Assume for a second that my jurisdiction has adopted 2011 NEC code as legally binding without significant amendment. This code requires (406.11) that 120V 15/20A outlets in all areas defined in NEC 210.52 must be tamper-resistant, and that existing grandfathered outlets are only grandfathered until replaced; any replacement must be TR. Exceptions are:

  • Outlets more than 5.5' off the ground (only common one I can think of is the one for a garage door opener)
  • Outlets designed to be used by a major appliance which normally blocks access to the receptacle (mostly in the kitchen; fridge/stove/oven/dishwasher)
  • Outlets built in to light fixtures or lumieres (and so replacing them would involve replacing the entire light fixture which may be expensive or impossible)

210.52 covers pretty much any outlet in an interior space of a residential building, including attached garages. It doesn't specifically cover closets but the NEC doesn't treat closets any differently than the interior space containing the closet. It also doesn't (AFAIK) cover attic spaces that haven't been finished. I don't have a basement so don't worry about that.

All that being said, is there any outlet in my house, besides the one for the fridge (ex 2), stove (ditto) and garage door opener (ex 1 - on the ceiling), that wouldn't be required to be TR if/when I replace it?

This also begs the (somewhat argumentative) question of why standard (non-TR) outlets are still sold to "amateur" electricians. At least in my area, they are only code-compliant in commercial spaces that aren't healthcare, child care or hotel spaces (ask the next 100 people who buy an outlet where they plan to install it, and 99 will say "in my home"), and in VERY LIMITED circumstances in residential, where a TR outlet would also be just fine. I'm not sure exactly how the store would be expected to tell who would install it in a compliant way, but it seems disingenuous for a store to sell 10-packs of outlets that would be illegal to install without at least having the POS system throw up a flag at checkout (like they already do for age-restricted items like glues/paints/solvents).

  • 4
    It's not the responsibility of the store to enforce codes, that's the Electrical Inspectors job (which is likely unionized, so he'd file a grievance if the stores did his job).
    – Tester101
    Apr 5, 2012 at 19:37
  • 3
    If the vast majority of the outlets are required to be TR, why worry about which ones don't need to be? Just install them everywhere and be done with it.
    – Steven
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:20
  • 4
    @KeithS Save yourself some cash and pick up some Outlet Plugs. NEC only requires tamper resistant receptacles in new installs and when receptacles are replaced. We all grew up with open receptacles, and most of us made it.
    – Tester101
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:50
  • 3
    No safety device has ever been invented that can match the vigilant parent.
    – Tester101
    Apr 6, 2012 at 0:54
  • 2
    -1 : I am downvoting because your question is literally its own answer. Why not just remove all the preamble and answer the question yourself? Feb 6, 2014 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


While Article 406.11 Tamper-Resistant Receptacles in Dwelling Units. existed in NEC 2008, it was revised as Article 406.12 Tamper-Resistant Receptacles in Dwelling Units. in NEC 2011. And it says Tamper-Resistant Receptacles are required in all areas listed in Article 210.52

National Electrical Code 2011

ARTICLE 210 Branch Circuits

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.
(A) General Provisions.

  • kitchen
  • family room
  • dining room
  • living room
  • parlor
  • library
  • den
  • sunroom
  • bedroom
  • recreation room
  • or similar room or area of dwelling units

(B) Small Appliances

(C) Countertops

(D) Bathrooms

(E) Outdoor Outlets

(F) Laundry Areas

(G) Basements and Garages

(H) Hallways

With the following exceptions.

Ex.: Receptacles in the following locations aren’t required to be tamper-resistant:

(1) Receptacles located more than 5½ ft above the floor.
(2) Receptacles that are part of a luminaire or appliance.
(3) A receptacle located within dedicated space for an appliance that in normal use isn’t easily moved from one place to another.
(4) Nongrounding receptacles used for replacements as permitted in 406.4(D)(2)(a).

  • This answer doesn't really tell me anything I didn't already know as of when I wrote the OP. I think I can add two more outlets to my list; the ones for the washer and dryer, as they are located behind said appliances which definitely qualify as "not easily moved". I have no non-grounded plugs; the house was built in the late 70s so 110v outlets had to be grounded. So, I think by this answer that you agree that every plug in a typical SFD that isn't for the fridge, stove, GDO, or W/D must be at least TR, and outdoor/wet areas must be WR.
    – KeithS
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:16
  • Tester, Can you send me the link you use for NEC??? thanks Apr 5, 2012 at 20:20
  • 2
    @shirlockhomes No link. my source is not online. It'll cost you $90.00. NFPA 70 :National Electrical Code
    – Tester101
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:21
  • Follow-up Q. Does an attic space that isn't finished as living space count as "outdoor"? If finished, it's definitely a living space and so outlets must be TR, but if not, it doesn't really fall into any other listed area that would require TR, unless it's considered outdoor space.
    – KeithS
    Apr 5, 2012 at 20:24
  • 1
    @keshlam just new, permitted work. Unless some type of other laws/codes require you to bring things up to current code.
    – Tester101
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:50

The TR rule applies whether you get a permit or not. I install TR in every receptacle location. They cost about 60 cents more than the baby killer open outlets. IMO open outlets should not be sold anywhere.

  • 2
    If you're concerned about the safety of babies in your house, you'd be better to install combination afi/gfi breakers for all your receptacle and lighting circuits.
    – Edwin
    Sep 13, 2021 at 0:14
  • 3
    While your opinion is valid, it's irrelevant when it comes to what the code says and what's legal. In my opinion, most posted speed limits are far too low, but that won't matter if a cop pulls me over. If you'd care to edit this into an answer to the question asked, please do so, otherwise, it will likely be deleted soon. If you'll spend a moment taking the tour, you'll understand why.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 13, 2021 at 11:59
  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 13, 2021 at 13:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.