Does Your Business Need Explosion-Proof Outlets?

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About Explosion-Proof Outlets

If your business deals with hazardous materials, you probably already use explosion-proof power supplies. These fixtures and outlets allow you to get light and power while keeping flammable dust, vapors, and gases from igniting.

What Is an Explosion-Proof Outlet?

When you work with electricity, many things are potential hazards. One of them is when arcs shoot out of outlets. These arcs are actually sparks of an electrical fire. If an arc occurs in a room filled with hazardous gases or volatile particles, the result could be an explosion.

Normally, you wouldn’t work with electricity in a room full of hazardous gas, but in some businesses, you don’t have a choice. If your commercial building deals with any type of hazardous material, explosion-proof wiring is a smart choice.

Safety Standards

According to the National Electric Code (NEC), explosion-proof equipment should be “enclosed in a case that is capable of withstanding an explosion of a specified gas or vapor.” This case must also prevent “the ignition of a specified gas or vapor surrounding the enclosure by sparks, flashes or explosion of the gas.”

To be rated explosion-proof, the outlet must be rated by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) for safety.

How Does an Explosion-Proof Outlet Work?

Have you ever seen arcs in an electrical outlet? Normally, they don’t immediately catch fire when they escape from the outlet into a room. If they were in a room full of methane or propane, however, they might.

Being explosion-proof doesn’t mean the outlet will survive an explosion. It just means that the unit will contain sparks or arcs so they can’t ignite the gases. It keeps the sparks inside the outlet.

An explosion-proof outlet is rated for the same amps and wattage as a regular outlet. In most cases, you will combine it with explosion-proof plugs and other equipment that is also NEMA rated. All wiring must go through a protective conduit and be labeled as hazardous.

When Do You Need an Explosion-Proof Outlet?

Explosion-proof outlets are mostly used by our commercial and industrial customers. They allow these businesses to get power to a room or building that is combustible or otherwise hazardous.

They are ideal for industrial operations, manufacturing plants, oil refineries, chemical processing plants, mining operations, gasoline distribution companies, construction sites, warehouses, and other hazardous locations.

You may also need them if you’re working in a confined space that lacks good ventilation. A tight, enclosed space is more likely to have buildups of dangerous gases and fumes.

What Does an Explosion-Proof Outlet Look Like?

It looks quite different from a regular receptacle. The main difference is the large, heavy protective cover that houses it. Instead of being flush to the wall, the prong openings are housed in a protective sheath.

The outlet may be made from a special material, usually copper-free aluminum coated in a special epoxy finish.

Does Your Business Need Special Safety Equipment?

If your industrial or commercial property deals with hazardous materials, you may need specially rated equipment to keep it safe. Talk to SESCOS. We can assess your electrical needs and recommend any needed safety upgrades. Call us today to get started.

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