Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
A friend of mine asked me today why the electrical outlets in my
house were "upside down". They are positioned with the ground pin
hole at the top and the two slots of the outlet on the bottom. I
agree that, to me, they "look" like they are upside down, and I think
they would "look" better with the ground pin hole on the bottom. But, my
belief is that the National Electrical Code (NEC) is silent
on this question and that there is no right or wrong orientation for
My friend said that he has had code enforcement officials tell him
that electrical outlets with the ground pin hole on top were "upside
down" and that they needed to be reversed to be with the ground pin
on the bottom to pass the electrical inspection.
Is there anything in the NEC that says that one way is "upside down"
and the other way is the "correct" orientation?
Thanks all for the replies. Looks like the answer is that there is no
national code (in the U.S.A.) that requires outlets to be oriented in any
One thing that I also noticed in recent years is that there does not seem to
be any one standard way that the 3 prongs on 3-prong plugs are oriented --
including the flush mount type plugs that allow the wire to be parallel to
the wall with the plug plugged in. With those types of plugs, I would like
to be able to orient the outlet so that the plug wire can come up from the
floor or down from the appliance (such as a window A/C) and plug in
correctly. I am probably not describing or explaining this too well.
And, I sometimes thought it would be interesting if all outlets were
designed so that there would be not "up" or "down" position. For example,
if all duplex outlets had the ground pin of each outlet on each end and the
other two prongs in the center, then there would be no "up" or "down"
orientation -- the outlet would look the same regardless of which way it was
installed. But, there would be problems with that idea because that would
result it the hot side screw of one outlet being on the same side as the
neutral side screw of the other outlet in the duplex.