Elect outlets; ground prong top or bottom ?
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Thread: Elect outlets; ground prong top or bottom ?

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    Will's Avatar
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    Elect outlets; ground prong top or bottom ?

    It's a mix around here. I can see arguments for both ways.

    Whats code ?

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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    Pete may know the "code" but 'round here its mostly down. Just looks funny any other way also IMO.
    Kenny

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    eepete's Avatar
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    I don't think the code specifies which way is up (and I'm referring outlets, not the code in a general sense ). I'll toss out a "this is electricity not electronics" caveat here though.

    Now I have heard that when the 3 prong grounded outlet was introduced, the intention was that the ground pin be up. That way, some wire sliding down the wall would hit ground and not hot. But there was an uproar because the "little face was upside down", and so now the default is outlets all in their places with bright shinny faces and the ground prong down.

    I have some LED night lights, and they are designed so that the ground is down. Gratuitous night light photo posted to make Randy happy (he likes pictures). You can see where the LEDs are in the top, and they sorta point down. Side note: I've got about 20 of these, and a 3.5 years of operation 3 are dim enough they need replacing. LEDs only have 100,000 hour life if they are properly heat sunk.

    In my house, I put the ground down so I wouldn't have to explain to everyone why it's up.

    Pete
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    Uncle Wayne's Avatar
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    I was doing electrical construction work when the ground was added to the receptacle or at least when it gained wide spread usage. The debate started immediately. Electrical Construction and Maintenance, a trade magazine, did a series of test to determine which position was better, up or down. The article concluded, by a miniscule amount, that if there was a better way, it was ground up.

    Back then, all ground fault receptacles were labeled on the device in such a way that it had to mounted ground up or the writing (Test and Reset) on the receptacle would have been upside down. That's not the case anymore.

    The vast majority are mounted ground down.
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    When we bought our house, we had an electrician inspect the service box and he stated it was code here for the ground to be up. I had never seen it before this house! They are still up after I changed all the outlets and switches. Do what you want or like.

    Edit: On my new GFI outlet in the bathroom, it is labeled both ways.

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    has15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eepete View Post
    I don't think the code specifies which way is up (and I'm referring outlets, not the code in a general sense ). I'll toss out a "this is electricity not electronics" caveat here though.

    Now I have heard that when the 3 prong grounded outlet was introduced, the intention was that the ground pin be up. That way, some wire sliding down the wall would hit ground and not hot. But there was an uproar because the "little face was upside down", and so now the default is outlets all in their places with bright shinny faces and the ground prong down.

    I have some LED night lights, and they are designed so that the ground is down. Gratuitous night light photo posted to make Randy happy (he likes pictures). You can see where the LEDs are in the top, and they sorta point down. Side note: I've got about 20 of these, and a 3.5 years of operation 3 are dim enough they need replacing. LEDs only have 100,000 hour life if they are properly heat sunk.

    In my house, I put the ground down so I wouldn't have to explain to everyone why it's up.

    Pete
    I to had herd the same thing as Pete about a wire or unintended object making contact with hot side of a outlet, Also every mobile home I have been in though it has been a long time, come prewired ground up.
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    My .00002 cents worth, I think they look dumb with the ground up. All of the outlets I've recently installed had the writing on them as to have the ground down. As to the theory about something (wire etc.) falling on an outlet that would have caused a short, when was the last time you've seen that? For me, never. All of the outlets in my home are installed "upside down". As I get around to it, I flip them over, but who really cares? I guess I do But it's just a personal preference, not something carved in stone. To each their own
    Last edited by dieselshadow; 01-22-2012 at 11:09 PM.
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    Around here the custom is ground is down, except on switched outlets where the ground is up to indicate which receptacle is switched.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Here is a link to the Mike Holt NEC (National Electric Code) website with discussion on the installation of 15 or 20 ampere, 125 volt receptacles and comments from guys in the industry. Interesting discussions - I think consistency and installation in workman like manner are keys....

    http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.ph...n?%20(9-23-99)

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Interesting read. I guess it doesn't really matter. Go with what you like
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