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Poll: Are You a Real Techie?

Easier Electrical Outlets

Who says you have to bend over every time we plug in an appliance or lamp? Here's what to tell your electrician.

Whose idea was it to put electric outlets down by the floor? Sure, these outlets are out of sight. But they are also out of reach for everyone but toddlers. (And we try our hardest to keep them away from the outlets.)

Think about it. When you plug or unplug the vacuum cleaner, you have to bend down almost to the floor. The same is true when you unplug the iron. Want to unplug that lamp? You guessed it. You have to bend. That's not easy for any of us. It's especially hard for people with back pain or problems with balance.

Maybe you don't feel pain when you stoop to unplug an appliance. But admit it. It can be a real bother, can't it? Have you ever crawled under your desk to unplug your computer? Or squeezed behind your bookcase to unplug a lamp? Then you know that there's got to be a better way.

There is a better way. It's not hard to do. It doesn't even cost much money. You just have to move your electric outlets about 18 to 24 inches off the floor. Your back would feel even better if those outlets were between 30 and 44 inches from the floor. And they'd be out of reach of the toddler.

A To-Do List for Your Electrician


Call an electrician. Ask him or her to move some of your outlets. You don't have to move them all. Use your lower outlets for lamps and other appliances that you don't unplug very often.

While the electrician is at your home, ask him or her to do these other jobs:

  Install more outlets in each room. Chances are you don't have enough outlets. Your appliances should never be more than 6 inches from an outlet. Try not to use extension cords. They can cause fires if you don't use them right. They are also very easy to trip over.

  Connect at least one outlet in each room to a rocker switch on the wall. Plug a lamp into that outlet. Hit this switch and you'll be able to turn on a lamp before you walk into a room. You won't have to fumble in the dark looking for the lamp switch.

  Put electric outlets on light-switch plates near the door to each room. These outlets will be easy to reach. You can use them to plug in your vacuum cleaner or iron.

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