Why does my apartment have two kinds of power outlets?
October 2, 2020 6:11 PM   Subscribe

I live in a recently renovated apartment in the US. My apartment has plentiful three prong power outlets, mostly two-to-a-panel. However, there are also a few single outlet panels, sometimes right next to the two-panel variety. The outlet itself is round and protrudes out from the panel a bit. Additionally, these don't seem to work? What could possibly be the reason for this?
posted by whisper_robin to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you post a photo to Imgur? Is the single outlet panel also three-prong? Does the plastic facing of that kind of outlet look a lot older? (Is the pain flecked off of the screws affixing it to the wall?) When you say the outlet is round, do you mean the plastic where the two or three prongs go is round, or the entire facing is round? (Old phone outlets, before we had plug-in touch-tone phones, had round "outlets" for phones.)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 6:28 PM on October 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also when was your place built?
Which rooms have these dead single outlets- and were these areas once laundry or kitchen areas?
posted by calgirl at 6:30 PM on October 2, 2020

Best answer: By windows and one slot is a T? Dedicated air conditioner plugs.
posted by flimflam at 7:09 PM on October 2, 2020 [4 favorites]

I too think they might be for a window AC, if they are 20 amp plugs. Have you checked to see if any of the apartment's circuit breakers are turned off?
posted by RichardP at 7:14 PM on October 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

High voltage outlet, for an AC like flimflam said, or possibly some other large appliance like a clothes dryer.
posted by gennessee at 7:15 PM on October 2, 2020

Response by poster: Flimflam nailed it, they're all directly under windows. Thank you!
posted by whisper_robin at 7:46 PM on October 2, 2020

The plugs may be off at the circuit breaker panel, if they don’t work. The “T” is for the mythical 20 amp plug for an appliance that pulls more than 15 but less than 20 amps. In practice, these almost never exist. However, it is definitely good practice to have a large window AC unit on its own circuit, and for that circuit to have a 20 amp circuit, since that means 12 gage wires, and therefore everything running cooler than it otherwise would.
posted by rockindata at 10:43 AM on October 3, 2020

If you have electric heat there may be an interlock somewhere that prevents the Heat and A/C circuits from being powered at the same time.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 PM on October 3, 2020

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