turning a three pronged outlet upside down

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Old 08-17-19, 06:07 PM
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Question turning a three pronged outlet upside down

I have a house built inthe '50s. The owner/buider put the electrical outlets in upside down. Of course, the weren't upside down in the '50s, but today we have flat plugs that were designed to have the wire go down. Now if I use a 3 pronged flat plug, the wire goes up instead of down which results in the wire twisting and bending.

There are only a few places where this matters. Do I really have to call in an electrician to turn the outlets right side up? Cannot I turn off the circuit breaker, then take off the cover of the receptacle, make a drawing of what wire goes where, label the wires as I disconnect them, turn the outlet right side up and reattach the wires according to the diagram and the labels?

Or is it more complicated?

Thanks,
Barbara
 
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Old 08-17-19, 06:22 PM
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Youa re making it more complicated than it is.

Turn off breaker.
Remove receptacle.
Twist half turn.
Re-install.
No need to remove any wires.
 
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Old 08-17-19, 06:57 PM
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Smile

thanks! that's nice and easy
 
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Old 08-18-19, 04:11 AM
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If the receptacles are using the stab connectors then please do remove wires and use the screw connections. Black to gold and white to silver.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 04:58 AM
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And just to be clear, yes, they are upside down for the type of plug some of your devices use, but they are not otherwise upside down. Although ground down seems the preferred method, either way is acceptable in residential applications. So you don't necessarily need to change all of them, just the affected ones.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 05:18 AM
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Some so called expert once told me that the ground prong goes up because if the wall collapses or something in the wall falls on top of the wire, the ground will be hit first and trip the circuit.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 05:57 AM
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It is for if something metal outside the wall should fall and get between the plug and the receptacle if there was a gap between the latter two, and then the ground pin would be hit first and trip the circuit if the hot pin were also hit.

Like a knife or coat hanger or piece of foil or screwdriver falling behind a sofa or desk or bed or microwave oven or refrigerator

No doubt you have had things all carefully strategically placed and occupying every square inch of your desktop or on the microwave rather than stashed in overflowing drawers and you needed to make room for another frequently used item and yet another something tumbled off the back.

Note: The act of pulling out the receptacle and turning it 180 degrees might cause backstabbed (push in and it sticks) wire connections to become loose.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 06:04 AM
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It is one theory that doesn't hold water if you think about it.
The circuit will trip just as fast if the metal hits hot and neutral pins which is more likely. With the ground up it very likely the metal could just hang on the ground and not short anything.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 06:32 AM
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The only reason I've heard that makes sense is if you grab the plug while it's partially engaged you are less likely to get shocked putting your thumb on the ground versus the hot and ground.

IMO the biggest thing is consistency, I have them installed both ways in my house one of these days I'll take the time to make them all the same.
 
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Old 08-18-19, 08:41 AM
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I put in decorator style last house, ground up. They were ok, but there were several flat plugs that will head the cord up. Like back of the refrigerator.
Also, the most fragile part of the recept seems to be the thin piece of plastic near the ground pin. That will crack off if someone pulls the cord up too much on disconnect. More likely to pull up than to pull down on a low mounted recept.
On my new house now, i am going ground down, but there are no very compelling cases either way.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by octave
have a house built inthe '50s. The owner/buider put the electrical outlets in upside down.
I have a 1700s stone farmouse retrofitted in the 1940s.
The outlets are located in the baseboard and they are all oriented sideways.

So, to avoid the problem, mount the electrical outlets sidways.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 12:12 PM
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Hal,

That's a great idea but unfortunately it just doesn't look right. The conventional direction is vertical. Even sideways those flat plus will still have strain pulling down on them. But I like the way you think.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 12:15 PM
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As far as electrical code goes, there is only one restricted orientation: a receptacle cannot be installed face-up (such as flat in a kitchen countertop or floor) unless it is contained in a box or enclosure specifically listed for the purpose.

Other than that, any way you want to put the receptacle is just preference or convenience.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 01:13 PM
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I have a 1700s stone farmouse retrofitted in the 1940s.
The outlets are located in the baseboard and they are all oriented sideways
I've always liked that look. I've painted both new and old houses that were wired that way. BUT as neat as it might look, I'm sure receptacles that are about 1' up the wall are a lot handier.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Norm201

The conventional direction is vertical.
(grin) ah, yes, "vertical"
A concept that does not apply to an old farmhouse,


along with "plumb" or "square" or "level"...
 
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