I just wrapped up a meeting with our representatives from Triplett, a test equipment manufacturing company that’s been in business since 1904. They’re known for offering a huge variety of electrical and cable testers, and while many of them are made for professional technicians, I was reminded of one of their simplest products, which also happens to be my favorite (and yes, I do own one). Ever heard of the Sniff-It voltage detector? It’s a little device that can check for the presence of AC voltage without ever having to actually make contact with the outlet you’re testing.
About a year and a half ago, my parents purchased and remodeled an older home, which at the time had several power outlets that were “fidgety” at best. That is to say, the receptacle wiring was somewhat suspect. We had to make a few updates, as well as replace wallplates throughout the entire house. Being one of those “better-safe-than-sorry” types, I decided it would be more than worth it to buy a Sniff-It, because I was a little uneasy about the boys (my husband, brother, and Dad) operating on bravery alone.
The tester really couldn’t be simpler to use – the only button on it is the on/off switch. Just slide the switch to “on,” watch and listen for the quick light flash and audible chirp that let you know that things are up and running, and then you’re ready to sniff out some voltage. Just hold the Sniff-It close to the outlet or wiring in question; if tester stays quiet and no lights blink, you’ve got the all-clear to start work, but if it starts blinking and chirping, you know that the circuitry or components are still electrified.
As you can probably tell, I’m already a big fan of the product, but I still learned something new about it today. As it turns out, the Sniff-It is now a standard-issue tool for all field technicians of a well-known security company. Several years ago, one of this company’s technicians was tragically and fatally electrocuted when attempting to move a manhole cover that was, by some fluke, in contact with live underground circuitry. It was one of those things that you’d never in a million years expect to happen, but this poor guy, who was just doing his job, ended up losing his life because the pre-existing conditions at the jobsite were far different than what could be expected, or what actually met the eye. The company has now taken the extra life-saving step of providing all of their techs with Sniff-Its, because this little tester actually has the ability to save lives.