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-   -   Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code? (https://www.diybanter.com/home-repair/402178-electrical-outlets-upside-down-code.html)

DerbyDad03 September 29th 16 05:22 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 12:02:43 PM UTC-4, FromTheRafters wrote:
DerbyDad03 used his keyboard to write :
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:39:29 AM UTC-4, Colonel Edmund J. Burke
wrote:
On 9/28/2016 6:18 PM, TomR wrote:
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 electrical outlets.

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?


This is a question I tackled, successfully, years ago, here at Sunset
Chateau.
The neutral pin on the top is a safety precaution all us expert
electrical types know about and perform on a routine basis. The purpose
of such arrangement is to prevent a short should, for example, someone
drop a metal object on partially exposed pins.


Neutral pin? On the top?

That can only happen if the receptacle is mounted sideways. I'd hardly
consider that to be "routine".


Most of my baseboard (or mopboard?) outlets are sideways. The house was
built in 1910 with that open standoff insulator wiring but has been
rewired since.


Open Standoff --- Knob and Tube

Regardless, sideways receptacles are far from "routine" but bTj
won't admit his error anyway.

Interesting "wiring coincidence" Knob and Tube wiring

The first time I encountered K&T wiring was when I was young kid and saw
it in my Aunt's house. She lived on Narragansett Blvd. A couple of decades
later, this same Aunt gave me some money to use as the down payment on my
first house. 350 miles away and in a different state. This house was wired
with the old-fashioned cloth-covered "romex". The brand name on most of it
was Narragansett.

Spooky!

trader_4 September 29th 16 05:44 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 11:06:35 AM UTC-4, HerHusband wrote:
I think they look stupid when they are upside down (ground on top). I
put them with ground on bottom because thats what I'm used to and what
looks best.


I agree, but I suppose that's due to the way we recognize faces in humans
and most animals. We are accustomed to seeing two eyes on top and a mouth
below. So we tend to see faces even in inanimate objects. When the ground
is placed on top, it just instinctively looks "wrong". At least that's my
theory...


I'd say it has more to do with the fact that almost all the ones I've
seen and used everyday for decades are installed ground pin down.




TimR[_2_] September 29th 16 05:49 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something conductive landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of course it's not that hard to do it however the inspector wants.

One problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter.

European outlets don't have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway such that the tips don't make contact until they're completely inside. Ground is top AND bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a cord with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than dropping a paperclip on it.

FromTheRafters September 29th 16 06:42 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
DerbyDad03 has brought this to us :
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 12:02:43 PM UTC-4, FromTheRafters wrote:
DerbyDad03 used his keyboard to write :
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 7:39:29 AM UTC-4, Colonel Edmund J.
Burke wrote:
On 9/28/2016 6:18 PM, TomR wrote:
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 electrical outlets.

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?


This is a question I tackled, successfully, years ago, here at Sunset
Chateau.
The neutral pin on the top is a safety precaution all us expert
electrical types know about and perform on a routine basis. The purpose
of such arrangement is to prevent a short should, for example, someone
drop a metal object on partially exposed pins.


Neutral pin? On the top?

That can only happen if the receptacle is mounted sideways. I'd hardly
consider that to be "routine".


Most of my baseboard (or mopboard?) outlets are sideways. The house was
built in 1910 with that open standoff insulator wiring but has been
rewired since.


Open Standoff --- Knob and Tube


Yeah, I looked it up to see what the correct terminology was just after
hitting send. I saw that the description used the words 'insulator' and
'standoff' so I figured no harm, no foul.

Regardless, sideways receptacles are far from "routine" but bTj
won't admit his error anyway.


He never does, and he is very often wrong.

Interesting "wiring coincidence" Knob and Tube wiring

The first time I encountered K&T wiring was when I was young kid and saw
it in my Aunt's house. She lived on Narragansett Blvd. A couple of decades
later, this same Aunt gave me some money to use as the down payment on my
first house. 350 miles away and in a different state. This house was wired
with the old-fashioned cloth-covered "romex". The brand name on most of it
was Narragansett.

Spooky!


:)

FromTheRafters September 29th 16 06:47 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
TimR formulated the question :
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something conductive
landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of course it's not
that hard to do it however the inspector wants.

One problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter.

European outlets don't have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway
such that the tips don't make contact until they're completely inside.
Ground is top AND bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a cord
with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than dropping a
paperclip on it.


Oh yeah, that one too, but not just for children. The idea that the
thumb on top might contact the hot blade when plugging or unplugging.

Many possible reasons, but none compelling enough for NEC to mandate.

[email protected] September 29th 16 06:56 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
On Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:47:40 -0400, FromTheRafters
wrote:

TimR formulated the question :
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something conductive
landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of course it's not
that hard to do it however the inspector wants.

One problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter.

European outlets don't have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway
such that the tips don't make contact until they're completely inside.
Ground is top AND bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a cord
with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than dropping a
paperclip on it.


Oh yeah, that one too, but not just for children. The idea that the
thumb on top might contact the hot blade when plugging or unplugging.

Many possible reasons, but none compelling enough for NEC to mandate.


New Zealand may have a better idea on plugs and receptacles
The plugs have handles on them and the receptacle has a switch so you
can plug things in and turn them on after they are plugged in.
The switch is upside down by our standard tho.

http://gfretwell.com/ftp/New%20Zeala...plug%20cap.jpg

FromTheRafters September 29th 16 07:15 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
on 9/29/2016, supposed :
On Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:47:40 -0400, FromTheRafters
wrote:

TimR formulated the question :
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something conductive
landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of course it's not
that hard to do it however the inspector wants.

One problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter.

European outlets don't have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway
such that the tips don't make contact until they're completely inside.
Ground is top AND bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a
cord with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than
dropping a paperclip on it.


Oh yeah, that one too, but not just for children. The idea that the
thumb on top might contact the hot blade when plugging or unplugging.

Many possible reasons, but none compelling enough for NEC to mandate.


New Zealand may have a better idea on plugs and receptacles
The plugs have handles on them and the receptacle has a switch so you
can plug things in and turn them on after they are plugged in.
The switch is upside down by our standard tho.

http://gfretwell.com/ftp/New%20Zeala...plug%20cap.jpg

That looks like a good idea to me. I wonder what the downsides are if
any.

Mark Lloyd[_12_] September 29th 16 07:33 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
On 09/28/2016 11:44 PM, wrote:

[snip]

I think they look stupid when they are upside down (ground on top). I
put them with ground on bottom because thats what I'm used to and what
looks best.


"looks stupid" and "looks best" is probably only what you're used to. If
they were usually ground up, it would be different.

I dont make a habit of dropping paper clips on plugs,


I don't either. That doesn't mean it can't happen. Here, I think it more
likely to be a small wire (twister) than a paper clip.

and
actually if a metal object was to fall on a loose plug, it could contact
the ground as well as the hot terminal too (with the ground on top).


More likely to trip the breaker than be a shock hazard.

[snip]

--
87 days until the winter celebration (Sunday December 25, 2016 12:00:00
AM for 1 day).

Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us/

On the sixth day God created man On the seventh day, man returned the
favor.

tony944 September 29th 16 07:37 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 


"FromTheRafters" wrote in message
...

on 9/29/2016, supposed :
On Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:47:40 -0400, FromTheRafters
wrote:

TimR formulated the question :
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something
conductive landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of
course it's not that hard to do it however the inspector wants. One
problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter. European outlets don't
have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway such that the tips
don't make contact until they're completely inside. Ground is top AND
bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a
cord with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than
dropping a paperclip on it.


Oh yeah, that one too, but not just for children. The idea that the thumb
on top might contact the hot blade when plugging or unplugging.

Many possible reasons, but none compelling enough for NEC to mandate.


New Zealand may have a better idea on plugs and receptacles
The plugs have handles on them and the receptacle has a switch so you
can plug things in and turn them on after they are plugged in.
The switch is upside down by our standard tho.

http://gfretwell.com/ftp/New%20Zeala...plug%20cap.jpg

That looks like a good idea to me. I wonder what the downsides are if
any.

Yes it is nice but that cost triple what cost in USA and on top of that you
are using 220 instead of 115, 115 makes little more convenience.


DerbyDad03 September 29th 16 07:37 PM

Electrical Outlets Upside Down? Code?
 
On Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 2:15:46 PM UTC-4, FromTheRafters wrote:
on 9/29/2016, supposed :
On Thu, 29 Sep 2016 13:47:40 -0400, FromTheRafters
wrote:

TimR formulated the question :
It has never made sense to me that the probability of something conductive
landing on the blades was high enough to be detectable. Of course it's not
that hard to do it however the inspector wants.

One problem with that is reading a KilloWatt meter.

European outlets don't have that problem. The pins are insulated halfway
such that the tips don't make contact until they're completely inside.
Ground is top AND bottom IIRC, and pins side by side.

I think the real issue, not yet mentioned, is that a child can plug in a
cord with his/her fingers on the blade. That is FAR more likely than
dropping a paperclip on it.

Oh yeah, that one too, but not just for children. The idea that the
thumb on top might contact the hot blade when plugging or unplugging.

Many possible reasons, but none compelling enough for NEC to mandate.


New Zealand may have a better idea on plugs and receptacles
The plugs have handles on them and the receptacle has a switch so you
can plug things in and turn them on after they are plugged in.
The switch is upside down by our standard tho.

http://gfretwell.com/ftp/New%20Zeala...plug%20cap.jpg

That looks like a good idea to me. I wonder what the downsides are if
any.


A switch that gets bumped to Off on a receptacle that should always be On.

"Grandpa's Iron Lung sure is quiet today."


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