Ground slot location?

An electrician informed me that on a house that I inspected I did not document to the client that the outlets were installed incorrectly throughout the house. I was told that the NEC requires 3-prong outlets be installed with the ground slot at the top of the outlet. I informed him that I have not heard of that and that the outlets were wired properly. Has anyone of ever heard of this or reported this? Thanks.

I am aware of no such requirement, however, some “old school” sparkies I know, say that this is the way they should be.

It’s a matter of preference.

I agree with Jeff that there is no model code requirement for the ground slot to be on the top, and this topic has been the subject of many debates (check the BB topics on this at

However, I agree it’s better practice to have the ground slot on top so that if anything metal (receptacle cover plate, paper clip, knife, etc) happens to fall on a receptacle with a loose cord, then it will hit the ground prong.

I would politely ask the sparky for an NEC code reference for ground prong to be on top, at which point the whole issue will probably go away … :wink:

Thanks guys…I do agree with the practice just unsure about the code and as soon as he told me that AFCIs are new and are going to be required soon I was done listening to him…I thought the were already required for bedrooms…but hey I’m just the HI…I think he needs more training…Have a good one…

What about this one…

Actually I think he is right about the AFCI requirements, as the current 2002 NEC code requires them for all bedroom outlets (receptacles, lights, etc.), and there is talk of those requirements being significantly expanded in later NEC editions.

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink:

Seen a lot of outlets with the ground up for years, of course it was almost always indicative that it was a ‘switched’ outlet… I’ve pointed it out to clients for years…

I’m not aware of any NEC requirements for receptacle orientation. I am aware that many medical facilities and hospitals require the ground slot up especially near beds where the pull chains, etc. might fall across a plug not fully engaged in the receptacle. Frequently I find ground-slot-up receptacles in homes I inspect alerting me that it may have been installed by the homeowner. Otherwise, the only problem I have is that the ground-slot-up receptacles are upside down and my receptacle tester faces the floor.


Why do most cords have the grounds at the bottom?

If the ground pin is up, what is that 50% chance that something will not fall against the hot?

This could be a long thread and go for a long time. Heard both sides from why it should go up and why it should go down.

Why do most electricians put the wide blade on top when installing sideways?
Is this in the NEC

Turn the cord over.:stuck_out_tongue:

Ditto. My Clients appreciate that little tidbit.