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Have you ever noticed those orange electrical outlets in hospitals and office buildings and wondered, what’s up with that? Last month we told you the reasoning behind outlets that have little orange triangles on them. In this post we’ll explain everything you need to know about these efficient and economical little tools. Spoiler: Both types of outlets serve the same purpose.

The Function of Orange Outlets

Orange electrical outlets, red,grey and yellow wires
Electrical equipment laying on a series of electrical plans.

Better known in the electrical industry as isolated ground receptacles (IGRs), those orange outlets you see are used to protect sensitive electronic equipment from operational degradation, disruption, and damage from “electronic noise” or static that typically occurs with conventionally grounded receptacles.

IGRs are most commonly found in hospitals, clinics, and other types of medical facilities, but you’ll also see them in commercial buildings and industrial settings. These unique outlets are rarely found in residential homes, but some people do install them to lessen interference with audio, video, and computer equipment.

What Makes Orange Electrical Outlets Different

As the name suggests, the difference between conventional receptacles and IGRs is in the grounding.

  • Conventional receptacles are grounded to a building’s grounding system at the receptacle. The receptacle’s grounding contacts are connected to the box it’s mounted in, the fittings, conduit, and all other building ground system components.
  • An IGR’s grounding contacts, on the other hand, are bonded directly to the service entrance grounding system which results in the protection of equipment that draws power from the isolated ground device.

Section 250.146 of the NEC Code has detailed instructions for installing IGRs and they must be strictly adhered to for safe an proper installation of IGRs. Hiring an experienced commercial electrician to install IGRs is always a smart move.

Grounding is necessary for the protection of all a building’s networked systems. AC power, telecommunications, computers, security systems, life safety equipment, video equipment, and satellite systems all rely on grounding for operation. The devices used to protect these systems such as voltage regulators, power conditioners, and surge protectors can also be rendered ineffective if grounding is done incorrectly.

Most modern homes don’t require IGRs because today a nonmetallic cable known as Romex is used with plastic electrical boxes to reduce noise. If you have an older home, you can have a dedicated circuit installed that runs wire to an outlet that services only one piece of equipment or appliance. Power strips dedicated to computer equipment and peripherals is usually sufficient for residential purposes.

Electrical Outlet Installations in Santa Rosa

For more than 25 years, Spyrka Electric has been meeting the commercial and residential electrical needs of customers throughout Sonoma and Marin Counties. Our commercial electricians are trained and licensed to perform all types of wiring and electrical systems work in commercial buildings, including the installation of orange electrical outlets.

Whether you need security lighting installations, networking wiring, or electrical system upgrades and replacements, our highly skilled professional electricians have the knowledge and know-how to get the job done right.

To learn more about orange electrical outlets or to talk to us about our on-call commercial electrical services, contact us today by email, phone, or online so we can go over all your options and get to work performing the commercial electrical installation and repair services that ensure your business operates efficiently and cost-effectively.

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