CAHPtalk – Electrical Safety

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Tamper-resistant receptacles look the same as a standard receptacle. They are made with shutters specifically designed to allow a two- or three-prong plug to enter while preventing other objects such as nails, forks, keys, etc., from penetrating.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) for 2008 requires tamper-resistant receptacles in all new homes in participating jurisdictions. Georgia adopted the code in January 2009. Not only are tamper-resistant receptacles required in new construction, but also they are required for any electrical renovation or electrical outlet replacement. That means all 125-volt and 15- and 20-ampere electrical receptacles in single- and multi-family homes must be tamper-resistant.

Remember that the extra cost of installing tamper-resistant receptacles is minimal compared to saving a child from harm. Every year in the United States, roughly 2,400 children suffer from electric shocks and burns when they insert an electrically conductive object such as a coin into a wall outlet. Just take a look at these percentages:
•    89% of children injured by an electrical outlet are under 6 years old
•    50% of those children are toddlers
•    Most incidents occur while an adult is present

Here are some more reasons why tamper-resistant receptacles are a safe decision:
•    They are a permanent solution and offer continuous protection. Their counterparts, plastic outlet caps, can be removed by most toddlers within 10 seconds.
•    Shutter wall plates, which slide, add layers of material between the plug blades and receptacle contacts.
•    Tamper-resistant receptacles are certified and tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These receptacles must be clearly marked with “TR” on the receptacle face, making them easy to identify.
•    All major receptacle manufacturers offer tamper-resistant receptacles at a cost only slightly higher than comparable standard receptacles. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) estimates the total increased cost per average home to be less than $50.

If you are interested in installing tamper-resistant electrical receptacles in your home, contact a local electrician, and make sure the product to be used comes from a reputable manufacturer. For more information on tamper-resistant receptacles, visit


Stan A. Garnet ACI, ASHI, ICC, is an ASHI-certified home inspector and an IRC Residential Combination Inspector with his company, Inspectors Associates, Inc., in Atlanta. Stan is the director of, director of education at the We Teach House™ Institute and the developer of the See Thru-House at the Atlanta Home Show. For more information visit or e-mail

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