Are they kidding with these new outlets?!!

Nan57November 3, 2013

Forgive me if I am in the wrong forum, but they just installed all the new outlets in our kitchen yesterday and we are in disbelief. DH and I attempted to plug in a small radio on the counter and it appeared to be blocked. Didn't want to force it, so we tried another. And another. And another. And they were all impossible to plug into.

Call to electrician. He says these are the newest change in the (NJ) code and were designed to keep kids from sticking forks into them. Well, I think they succeeded there but why on earth do they have to be on counter height outlets as well?

While I'm all about safety with electrical, this design seems like overkill. I can't see how people with arthritic hands or elders like my 87 yo mother, will ever be able to manage them. Heck, I can see where ANYone will have trouble with this design..young and old alike.

Anyone else have such a thing with your new electrical outlets? Hard to believe this is for real.

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Interesting. When we bought a new computer a few months ago, I picked up an outlet strip/surge protector that I could not plug anything into! I figured there was a trick I was unaware of, could find nothing in the instructions and so set it aside. I haven't remembered to do any searching about it until reading your post.

So far what I have read is that you need very even pressure for the shutters to open on both sides. Also, they can be defective if it takes a lot of force. Folks seem to say it shouldn't.

Off to do more research!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 8:57AM
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Plug has to be oriented with wide prong to wide slot and push. They get easier- becoming code everywhere.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Yes we have the same annoying outlets, code here too :(

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:03AM
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I had the same situation with my kitchen remodel, I thought the newly installed outlet was broken. The contractor said you have to wiggle the plug a little to insert it into the outlet. You don't have to force it in.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:21AM
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We've had these for over 2 years, and these outlets only get worse. Those outlets I use often ..meaning taking the plug in and out...will no longer hold the plug at all. It just falls out. So now we are having to replace quite a few of them. Wish I could replace them with all the old kind, but probably not.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:32AM
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I got my permit right before the new code change (Calif.) so I was able to use the old-style. Don't know how long those will even be available in the future ... not long, I imagine.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I've found the best method is to put the plug in at an angle, so one prong goes in first, until it stops. Then rotate the other prong in. You don't have to push hard. I do agree they're most annoying.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Ah, yes, the TR (tamper resistant) outlets! Mine do take a little wiggling and some pressure at first, but they have become more cooperative lately.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Yes, we just had them installed this year (in NY) as part of renovation - they are Leviton I think. I too thought they were defective at first. They have gotten easier with use.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 12:06PM
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We're in San Francisco, and had to change every single outlet in our condo (even in areas we weren't working on) under 52" to those new tamper-proof outlets. We haven't had a chance to try them yet, the power is still turned off.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 12:38PM
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This makes me want to stock up on the non-tamper-proof type (if they are even still available!).

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:56PM
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We've been enduring these for 4 years. The ones we use regularly are fine but those used infrequently are a royal pain. I have some that I've never been able to use.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Yup - royal pain!
The hospital grade versions are even worse!!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Elraes Miller

Go to Restore and stock up on the old ones. They show up dozens at a time in boxes of used and new. Not sure what your ramifications would be if changing out over code. And if you are an electrical person, you'll know which used ones are of value.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 2:37PM
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I'm glad to hear that some get easier with time. We were really flabbergasted...had never heard of them before! Why in the world this is the new (apparently) national code is beyond me. Anything under 52"? Wow. Those are some pretty large kiddos running around with forks and scissors ;)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 8:10PM
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No kidding! We'd never heard of them either.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 8:32PM
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When I first moved into my new house, the first thing I wanted to do was vacuum. I couldn't get the plug to go into any of the outlets. I thought every outlet was broken.

The new outlets are a giant PITA.

What's funny though, is that as others have said - as you use them, they sort-of wear out.

I've only been in the house a year, and now the frequently used outlets are as easy to plug into as the ones in my old house.

So this accomplishes what, exactly?

I'm amazed all of us over 30 years old managed to survive to adulthood without all these "wonderful" safety "improvements".

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:59AM
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When I was about 4 or 5, I stuck a hairpin into the bathroom socket. It was an experience I'll never forget and was never tempted to try again.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:14AM
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This sounds terrible!! I have a toddler and we just have the plastic covers over our outlets. What happened to those things?? Crazy how codes have been put in place over actually parenting.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 4:06PM
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A 5 yr old across the street blew himself across the kitchen sticking something in an outlet. No major injuries. I never used those plastic covers much as I could never get them out when I needed to use the outlet.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 6:08PM
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The idiot nanny state protects us from ourselves again.

I can't wait til we all have to have helmets surgically implanted on our heads.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 6:38PM
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All I remember was a very big blue flash and then being on the opposite side of the bathroom. I had a teensy little mark on my palm. I went out to the kitchen where my parents were, showed them my palm, and told them what happened. Bedlam ensued.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 7:39PM
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The kid across the street had his hair standing straight on his head and the outlet started on fire.

Did you know that on stair railing the ends must turn and attach to the wall on? Ours apparently dangerous handrails got grandfathered in.

Here is a photo of what I mean. You don't have to have two railings.

Modern Staircase by Portland Staircases & Railings Portland Stair Company

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Here's a fact sheet from the National Fire Protection Association. It says that the tamper resistant feature is not the amount of force needed to insert the plug, it's that both prongs of the plug must be inserted for the slots to open. This explains how the outlets become easier to use over time, yet are still considered tamper resistant.

Here is a link that might be useful: TAMPER RESISTANT ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLES

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:36PM
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ahh, so that is what we have! lol! i just thought they were new and needed to be loosened up over time.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Tamper resistant outlets have been mandatory, whatever their height of install, in most European countries for at least 10 or maybe 15 years.

I can tell you that will get used to them, to the point that older outlets will feel like a safety hazard :-)

Stocking up on old ones does not sound like a smart idea for all kinds of liability, safety and resale reasons (in my area, lack of tamper resistant outlets must be disclosed to prospective buyers as an electrical safety hazard).

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 1:37AM
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Some of these comments made me lol. Thanks for that. I honestly thought I was on candid camera (prehistoric version of punk'd). deedles..if only those helmet implants could come with a good dose of common sense ;)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 9:17PM
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I'm going to stock up. Thanks for the warning.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 2:20AM
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It is quite possible I'm a moron - but I'm here to tell you that I have tried every approach I can think of to get prongs to go into the outlets. I've tried a straight-on approach, I've tried inserting one prong slightly before the others, I've wiggled, jiggled, and pleaded. I've tried being forceful, I've tried gentle. I've done everything but buy those stupid outlets flowers and send a gift in advance of wanting to use them.

They suck. So either I got defective, HIGHLY tamper resistant outlets....or, as I said, I'm a moron.

The ones I use over and over have now worn out so much that they work as easily as the old-style ones did. But every time I try to use a "new" one...well, see my first paragraph.

I'd stock up on old ones too. :) It is too late for me unfortunately.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:41AM
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hahaa patrice..i could have written that first paragraph above. Soo frustrating. I hear my husband grumble obscenities every time he 'attempts' to plug something in. (Guilty here, as well ;)

Funny, how after they wear out they behave just like the old ones. So truly, what's the point? Just to tick us off in the meantime? Gee thanks. We used those plug protectors when our kids were little...apparently worked just fine!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:36PM
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I hate them !! Period lol

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:58PM
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We have them, and they were confusing at first. The outlets that have been used a few times+, work easily now. Whenever I use a new outlet, I am reminded of how hard the first use can be. I just have to push, straight on, with force... It's not a big deal after the first few times. Are people assuming their broken-in outlets are not tamper-resistant since plugs go in easily? They are (or should be.) The device only stops something from going in one side.. (as opposed to prongs going in both sides.)

I really don't appreciate nanny state features, but I distinctly remember my brother sticking paper clips followed by aluminum foil in the outlets. He got hurt, but he was a mischievous little boy who was bored... Tamper-resistant outlets would have prevented his adventures.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:17PM
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It just amazes me that ANY of us managed to live to adulthood before any of these "safety precautions" were in place.

Any quite honestly, if a child is really looking to stick something into an outlet - well, they are resourceful little buggers, they're going to figure out how to do it, foiling the tamper resistance...while the rest of us just can't manage to plug anything in.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:20AM
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