Proper and Safe Coverage for an Electrical Floor Outlet

Two technicians working on electrical components of a HVAC unit

This guest post is provided by J-Five Electric. Owned and operated by Jerry Taylor, J-Five's electricians service Dallas and surrounding areas. In addition to residential work, they also provide commercial electric work.

While most electrical outlets in homes are located in walls, some are located in floors. Floor electrical outlets can be very useful when you need to connect things like lamps, television sets, kitchen appliances and more, but they can also be hazardous if not properly cared for. It's important to cover an electrical floor outlet any time it's not in use in order to avoid damaging the outlet itself or causing electrical problems. In fact, properly covering the electrical outlet in your floor may even prevent a fire. If you have an electrical outlet in your floor, or if you're planning on installing an electrical floor outlet, here are some coverage tips to help you keep your outlet, your family and your home safe:

  1. Use the Manufacturer's Cover - In most cases, both wall and floor outlets will come with a safety cover that has been supplied by the outlet's manufacturer. Using the original manufacturer's outlet cover when the outlet is not in use is a great way to keep debris from getting into the outlet, as well as to keep people from coming into direct contact with the outlet's opening. When using the manufacturer's cover, read all instructions before making any installations in order to avoid potential electrical issues.
  2. Use a Rubber Mat - Another great way to safely cover and protect a floor outlet is to lay a rubber mat over it. Rubber is very poor at conducting electricity, so if you were to have a malfunctioning floor outlet, the chances of someone getting electrocuted by it would be lessened if they came into contact with the mat first. Additionally, most rubber mats are slip-resistant, so you wouldn't have to worry about anyone slipping on the mat or pushing it off of the outlet. If your floor outlet is slightly raised, it's always best to use brightly colored floor mats instead of dark ones. This is so that you can call attention to the area and help people to avoid tripping over the mat or the raised portion of the outlet.
  3. Leave Some Space - If you plan to cover your floor outlets with furniture when the outlets aren't in use, always leave at least three inches of space above the outlet's opening. This means that if you're placing a chair, couch or kitchen island over your outlet to cover it, never let the furniture actually touch the outlet opening. Furniture that covers and touches the opening of a floor outlet could cause debris to fall into the outlet or heat to build up inside of the outlet, ultimately increasing the risk for electrical fires, electrical shorts and more.

If you're looking for more ways to safely cover an electrical floor outlet, you may want to contact an electrician. In most cases, a professional electrician will be able to come to your home and inspect your current floor outlets and then recommend some practical and safe ways to keep your outlets covered. As mentioned, floor outlets can easily get debris in them, so always keep your floor outlets covered when not in use.