The National Electric Code isn’t just some arbitrary list of guidelines an electrician follows to perform his work; that code is designed to protect your property and loved ones from the dangers of improperly installed wiring. At Harrison Electric, we understand most homeowners aren’t familiar with electrical code, let alone the ongoing code updates that occur every three years. To help you better understand when you’ve got a potentially hazardous situation on your hands, we’ve outlined 3 signs that your outlets aren’t up to code.

You Don’t Have the Right Type of Outlets

If your home is missing GFCI outlets or AFCI outlets in the appropriate locations, your electrical work is not up to code. More importantly, your safety and the safety of your loved ones may be at risk, especially if you don’t have the right type of protective outlets near water sources.

If your outlets only have two prongs instead of three, that means they’re ungrounded, another code violation. This issue is super common and fortunately, easily rectified. Simply contact a residential electrician who can install the appropriate outlet replacements. It’s a small price to pay for added safety and peace of mind!

You Don’t Have Tamper-Resistant Outlets in the Appropriate Locations

Did you know your household outlets should be tamper resistant? Many homeowners don’t, primarily because this code update was only implemented in 2008. According to code, all 125 volt and 15- and 20-amp receptacles must be tamper resistant in the following areas:

●        Wall space and hallways

●        Small appliance circuits and countertop spaces

●        Bathrooms and laundry areas

●        Garages and outbuildings

●        Outdoors

Outlets located over 5.5 feet from the floor and those located behind large, dedicated appliances that are unlikely to move do not need to be tamper resistant since they’re not easily accessed by curious small humans. If you have children and your home doesn’t have tamper-resistant outlets, for their safety, contact an electrician to schedule outlet replacements.

You Don’t Have Outlet Covers Outdoors

If you have outdoor outlets, they need covers. Without outlet covers, you’ve got a code violation on your hands. But don’t make the mistake of thinking just any cover will do! To be code compliant, you need two types of outdoor receptacle covers: flat covers and bubble covers, depending on where the outlet is, and how you plan to use it. So where does each type belong? Let’s break it down:

●        Flat covers. These outlet covers are the type with the hinge across the top. They flip down to protect the receptacle, but they only provide protection when the outlet is not in use. Flat covers are only suitable for dry outdoor areas and receptacles that don’t see frequent use.

●        Bubble covers. These covers look like a dome that sits over top of the outlet. They’re designed to protect the receptacle even while it’s in use. National electric code requires that all outdoor outlets in wet or damp areas have bubble covers, so if there’s any chance the receptacle might get wet (if it’s by your pool, for example), it needs a bubble cover.

It’s also important to note that all 15- and 20-amp outdoor receptacles must be both water and tamper resistant if they’re located in wet or damp areas.

Schedule Outlet Replacement With Harrison Electric Today

If your household outlets aren’t up to code, your safety is at risk. At Harrison Electric, it’s our goal to help Twin Cities families protect their safety and their homes with quality, code-compliant electrical installations, upgrades, and comprehensive maintenance, and we’re here to help you too! To request a service appointment, get a quote, or learn more about our services, give us a call today at (763) 544-3300 or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch.