire stripper to strip at least half-inch of the insulation of each wire.
- Set the receptacle box inside the opening and attach the wires to their designated screws. Use a slotted screwdriver to make sure that you have tightened the screws to their connections.
- Fold the wires and push them gently into the hole in the wall. Push the outlet box after them and give gentle pushes so that it sets into the slot. Tighten the clamps to attach the box firmly to the wall.
- Tighten the screws of the faceplate.
You are done! Switch the main breaker on and plug an appliance into your newly installed outlet.
The Final Words
From the recessed outlets definition and the rest of the discussion, it’s difficult to ignore the merits of these advanced models. Swapping the regular receptacles with the recessed units will free up some space and make a small place more functional. Their aesthetic and neat appearance also go with the minimalist nature of modern decoration. If you have a budget problem, install them in some key areas like behind wall-mounted appliances and in the bathrooms instead of throughout the house.