finger guard for switch/receptacle 2-gang?

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Old 09-15-06, 09:35 AM
wgc
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finger guard for switch/receptacle 2-gang?

Ok, you got past my barely coherent title, so here's the question ...

I got this idea reading someone else's thread on a garage 2-gang box with a light switch and receptacle. It does sound like an easy way to add a garage receptacle. Currently I only have a light switch. I haven't looked at the wiring yet, but if I have power to the switch rather than just a switch leg from the light fixture, it sounds easiest to gange the box and install an outlet, rather than a more conventional alternative.

However, is this dangerous? When I go into the garage, I can't see the switch so I tend to swat at the location that I know it is at. Is there anything that would work as a finger guard, or is that not really necessary? I guess I'm envisioning hinged covers like those for outdoor outlets, although in this case weather protection is not important.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 09:59 AM
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rule of thumb for worst case electrical jumping an air gap is 1 inch per 1000 volts. for a 120 volt to ground circuit, which is the most you will find in any house, that is 1/10 of an inch in the worst case senero. let me add that this is not a linear formula. higher voltages jump more than one inch per k and lower voltages jump less.

the bevil from a standard rec is deeper. IMHO you can swat away, and not get hurt by the recepticle being there.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 10:06 AM
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They also make plastic inserts that you can use. They are usually used to keep babies from gettting into outlets. I think you can find them at most big box stores.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 10:26 AM
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Or you could install a lighted switch and not have to swat at all...

Generally speaking, it would be quite an accomplishment to get a shock touching the outside of a receptacle, but if you're really worried, use a single gang box for the receptacle and mount it a few inches away from the switch in the same stud space.

Doug M.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 10:43 AM
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Before even addressing your question, I need to address the idea of using an existing circuit.

Generally speaking, adding a receptacle for general purpose use to a circuit is not an issue. However, if the circuit is nearly full and/or the anticipated use of the receptacle is for a heavy load then adding the receptacle is probably not a good idea.

Now to address your question.

They sell a wide variety of child protector devices to cover receptacles. They also make devices to add to a cord that can be used to keep it sceurely plugged in. These require that the screw between the recepacles be unscrewed and this inserted behind it.

I would not be too concerned, unless you leave things plugged in. If so, you might want to consider placing the receptacle below the switch, or using a lighted switch.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by wgc
I haven't looked at the wiring yet, but if I have power to the switch rather than just a switch leg from the light fixture, it sounds easiest to gange the box and install an outlet, rather than a more conventional alternative.
There is nothing unconventional about this method. It is done all the time and is a normal wiring method as long you do not have a switch loop.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 07:16 AM
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Thanks

Thanks to everyone who chimed in ...

- I was not concerned about a spark jumping the gap, but things like wet hands or a partially pulled plug offering a more likely path to a shock

- Child proofing stuff: D'Oh! I can't believe I didn't think of that after the dozens of those I've put in over the last year.

- Possible load issues. Yes, there may be a load issue and it may just be a switch leg. That would shoot down this idea and that project is still on the list for some time in the future.

One of the child-proofing gadgets I had the most hope for was a replacement faceplate with spring loaded swivelling covers over the receptacles. The mechanism does work as advertised, however too many plugs will not work with them. Anything large (such as the transformer plug on my CO monitors) will not insert far enough and anything slightly loose-fitting will come out that much easier since it is not inserted as far. Also, they don't say anything, but the products I've tried do not line up over a GFCI receptacle. The simple plastic inserts do the job.
 
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