Are tamper-resistant outlets required by code?

Are tamper-resistant outlets required by code?

TR receptacles were originally mandated in the 2008 version of the National Electrical Code (NEC). TR receptacles significantly lower the risk of electrical shock and are a vital and effective approach to safeguard your family from the risks of electricity.

Why do you need a tamper-resistant receptacle?

Indeed, they provide a long-term answer to the childhood shock generated by fiddling with electrical outlets. TRRs have built-in safety shutters that prevent foreign items from entering the receptacle. Since 2008, TRRs have been mandated by the National Electrical Code. Previously, these devices were optional for new construction and required on an as-needed basis for existing homes.

The need for tamper-resistant receptacles is obvious: considering how easily damaged those old-fashioned outlets are, it's not hard to imagine someone trying to steal some power by inserting a wire into an open slot or probing the wiring with a metal object such as a keychain charger. If left unchecked, this behavior could result in serious injury or death due to electric shocks. The solution is simple: just add security to the outlet with a TRR.

TRRs are designed to look like regular outlets but instead of being easy to access, they require special tools to remove. In addition, their slotted covers make visual checking of the wiring inside the house easier. Finally, sensors inside the device can alert utility workers if they attempt to tamper with the unit.

Tamper resistance is important because electricity cannot be turned off for repairs. If a home has broken pipes or appliances that need repair, there will be an electric bill even when the owner goes away for a few days.

How do I know if my outlets are tamper-resistant?

Home inspectors and homeowners may identify these outlets by searching for the initials "TR" or the phrases "tamper-resistant" etched on the receptacle's surface, which indicates that they are tamper-resistant and have been tested to withstand lengthy durations of usage and some types of physical damage. Receptacles labeled as such are required by law in some states to protect consumers from electrical shock caused by tampering with unused outlets.

In addition to being required by law in some states, these outlets are also recommended by safety organizations because their design makes them harder to access by children who might be tempted by an unoccupied outlet.

Tamper-resistant outlets should be located near bathrooms so that parents can monitor their child's use of this type of outlet.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed standards for residential electrical systems that address matters such as voltage requirements, conductors sizes, grounding methods, and other topics relevant to home wiring. One of these standards is referred to as the "ANSI/ISEE Code" and it's used by a majority of state electric utilities to set minimum requirements for homes built after 2011. The code requires that all household outlets be designed to resist both mechanical and electrical tampering. Outlets used in schools must also be tamper-resistant. Inspectors look for signs indicating whether an outlet is tamper-resistant.

Are tamper-resistant outlets required?

Tamper-resistant outlet receptacles are not often required. The electric code mandates GFCI (ground-fault interrupter) protection in specific sections of the home, including: outlets behind big appliances that are difficult to move (such as a refrigerator), and outlets behind large appliances that are difficult to move (such as a refrigerator). These protections ensure that an electrical hazard will be detected if someone tries to repair what should be a live circuit by touching either end. Outlets meeting these requirements can be identified by looking for the term "GFCI" on the wiring box near the floor or on a wall adjacent to where you would stand when working on a household appliance.

The main advantage of using tamper-resistant outlets is that if someone decides to sabotage your appliance by removing its plug, the GFCI mechanism will detect this problem and shut off the power immediately. Outlets that do not use GFCIs cannot prevent people from tampering with your appliance's wires. If you have children or pets, then it is important to protect their safety by keeping them away from the living room couch while you're watching TV.

There are two types of tamper-resistant outlets: those that require a special tool to open and those that don't require one.

About Article Author

Chris Dutcher

Chris Dutcher's passion is cars. He has an engineering degree from Yale University, and he likes to work on cars in his free time. He has been working as a mechanic for the past 8 years, and he loves it!

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