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  • New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

    I purchased my home in May, 2012, and had a full inspection done. The inspector seemed very thorough, pointing out things to fix now, things to fix in time, and things that weren't worth worrying about. A few outdoor electrical outlets were not GFCI Outlets, and so the homeowner updated those before we moved in. The house was built in the early 70's.

    Recently a friend of mine taught me how to change the outlet. I had painted from room from brown to white and the yellow outlets did not look good. I say this to make clear: I have a basic understanding of how electrical wiring works, and how to change an outlet (as well as a light switch and a phone jack!).

    All of this to say, I was in my kitchen and looked at the two plugs and noticed three things things:

    1. There are two plugs, one on either side of my kitchen sink, both less than a foot from my sink. Per my habit of watching HGTV I thought plugs needed to be further away from water sources. I live in VA.

    2. The plug on the right is a GFCI outlet, but it is upside down. My friend mentioned that this means it is connected to a light switch - but it's not. After lots of lights flashing, it definitely is not. Could I turn it right side up?

    3. The plug on the left is a regular ol' outlet. 12 inches from my sink, and not a GFCI. Should I change it to a CFGI?

    I mentioned the inspector - none of these things were mentioned in my inspection, so I don't know if these are issues. I've read that you only need one GFCI/circuit, but I don't know if that's true or just internet hearsay.

    PS: while listing my problems: I also read online that bathrooms should be on their own... switch things... but half of the plugs in my bedroom are on the same one as my bathroom. Is this an issue?


    I'm not sure what to do. Any thoughts/ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, and sorry if this is not a good place to be asking these questions - if that is the case can you point me to a better website/forum to ask?

  • #2
    Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

    Receptacles close to a kitchen sink like yours need to be GFCI protected. If yours are wired correctly the GFCI near your sink is protecting the one downstream on the other side of the sink. You can check this by hitting the "Test" button on the GFCI and plugging a lamp or a radio into the other one if you don't have a volt meter. If by upside down you mean the round ground hole is facing up on the GFCI, that is the way they are currently installed (as are regular receptacles) and may have been added after the house was built. Leave it as it was installed.
    Bathrooms should be on their own circuit according to the current NEC code but your house was built in the '70's and conformed to an earlier version of the NEC code.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

      Ground side up or ground side down regarding a receptacle is an interesting topic.

      Personally I prefer the ground side up mounting style for the following reasons:

      1. if you have a metal cover plate and if it should fall it will hit the ground lug and no problem!
      2. if the ground is on the bottom and the metal cover plate falls it crosses the hot and neutral..this is ugly!
      3. less stress on the ground when inserting and removing the plug.
      4. less chance of any type of dangerous interaction between the hot and neutral.


      I may be obsessive here but I also try to line up the cover screws in the same direction. I like them in a
      vertical position.

      I'm not familiar with the 2012 NEC regarding installing receptacles but I do remember arguing with the
      hospital electrician regarding ground up or ground down. We also had discussions regarding horizontal
      mounting..ground left or ground right [neutral up or neutral down].

      Most multi-outlet power strips seem to be designed for mounting with the ground facing the bottom
      and the hot side is up! The on/off switch is on the left side etc.

      Cactus Man

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

        My cover screws are always oriented vertically. It keeps the dust out.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

          The NEC does not have any requirement for the orientation of a ground terminal.
          Device manufactures do not have the requirement either.

          I would just make sure they are all facing the same way, so it don't look retarded.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

            Originally posted by killavolt View Post
            My cover screws are always oriented vertically. It keeps the dust out.
            Good call. That's a nasty job going around and cleaning the debris out of those cover screws, expecially on light switch covers as there are two screws.

            But you are cutting yourself out of a lot of good work by orienting the screws vertically. Plus those jobs are good to get your foot in the door so you can spy whatever other violations may exist that need correction.
            "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
            John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

              Those cords with right angle plugs are the biggest problem when
              it comes to orientation of the ground lug on receptacles.

              If the ground is on top then the cord travels up then has to bend over
              back toward the floor which creates a stress point in the cord next to the
              plug which could lead to early failure which would seem more likely than
              a paper clip finding its way behind a partially inserted plug or a loose
              screw on the cover plate. Except for industrial or commercial installations
              what percentage of covers are metal? I know I have all metal cover on
              switches and receptacles in my shop and garage but other than that the
              remiander are the newer break resistant nylon or the old style stiff plastic
              which crack easily if you overtighten the screw. Which leads to another point,
              aligning the screw slots one way or the other could mean that you don't tighten
              the screw that last quarter turn and the screw is now not as secure as it could be.
              Maybe this is what is contributing to the rumor about cover screws falling out.

              Actually, maybe they should each don't face the opposite way so that if you
              want to plug in two right angle plugs you can. As it is now you can only put
              one in without the cord of the first interferring with or restricting access to the
              second outlet. Updating the design would end this silly argument once and for all
              because it would always by right side up.

              Name:  e2cdd3f998c9dce7a1b88639c2ddc6d2.jpg
Views: 1
Size:  12.0 KB
              Last edited by Bob D.; 12-29-2012, 06:19 AM.
              "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
              John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.


                Does ^ outlet exist? (Nice drawing.)
                If installing or replacing an outlet, I orient the ground, or neutral if horizontal, at the top in case anything conductive falls onto a grounded plug not fully inserted.
                Otherwise, I would not bother re orienting any outlets.
                Last edited by Robert Gift; 12-30-2012, 04:26 AM.
                I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
                It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
                "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.

                  Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post

                  Does ^ outlet exist? (Nice drawing.)
                  If installing or replacing an outlet, I orient the ground, or neutral if horizontal, at the top in case anything conductive falls onto a grounded plug not fully inserted.
                  Otherwise, I would not bother re orienting any outlets.
                  No, I photo-shopped it.

                  I would add that I have never heard of a case where a paper clip or other object shorted out the
                  blades on a plug as has been suggested in this thread and elsewhere on the web.

                  Is this one of those Internet hoaxes like Saddam has weapons of mass destruction or is it real?

                  If real can you point to a documented case where this was known (or proven after the fact) to have happened?
                  "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                  John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: New homeowner, noticing anomalies.



                    I never heard of any cases either. If it did, (whats the odds?) it would just pop the breaker.
                    That aside, I believe it's code (ground pin up) in Canada.
                    Last edited by johncameron; 12-31-2012, 07:47 PM. Reason: trying to get picture to post

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