What Is A Floor Outlet & Where Can You Use It?
August 26, 2021 | Cristina Dinulescu
Open spaces come along with some difficult choices, especially in the electrical department. On one hand, they provide plenty of room and design options; on the other, they require creativity regarding the location of any appliances or lighting installations. It may be nice to tear down some walls in order to get more space and more natural light for the living areas or family rooms, but keep in mind that conventionally, electrical grids and outlets are built within those walls. One could consider lengthy extension cords to power lighting fixtures that are far from the wall outlets; still, they are dangerous, particularly for pets and children, not to mention highly unaesthetic.
A solution would be the floor outlet. There are multiple choices of floor outlets available in stores, some of which also come with an installation package. Everything one may need for a full in-floor installation, from the floor box and the socket receptacle to the wire nut connectors and even the drilling saw can be easily purchased in any specialized store.
Floor boxes can be found on the market in a great variety, too, with both single and duplex receptacles.
What Is A Floor Outlet?
Also called a drop-in or a poke-through, a floor outlet has an incorporated mounting plate that is practically on the room’s surface level. Likewise, the outlet receptacle is even with the floor level or sunken a little below the surface, in which case, there is another plate that covers the socket when it is off.
The majority of the floor outlets have different types of covers, such as flip or screw-in, that will protect the receptacles any time they are not in use. Whereas certain floor installation sets include all the necessary equipment, more than often they contain only the surface cover plate and the electrical floor box and outlets need to be acquired separately.
Are Floor Outlets Safe?
As useful as a floor outlet can be in powering all kinds of devices, like kitchen appliances, lamps or TV and audio sets, it can be risky as well if it is not covered. All electrical floor outlets need to be covered properly when they are not in use, otherwise they could deteriorate or cause several issues, fire or electrocution for example. Should you already have an electrical outlet installed in your floor or should you decide to set one up in the future, browse through the following tips to make sure you maintain the safety of the household:
- Always use the original outlet cover, provided by the manufacturer – most of the time, both wall and floor outlets come with a safety cover, for the time they are not in use. The original cover keeps the outlets clean, preventing litter from clogging the sockets, as well as the family from tripping or touching the electrical contacts. To avoid any problems, study the instructions manual for the manufacturer’s covers before starting any electrical project.
- Cover the floor outlets with a Rubber Mat – placing a rubber mat over a socket is also a great method of protecting it. Plus, rubber is a weak power conductor, so it is able to prevent electrocution in case of an outlet malfunctioning. Another advantage of rubber mats is their slip-proof feature, which eliminates the risk of somebody sliding on the mat or uncovering the outlet. However, if the sockets are above the floor level, the rubber mats should be colorful, to draw attention to that spot and stop people from tripping over that elevated part of the floor outlets.
- Leave a little room above the floor outlet – if you think about placing furniture above the outlets installed in the floor, check that the distance between them is at least three inches. In other words, no matter what piece of furniture you may consider when covering the outlets, whether it is a chair, a sofa or a coffee table, it should never touch the outlet opening. And the explanation is that this particular type of layout could lead to debris falling into the outlet or sometimes to the overheating of the sockets, eventually resulting in electrical fires, short circuits, etc.
3 Places Where You Can Use Floor Outlets
As hinted by its name, the living room is where people spend most of their time, where they entertain guests and where they celebrate important events. It is therefore a priority to have plenty of electrical outlets available, in the middle of all the walls, as well as in each corner of the room. Open spaces though could become a challenge, considering their lack of walls.
Floor outlets are a great way to meet all electrical needs, even in open spaces, since they can provide enough power for several devices, including lighting fixtures, TV sets, sound systems. Holidays are to be considered as well, as they create extra outlet requirements; Christmas trees, for instance, will definitely call for their own electrical plugs.
Planning the electrical layout of the home office can be a difficult process. A popular choice is represented by outlets placed on the walls, dedicated to the lighting and usually covered by a desk. Still, if you want to be creative with your desk, you should give floor outlets a chance; they can supply power to computers, lamps and chargers.
Furthermore, assess the power needs. For certain jobs, many outlets may not be a necessity, but there are special devices, like cameras, spotlights or heavy tools that are quite demanding power wise and thus ask for various outlets.
Bedrooms usually have large pieces of furniture that cover all the walls, such as the bed, nightstands, dresser, etc. Design the electrical grid according to the setup of the furniture, but also to the specific needs of the room: grooming appliances, reading lights and charging devices.
The floor outlet is designed for easy access to electrical power, just like any other kind of plug. The difference is that these outlets can be installed anywhere in the floors, depending on the specific needs of any space, hence becoming power sources for devices that need to be further away from the traditional wall sockets. Covers glide over the outlets to protect them while they are not in use and to keep an even floor surface.
All in all, floor outlets are versatile and could be used for all electrical needs. They come with a special design for each type of flooring – wooden, tile or concrete – and diverse boxes – some can even pop up when the outlet is on and then lay down at the floor’s level otherwise.
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