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Any quick way to "loosen" Tamper Resistant outlets? Answered

Back from the store with ten Tamper Resistant outlets.  I have great difficulty plugging anything into them completely.  I have great difficulty unplugging anything from them.   Is there something I can spray into them to make them open more easily?   Can I rig something to pound into them to loosen them with one whack?   We're putting in more than 100 outlets.  I'm old.  I want to be able to plug things in during my lifetime. "Oh they'll loosen up with use"  just doesn't cut it for anyone with arthritic  hands.   Short of moving, or replacing them after inspection, what can I do?


There is this terrible irony that occurs when things marketed as "tamper resistant" can actually be more easily manipulated by young hands than by old ones.

They also make these little low-profile plastic plugs, for to be plugged into a tamper-ful electrical outlet. It is a little piece of plastic that just blocks up the outlet completely.

I'll attach a picture of an electrical outlet with a couple of these artifacts inserted.


Those little plugs are great, and every new parent should have a gross of them. The electrical code people, though, seem to think kids can get them off too easily. I would prefer that the plugs be made tamper proof... or maybe something like a screw-on deep cover plate with no openings for the outlets.

Actually, the TR outlet is brilliantly designed. It's just too effective. Remember the early super sensitive smoke detectors that would go off if water was boiling or if grandma used hair spray.....the ones that drove most people to rip out the batteries? I think these outlets are going to be disabled by anyone who can figure out how to do it... defeating the whole purpose of TR.

Pharmacies in Washington can use non-child-proof containers for customers who sign a waiver and take responsibility for keeping the container away from children. I would gladly sign a waiver about outlets. I would even agree to use non-TR outlets only above three feet from the floor. Sadly, that option isn't code.

You get kid proof outlets as used by childcare centers and some schools.
Looks like the US types and those used here have spring loaded flaps to cover the slots.
Strong enough to prevent a kid poking around in it.
The "better" model uses a twisting motion to get the plug in, meaning the slots are slightly rotated out.
Put the plug in and turn until it lines up with the real slots.
Downside of the later is that only plugs without earth will work.
What turns me off is that the people making those new outlets seems to forget all about the old types.
There is no angled sides to guide you if you can't really see the damn thing.
There is no way to find your way in unless totally straight.
So not only is it hard to get to the slots but once you are there you still need luck.

I know it is not up to code but down here people desperate enough use a Dremel to get rid of the flaps...

Tiny grinding pin or these file drills.
Just make sure they are the same size or slightly under then what the slots are wide.
You want to remove the plastic from the flap so the angle is opening up a bit, like a V shape if you still have problems getting a plug in.
In the early days they were nice here and the outlet could be dismantled for the removal of these flaps but I doubt it will be that easy these days...

You would have to sign for Thermite explosive to disintegrate your abode when you sell or pass ;)

Well, I guess you could try some kind of spray lubricant, for to lube the mechanism of the TR outlets you've got. Downunder35 suggested spray silicone for this. Name brand WD-40 (r) might work, or the generic version.

Spray lube containing graphite should probably NOT be used, since graphite is electrically conductive. But I think for most other spray lubes, the actual slippery stuff, silicone oil, mineral oil, etc, is good electrical insulator.

I know these damn things only too well.
One of my old rentals had them "installed" in every single outlet.
Previous tennant had a kid with some disorder so it was justified I guess.
Problem was that the house was empty for almost a year until I moved in.
Tried pulling, prying, swearing at them but no luck.
Of course the also glued the screw hole covers in place just to be safe, so no chance either by taking the entire cover off.
The property manager finally called a sparky and after about two hours of trying he started to taken them out with a hammer and replaced the lot.
The soft plastic of the tamper proof caps "melted" into the plastic of the outlets....
I don't know why but shortly after I got a letter from my landlord stating the use of child proof caps on the outlets is not allowed ROFL

So harsh language did not work either? That must have made it especially frustrating.


Not 100% sure though which came first, the swearing or the frustration ROFL


1 year ago

When I was a little kid I somehow got the idea that if I put a paper clip across the prongs of a lamp plug and stuck it into an outlet it would make the paper clip into a magnet. It didn't work, but it did make a lot of sparks and some cool smoke. It also got me into a lot of trouble. You know I never tried that again. But if I really wanted to, having a TR outlet wouldn't stop me. Because I didn't stick the paper clip into the outlet, I put it across the prongs that were already plugged in. I think some of the worst shocks I ever got were from accidentally touching the prongs that were already in the outlet. A TR outlet would have not prevented them at all. Education is a way more effective deterrent to stupid behavior than barriers.

I was punished by dad, taking my Lionel train xfmr, which didn't stop me from wiring the track directly to 120v outlet... That train took off like a rocket and left the rails on the first turn. By then parents were in the room...

Still have that locomotive somewhere today.

We don't use tamper proof outlets but a similar thing for our high powered kitchen equippment.
Needs a twist and push to make them work and when new they are a pain in....
What we do is to disconnect the affected circuit and spray the thing with silicone spray from the hardware store.
Wiggle it push it a few times and they are good for several months.
If you do that at home please make sure the circuit breakers are off!!!
The oil itself is no problem and a good insulator but the solvent and gas is very flamable.
Takes 3 to 10 minutes to fully evaporate in normal temperutes.

Oh yes, DEFINITELY DISCONNECT THE CIRCUIT! (Speaking from flaming experience)

Hair spray also flamboyant ;)