Part 1 of this blog posted on March 29 outlined three essential electrical products that will help you remain productive and efficient while working remotely at home. This included a back-up power supply, surge-protective devices, and quality workspace lighting. Part 2 of this blog will highlight three other essential electrical products for your home to provide enhanced safety for you and your family while sheltering in place.
Essential #1: Tamper-Resistant Receptacles
Many homes built prior to 2008 do not have tamper-resistant receptacles installed throughout the dwelling. Tamper-resistant receptacles incorporate an automatic shutter that prevents the insertion of foreign objects such as paper clips, eating utensils, keys, and other conductive materials commonly found within a home. With schools and daycare centers closed all throughout the nation, many children and students are also at home and attending classes through virtual formats. Now is the perfect time to ensure all the receptacles in your home are the tamper-resistant type, including those receptacles on relocatable power taps, also known as “plug strips”. This will keep you and your family safe from accidental burns, shock, and electrocution. Tamper-resistant receptacles are a home office essential.
Essential #2: Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters
Overloaded circuits, damaged wiring, and faulty appliances can create arcing faults that ignite combustible materials resulting in fire. Arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protection can prevent this from occurring by detecting these arcing-faults and deenergizing the circuit before the fire occurs. AFCI protection was introduced in the 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) to protect the circuits supplying bedroom receptacle outlets but has since expanded to protect most of the 120 volt, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits within a dwelling. With you and your family being home around the clock and using more electricity during the work week than normal, this fire-safety device is even more essential now than ever before. Installing AFCI protection will give you peace of mind and keep your family safe while sheltering in place. Arc-fault circuit interrupters are a home office essential.
Essential #3: Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters
Working from home means that you will be spending more time in the kitchen or bathroom than you normally would during a typical work week when you commute to an office. Or perhaps you have converted a portion of your basement to serve as a home office while sheltering in place. In both cases, the receptacles located in these areas should be protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent shock or electrocution by deenergizing a hazardous ground-fault condition. The circuits supplying your kitchen, bathrooms, and basement can be protected with a GFCI circuit breaker or the protection can be provided at the outlets with a GFCI receptacle. If your home already has GFCI protection in these areas but is more than 10 years old, it is highly recommended that you replace all your GFCI devices with new GFCI’s that contain the latest in technology such as push-to-test, self-test, and power denial features that your older devices may not have. If in doubt, consult a licensed and insured electrical contactor who can inspect your home’s electrical system and recommend necessary upgrades and enhancements. Ground-fault circuit interrupters are a home office essential.
These three home office electrical essentials will not only improve the safety of your home, they may also increase the value of your home and could earn you a premium reduction or credit on your home insurance policy. Consult your insurance agent for additional information. As mentioned above, please only hire a licensed and insured electrical contractor and be sure any work performed in your home is inspected by the local building department. Following the recommendations in Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, along with full compliance with the NEC, will ensure your home office experience is safe and productive now and after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.