CAHPtalk – Electrical Safety
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 www.childoutletsafety.org.
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 www.ConsultAHomePro.com, 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 www.INeedAnInspector.com or e-mail Stan@WeTeachHouse.com.