Electrical Upgrades for Safer Older Homes – Part 2
As discussed in Part 1, electrical fires occur in almost 48,000 homes every year, causing more than 450 deaths. Older homes with dated and deteriorated wiring make their residents more vulnerable to electrical fires and shocks. Part 2 will discuss Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters and Tamper-Resistant Receptacles.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
Protecting people from electric shock and electrocution, a GFCI is designed to immediately cut electrical power to the circuit when current flowing into the circuit differs, even very marginally, from the returning flow, indicating a loss of current and a hazardous ground fault that may cause injury or death.
Introduced by the 1971 National Electrical Code (NEC) edition, GFCI requirements have been expanded several times and include bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, crawlspaces, and outdoors. As a result, experts estimate that GFCIs have prevented the deaths of thousands and contributed to decreasing electrocutions in homes by 50%.
Older homes can have a retrofit of its electrical system by installing GFCI outlets or having GFCI breakers installed within the main breaker panel. Another option is a portable GFCI adapter, which can be plugged in standard wall receptacles without tools.
TRR (Tamper-Resistant Receptacle)
Over 2,400 children go to emergency rooms every year due to injuries resulting from sticking objects into electrical outlets. Plastic outlet caps are typically used by parents for protection, but studies have found that they are woefully inadequate and may present a choking danger for a young child. A research study discovered that almost every child between 2 to 4 years old could unplug a plastic outlet cover from a socket within ten seconds.
A TRR looks like a standard electrical outlet, but it has an internal shutter mechanism. When a plug is inserted, pressure must be applied equally by the prongs to both sides of the shutter simultaneously for it to open. When a paper clip, hairpin, or key is inserted, the shutter will stay closed. Proven to be highly effective, the 2008 NEC edition requires TRR installation in new homes.
Electrical Services You Can Trust
Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.