Little known ways to child proof electrical outlets

little known ways to childproof electrical outlets

Children find tools they come across with irresistible and comestibles.  Receptacles are one of the most popular ones. A large percentage of injuries resulting from outlets involve burns. But for young children and babies, there are no minor injuries. A burn can turn from minor to serious in no time. Their skins are not strong enough to withstand some level of electric flow. 
Electrical current is dangerous and playing with electrical cables, is like opening a Pandora’s box of serious injuries like electrical burns,  electrocution, lethal emergency, etc.
 Electrical Safety is paramount especially when you have kids.  It’s worth investing time in building strategies to avoid unexpected scenarios.
 Safety precautions change over the years; Conventional long sockets plastic covers that were “The Electrical baby proof gadget” years ago, are no more. They were hard to remove for both babies and parents.  There are different easy to remove solutions available in the market today. And most of them are affordable. Check this link for example.
Which electrical tools for baby proofing: It all depends on the type of receptacle as well as the budget you have. The following are the most important places  where a baby proofing is required:
1.Receptacles and outlets: Especially those which are not more than 5.5 feet from the floor. This is the first location most parents think about.   Every baby in this world likes inserting objects in receptacles. However, it’s not appropriate nor saves. They come into contact with electricity and they can get electrocuted in a few seconds.

Below are ways to overcome such issues:

·         Tamper-resistant receptacles:

If you are living in a new home(since 2009), chances are a tamper-resistant receptacle has been installed. This is a smart solution to prevent child electrocution. It’s barely impossible for babies to insert foreign objects into a tamper-resistant receptacle because the slots will remain close. This type of receptacles gets open if and only if there is a simultaneous pressure made by the prongs of the plugs. So, no simultaneous pressure=no opening of the socket. And since your child cannot poke objects simultaneously into an outlet, he is safe. I strictly recommend this solution because it is one of the most efficient ones and you’ll never regret such an investment in the long run. With a tamper-resistant receptacle, You don’t have to worry about receptacles caps anymore.

However, call an electrician for the installation. They are affordable and you can replace a standard receptacle by a tamper-resistant one for only $2.

Price: start at $10 each.

  • Cover receptacles:

cover receptacle

They became very popular over the past decades. Made in different shapes and types, they are more friendly than resistant tamper receptacles. They are made in plastic, sit on outlets,  are easy to install and there is no need to look after them if they get lost. Anytime you want to plug an appliance in, simply slide the cover across the slots of the receptacles. It will snap back to its initial position itself.

Price: $12.99 (06 pack)  available here:

  • Outlets caps:

outelts caps

This is one of the cheapest options available out there. They are made of plastic and are easy to remove. What I really like and appreciate about this product it is aesthetic.  They look nice and baby-friendly. The main downside, however, is the lack of practical use. If you want to plug an appliance into the socket you need to remove the cover first.

Price: $3.99 available here:

 

  • Damp and wet locations receptacles:

    ·         You have probably never heard about these ones before but damp and wet locations, as their names suggest, are very important in damp areas. They are not only safe for you but for the baby too.  Though more expensive than the previous options, they are a big plus in such areas.  You can find them in the  following shapes:

    ·         Weatherproof covers with the cord plugged in:

weather proof

  • Weatherproof cover without the cord plugged in.

weather proof

If the appliance that you plug in is attended while in use, use the second type. Otherwise, use the first one.

2. Power strip :

power strip

A Powerstrip is a temporal solution for outlets that are located far away from the appliance to use. If you have children, consider buying this power strip cover. It is easy to use, lasts longer and fits almost every power strip.

Price: start at $7.99

However, never use power strips as a permanent solution. There are designed to run under a certain amount of current.   Plugging one or more appliances on it can be dangerous and extremely harmful to kids.

3. Extensions cords:

Mainly used as the connection between an appliance and the socket, extension cords cannot handle too many appliances. This is why they should never be used as a permanent option. Below is the best solution to avoid your child to get in contact with them.

extension cords

Price: $3.99 found here

Electrical safety is not only efficient for Children younger than 5 or 6.

10 years old children can still benefit from it but in different ways.

It is now easier for electricians to install protective gadgets at home.  No baby-proofing methods will guaranty 100% safety, but the solutions that we’ve listed in this article are good enough to pay attention to.

With a tiny budget and relevant skills in electricity, you can install receptacles on your own. But Always call for an electrician If you need some help.

How to fix a circuit breaker that keeps tripping

fix a circuit breaker that keeps tripping

Circuit breakers are those protective devices that are used to keep people and their electrical items safe and free from injuries. When a circuit breaker trips(shuts off the electrical flow), it means something went  wrong in the circuit: in general a circuit overload. A direct consequence is that an appliance or lamp connected to that circuit breaker goes dead. The lever of the circuit breaker is  “off”. If you try to put it back to its initial position, and you hear it snapping and remains to that position, it means there is a deeper problem.

A faulty circuit breaker needs to be replaced in some cases.

No matter how smart you are, a strong background is strictly recommended to solve these kinds of issues.

Why does a circuit breaker  keeps tripping

These are the main reasons :

  • Short circuit: It happens when the hot wire comes into contact with the neutral or another hot wire.  When this happens, a large amount of current flows through the circuit – due to lowered resistance – creating more heat than it can handle. A short circuit is caused by faulty equipment or appliances, outlets or plugs. That’s the reason it can be difficult to detect and fix. Short circuits are fire hazards.
  • Overloaded circuit: The most common cause for a tripped circuit breaker is overloading. It occurs when power-hungry systems run in the same circuit. Consequently,   more current will flow through that circuit.   Since that current is higher than what the circuit breaker has been designed for, it trips.

Check out this link to know more about overloading.

Let’s take an example, a circuit breaker rated at 15 amps cannot handle  20 amps load. It automatically trips and shuts the current off. In this case, you have 02 solutions:

  1.     Shut the appliances that caused the overload off.
  2.  Disconnect those appliances and reconnect them in another circuit.
  • Wrong circuit breaker:  Electricians may connect the wrong circuit breaker. The type of circuit breaker should match with the application. It is not common to have bad circuit breakers as they can last for years. A type B circuit breaker, for instance, will never be able to start up a motor like a type D.
  • Ground fault:  A ground fault is similar to a short circuit. It occurs when a hot wire touches a ground wire or a portion of an appliance that is grounded.  Most of the time, a ground fault results from an insulation breakdown. It’s harmful in areas of moisture like bathrooms or kitchen. For this reason, a GFCI must be installed there. It prevents electrical hazards like electrical shocks or electrocution.
  • Arc faults: An arc fault circuit breaker is a special circuit breaker designed to detect arc faults. An arc fault is the flow of electricity over an unintended path. They are more sensitive and more accurate than ordinary circuits breakers or fuses. Arc faults receptacles are used as an alternative solution to arc fault circuits breakers at some places.

Locate a tripped circuit breaker 

First things first, locate a tripped circuit breaker. It is mostly found in the utility area. Check the control panel. After opening it, there is a bank of circuit breakers arranged in the same manner and in the same position. If one of them is “off” ( a different position than the others) then put it down.  If you don’t see any circuit box, then you might have an old installation made of fuses. In this case, the approach of troubleshooting is completely different.

how to fix a  circuit breaker that keeps tripping:

  1. Put the level of the circuit breaker to its « ON » position. If you succeed and light comes back that’s good for the moment; it means there is no immediate issue, but it also means that you need to check your system again or call a licensed electrician.
  2. If the level of the circuit breaker goes to its initial position and trips again, it is due to one of the previous reasons. In that case:
  • Unplug all the appliances.
  • Then plug in appliances one after another to see which appliance is the faulty one.
  • If no specific appliance trips the circuit breaker, chances are, your circuit gets overloaded. In this case, let an electrician upgrade your panel.
  1. If the circuit breaker remains at the “off” position, contact a professional. He will fix the problem and deliver the best solution for your home.

It is always recommended to avoid humid or wet areas when dealing with electricity, especially for non-experienced people.

Electricity can be dangerous and become harmful if not well handled. A circuit breaker that keeps tripping hides serious problems.  Electricians are trained to take on every electrical challenge. Unless you are confident enough to tackle that kind of project, it’s smart to call an expert.

Appliances that need their own dedicated circuits

appliances that need their own dedicated circuit

To operate safely, appliances need to be supplied with enough power. In fact, some appliances need too much power to start with. That’s one of the reasons why they need their own circuit breaker.
 On the other hand, to supply that power,  circuit breakers need to be the right one and properly sized to avoid unplanned events like an electrical fire.

what do you understand by a dedicated circuit?

A dedicated circuit is a circuit that serves only one appliance or equipment. They are commonly used for appliances that incorporate a motor. The national electrical code requires that any appliance declared as critical-use needs its own circuit. No other appliance should be plugged in that same circuit.

Why do my appliances need their own  dedicated circuits

 Motors need a certain power to start up and when this one is not available,  they run more current to compensate the mechanical energy that is applied. That mechanical energy tends to turn into a sound . The appliance will then reach the maximum current allowed by the circuit breaker . In case other appliances are served by the same circuit breaker, it will trip.
In addittion to that, dedicated circuits are used to limit circuits overloading. This occurs when many electronic appliances are connected to the same circuit breaker.
Critical in use appliances include refrigerators, furnaces or water heaters.

Appliances that need their own dedicated circuits:

Below are the most hungry appliances that homeowners should take care of:
Microwave ovens: Microwaves ovens became popular in the 1970s. they brought a new level of convenience to homeowners. Microwaves need a dedicated circuit simply because they use a huge amount of energy for cooking.
  • Refrigerator
  • Air conditioner
  • Freezer
  • Dishwasher
  • Electric water heater
  • Furnace (also heat pump)
  • Bathroom heater (including vent-fan heater units)
  • Garbage disposal
  • Sump pump
All these previous appliances consume a huge amount of power . For some of them, like an electrical water heater for example a permit might be required for installation. The service panel should have all dedicated circuits well labeled.
It is also important to differentiate between dedicated and designated circuits. While a dedicated circuit is used to serve only one appliance, a designated circuit in another hand is used to serve  02 appliances. Most of the time, designated circuits are those found in laundry rooms. In such cases, one outlet circuit is used for both washer and dryer, in case of a gas dryer. Check this article to learn more .