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The ABCs of Electrical Receptacle Safety

Make sure you know about these three types of outlets

Indiana Electric Cooperatives reminds consumers about the three types of electrical receptacles designed with safety in mind. The three types of receptacles are tamper-resistant receptacles, ground-fault circuit interrupters and arc-fault circuit interrupters.

Receptacles pose dangers to children and adults alike. A curious child may insert a paper clip, coin or key into an outlet’s openings. Accidents or carelessness with plugged-in appliances around water or simply faulty receptacles and wiring can cause electrical shocks and fires leading to disaster and tragedy.

“Electrical safety is always improving,” said John Gasstrom, CEO at Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “There are many consumer safety devices that are now either code and are standard in any newer home, or available and can be installed to make your home safer.”

Here are three types of electrical receptacles installed today.

TRR — Tamper-resistant receptacles have an interior spring-loaded cover that closes off the slots of the receptacle until a plug is inserted. They open only when two prongs of a plug are inserted simultaneously.

GFCI — Ground-fault circuit interrupters have been around for many years and are required in receptacles in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms — wherever there may be water and/or dampness present. GFCIs have “reset” and “test” buttons associated with them. GFCIs are a circuit breaker that stops the flow off electricity the instant it detects an imbalance in the current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit.

AFCI — Arc-fault circuit interrupters prevent an electrical fire in your home due to “arcing.” An arc fault is an unintended arc created by current flowing through an unplanned path. Arcing creates high-intensity heating, resulting in burning particles that can ignite nearby material like wood or insulation.

If a home doesn’t have these three life-saving types of receptacles, contact a qualified electrician about installing them where needed.

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