Outlets - they are these little things on our walls that power our TV's, charge our phones, and just sit there quietly when not in use. But an outlet is a very important thing to pay attention to, especially when buying a home.
Outlets deliver electricity (obviously) but they can also help identify underlying issues, and even workmanship.
Modern outlets have three openings; one hot, one neutral, and one ground. Many older homes only have three openings though; a hot and a neutral. When buying a home, be sure to check for this. Many modern appliances don't work properly without a ground.
Beware of the "bootleg" ground as well. Many people don;t want to change out all the wiring in older homes to get a ground, so the hook the ground to the neutral wire. When tested, this gives the appearance of being grounded, but not actually being properly grounded.
Another thing to look out for are GFCI outlets. You will want to have GFCI outlets anywhere near a water source.
These are just some of the many items to consider about outlets - and as you can see, something small can have many things to look out for.
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL