Among the very first questions many people might have when considering electrical outlet installation is which way is up. While it’s a topic electricians tend to disagree on, it really does not matter. Whether the ground hole is up or down, the end result is the same. That is assuming the job was done right and was wired properly.
The NEC allows electrical outlet installation to be performed with the ground plug hole facing up, down or sideways. It’s up to you, there is no standard electrical outlet installation orientation. So, there aren’t truly any upside-down outlets in the world. Whether a plug is facing up or down on an outlet, it’s just as safe. The main thing to make certain of is that the outlet was installed the right way and is properly wired.
Learn Electrical Code Restrictions and Rules
The primary codes you’ll need to know are the ones detailing where you can install your power outlets. You might want to think about using The National Electrical Code from the National Fire Protection Association before starting any electrical home improvements. The NEC informs you how to safely execute your own residential electrical wiring.
Here we have highlighted a few of the code’s requirements for electrical outlet installation in general rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens:
- Electrical outlets should be positioned every 12 feet.
- Any wall space more than 24 inches wide can accommodate an outlet.
- Hallways longer than 10 feet need to have at least one electrical outlet.
- Use 15 amp circuits for general rooms.
- You can only install GFCI (ground fault current interrupter) outlets. There need to be an outlet within 3 feet of the outside edge of the sink basin.
- There can be no outlets facing up on counter tops.
- Outlets need to be on a separate branch circuit of at least 20 amps. The main reason is that they are usually powering high-wattage devices like hair dryers.
- All countertop outlets in kitchens need to be GFCIs.
- No receptacles can be installed more than 20 inches above the surface of a countertop or sink. Nevertheless, there are exceptions. For instance, if you are physically handicapped or if your kitchen has islands or peninsulas where this isn’t possible.
- Electrical outlets above all counter tops 12 inches or wider.
- No face-up outlets allowed.
- At least one outlet is required for an island or peninsula.
- There needs to be at least two branch circuits that must supply the countertop outlets.
How to Install Electrical Outlets
The electrical outlet is an essential part of your home’s electrical wiring system. Outlets provide electricity to run home appliances, lighting and other devices throughout the house.
Here are the steps involved in installing electrical outlets:
- Locate your home’s main service panel.
- Turn off the power to the main panel and test the outlet.
- Prepare all cables.
- Strip all wires.
- Go ahead and attach pigtail wires to circuit wires.
- Connect the ground wire to the receptacle.
- Attach the neutral and hot wires to the receptacle.
- Attach the receptacle to the box.
- Lastly, attach the cover plate.
Is An Outlet Required Near The Electrical Panel
While the NEC doesn’t specifically require a power outlet or switched light to be installed by the electrical panel, it is an excellent idea to install one. The electrical panel requires a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This is because of the location, not because it has a power source. While GFCIs are needed at sinks and on exterior walls, they are not required in bathrooms due to the location.
In addition to the safety advantages of having a GFCI protection near the panel, it’s nice to have those extra outlets. A switched light allows you to manage when lights are on and off. This can be helpful if you have kids or pets that might be prone to sticking their fingers into outlets. It also takes some of the load off of switches in other rooms.
When Should You Hire an Electrician
Do you really need an electrical expert for electrical outlet installation? Technically, no. Some jobs, such as changing your outlet cover plates with childproof ones or even simply upgrading from standard outlets to ones with USB ports, can be simple to do on your own.
But if you have actually never done electrical work, it’s always best to employ an electrician. They can finish any electrical work in your house. This is the best way to be sure that all local codes are followed and the job is done properly.
Electrical Outlet Installation in Broken Arrow, OK
If you’re like most house owners, you’ve noticed something missing in your home: electrical outlets. It can be frustrating running an extension cord across the house just to plug in your vacuum cleaner. It’s probably safe to say you wished you had more outlets when this happens.
When you’re ready to upgrade or install new electrical outlets in Broken Arrow, contact Murray Electric & Plumbing. Our professional and experienced staff is ready to assist with any electrical needs you may have.