Cool Tools: A Common-Sense Feature Most Homes Are Missing
Keeping your family safe in the dark can be as simple as installing a new outlet cover.
If you’ve ever stubbed a toe, stepped on a LEGO®, or bumped a shin making your way across a room in the dark, you know how challenging it can be to get around when you can’t see where you’re going. If you’re like many homeowners, you probably have a few nightlights strategically placed around your home so family members can see well enough to get to a light switch if they need to get up at night. Nightlights are great—until the power goes out—and then they’re as useless as lamps and overhead light fixtures because they require electricity to operate.
A home that’s perfectly safe in the light of day becomes a dangerous gauntlet in pitch blackness, increasing the risk of injury from accidents or falls. An innovative little outlet cover, briteOWL®, is changing all that by providing illumination even when the power is out. Ahead, learn more about this new safety device, and find out how it can help make your home a safer place.
Being able to see the floor at night is essential no matter your age, but for the elderly and for those who suffer from mobility issues, it’s even more critical because getting around is already challenging for them. To reduce that risk, they must be able to see clearly when the power is on, but especially when it goes out. Most of us take the electricity in our homes for granted, but numerous factors can lead to power outages, including:
- An overloaded circuit: Something as simple as having too many appliances plugged in simultaneously can trip a circuit breaker, leaving your room in total darkness and sending you stumbling about to find a flashlight so you can check the breaker box.
- Storms: Perhaps the number one cause of power outages, storms wreak havoc on power lines—transformers are magnets for lightning strikes, and the combination of high winds and ice is a recipe for disaster. Floods and tornadoes are also culprits in power outages, leaving entire neighborhoods in the dark.
- Line damage: A tree branch that falls and takes down a power line or rodents who make their way into electrical junction boxes are additional causes of power outages that are difficult, if not impossible, to foresee.
- House fire: On some occasions, firefighters have to cut the power to the house when they arrive on the scene, which makes a scary situation even more intense.
No matter what triggers a power outage, it just makes sense to take steps before it happens to ensure that your family can move about safely until you find another source of light, and that’s where briteOWL® shines.
How It Works
At first glance, briteOWL® looks a whole lot like a traditional outlet cover—but in the bottom corner, it features a light-sensitive photocell that detects when the room gets dark and automatically turns on three powerful LED downlights located at the bottom of the cover. The downlights turn on every evening when it gets dark to safely illuminate hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms. In the event of a power outage, briteOWL® continues to shine—up to 90 minutes—giving you enough time to find a flashlight or safely get your family outside if it’s an emergency, such as a fire.
Inside the briteOWL® cover is a rechargeable battery that draws electricity from the outlet, and if the electricity goes out, the battery powers the LED lights. The briteOWL® outlet cover will not change the outlet’s functionality; you can still plug in a lamp, a vacuum, or other household appliances as you always have.
Angle and Coverage
The LED lights on the briteOWL® cast a beam of light on the floor at a 25-degree angle from the bottom of the outlet cover. This is only the direct beam; however, residual illuminance radiates outward along the floor on a broader scope, creating a larger walking path. For example, a standard lower-wall outlet is typically located 14 to 20 inches above the floor, so the direct beam cast by the briteOWL® would range from about 8 to 11 inches away from the wall. However, the residual scattered light would offer enough illumination to safely light an entire hallway or large portion of a room. The lighting effect will be even more widespread if the outlet cover is on a bathroom or kitchen wall where outlet location is higher, 36 to 42 inches above the floor, because the beam angle will illuminate a wider area.
Nothing could be simpler to install—the only tool you’ll need is a small flat-head screwdriver. Remove the screw holding the existing outlet cover in place, position the briteOWL® cover over the electrical sockets, and then insert the screw to snug the cover against the sockets. No wiring or special tools are necessary. The backside of the briteOWL® features two clips that make contact with the positive and neutral contact points on the electrical socket itself to keep the LED lights charged.
Keeping your family safe in the dark is the whole purpose behind briteOWL®. If you never lose power, the outlet cover will still provide floor illumination at night for visiting the restroom or retrieving a midnight snack. However, with briteOWL® on the job, you can sleep restfully, knowing your family will always be able to get around or get out of the house if an outage does strike.
This content is paid advertising created in partnership with briteOWL®. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.