Expert Electrical

What is a tamper resistant receptacle?

Mar 21, 2016 | Electrical Safety

With little ones crawling around the floors, it is hard to always keep an eye on what they are doing all the time. Electrical outlets are at the perfect height for them and seem to be the most interesting thing to investigate. This convenience leads to hundreds of children suffering severe shock (electrocution) each year. This is why tamper resistant outlets are so important. If your home is missing tamper resistant outlets, it may be time to upgrade.

How do they protect my family?

A tamper resistant outlet looks just like a normal outlet, to the untrained eye but have important mechanisms behind the plastic to ensure that nothing foreign can find their way into electricity. Behind the two top prong holes is a small plastic panel. This panel slides across to cover the prong holes. If a child approaches the receptacle with a key or other narrow object with the intention to insert it into the outlet, the plastic panel will prevent them. No matter how much force they apply, it will block the foreign object from entering the outlet and allowing electrical current to escape.

How do I use it then?

If this plastic panel is preventing objects from entering the prong holes, how do you plug in your normal devices then? The trick to this is that pressure must be applied equally through both prong holes in order to slide the panel to the open position. If there is uneven pressure, the panel does not move. This is how it can prevent paperclips from entering, but operates seamlessly when plugging in a lamp.

Updating your outlets

Tamper resistant outlets can prevent serious injuries to children. If you have a young one making their way around your home and you aren’t sure if you have tamper resistant receptacles, now is the best time to check. Contact your local Expert Electric at 604-681-8338. We can help to identify what kinds of outlets are used in your home, and upgrade them if needed.