Wiring Device Innovations – Installation and More

Innovations in wiring devices have simplified installation without 
compromising device integrity. Other modernizations have brought wiring 
devices into the 21st century.<br><br>Device assemblies allow electricians to install multiple devices as a unit, eliminating the need for field assembly. Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems

Steve Maurer, IME

Innovations in wiring devices have simplified installation without compromising device integrity. Other modernizations have brought wiring devices into the 21st century.

Device assemblies allow electricians to install multiple devices as a unit, eliminating the need for field assembly.

There are even device configurations to assist in making difficult adjustments on new building installations. In this article, we'll look at a few of these devices.

Countertops and islands in kitchens and bathrooms can always use a little extra power. Most of the time, this was supplied by a wall outlet, or receptacles mounted to the sides of the cabinet.

New devices can be installed safely on the top of the counter. With tamper- and water-resistant shutters, they can withstand the normal spills that inevitably happen.

The receptacles sit in a retractable column above the countertop surface that can be pressed down when not in use. I watched a video where a half-gallon pitcher of water was dumped on a counter, engulfing the receptacle. Very cool.

Computer tech has also invaded the receptacle realm. You can now install receptacles with built-in USB port to charge smartphones and tablets. Because they supply a more consistent and higher amperage charge, your devices charge much faster. Receptacle cover plates are available to retrofit existing devices.

USB charging receptacles are available in residential, hospital and commercial grades. Add value to your next job by suggesting them.

I love LEDs; that's no secret. LED nightlights are now available in decorator switches, receptacles, and as pre-wired, standalone nightlights. Now, you can light up the night with minimal energy draw.

Ease of installation on rough-ins is always a plus. Prefabricated assemblies fit the bill here. With universal mounting brackets, attached device boxes and MC-A or MC cable pigtails of specified length, rough-ins take a fraction of the time. Devices such as switches and receptacle can be pre-installed. It's not quite plug and play... but, pretty close!

Finally, how about wireless occupancy sensors? While you still need to run facility power to them, wireless technology eliminates the need to run low-voltage signal wires to control boxes that operate lighting and power.

Things sure have changed since I pulled my first wire. Taking advantage of recent technology and innovations in wiring devices helps today's electrician increase productivity and efficiency. And, lower operating costs as well.


Photo courtesy of Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems