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What does TR mean on an electrical outlet?

The "TR" designation on an electrical outlet refers to "Tamper-Resistant." Tamper-resistant outlets are a specific type of electrical receptacle designed with built-in safety features to protect against electrical shocks, especially in households with young children. These outlets are commonly used in homes, schools, healthcare facilities, and other places where electrical safety is a primary concern.

Here's a more detailed explanation of what TR means on an electrical outlet:

1. Tamper-Resistant Design:
Tamper-resistant outlets are designed to prevent foreign objects, such as keys, hairpins, or small toys, from being inserted into the slots of the outlet. The primary purpose of this design is to reduce the risk of accidental electrical shocks, particularly for curious children who may insert objects into outlets.
2. Mechanism:
Tamper-resistant outlets have a specialized internal mechanism that makes it difficult for foreign objects to access the electrical contacts. This mechanism typically consists of spring-loaded shutters that cover the slots and only open when both slots are simultaneously engaged by the prongs of a plug.
3. Safety Benefits:
The key safety benefits of tamper-resistant outlets include:
a. Prevention of accidental electrical shocks: The shutters block access to live electrical contacts, reducing the risk of injury.
b. Compliance with electrical codes: Many building codes and safety regulations now require the installation of tamper-resistant outlets in new residential constructions and certain commercial buildings.
c. Protection for children: Tamper-resistant outlets are especially valuable in homes with young children who may be tempted to insert objects into electrical outlets.
4. Legal Requirements:
In the United States, the National Electrical Code (NEC) has mandated the use of tamper-resistant receptacles in certain locations since 2008. These locations include residential bedrooms, bathrooms, and areas accessible to children, such as nurseries and playrooms. Local building codes may have additional requirements.
5. Appearance:
Tamper-resistant outlets typically look very similar to standard outlets, with the addition of small shutters inside the slots. These shutters are designed to be inconspicuous and blend in with the outlet's appearance.
6. Ease of Use:
Despite their safety features, tamper-resistant outlets are easy to use for adults. When a plug is inserted into the outlet, the shutters open automatically to allow the connection. The design ensures that both prongs of the plug must be inserted simultaneously to open the shutters, making it difficult for small objects to penetrate the electrical contacts.
7. Retrofitting Older Homes:
If you live in an older home without tamper-resistant outlets and have concerns about electrical safety, you can consider retrofitting your existing outlets with tamper-resistant receptacles. This can be done by a qualified electrician and is a valuable safety upgrade.

In summary, "TR" on an electrical outlet stands for "Tamper-Resistant." These outlets are designed with built-in safety features to prevent foreign objects from being inserted into the slots, reducing the risk of accidental electrical shocks. Tamper-resistant outlets are commonly used in homes, schools, and healthcare facilities to enhance electrical safety, especially in areas accessible to children. They are easy to use for adults and are now required in many building codes and regulations to improve electrical safety standards.
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