One of the first questions people may have when considering electrical outlet installation is which way is up. While it’s a topic electricians disagree on, no matter how you install the outlet—with the ground hole up or down—the end result is the same.
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 electric outlet installation orientation. So, there aren’t really 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 sure of is that the outlet was installed correctly and is properly wired.
Learn Electrical Code Restrictions and Rules
The main codes you’ll want to know are the ones detailing where you can place your power outlets. You may want to consider using The National Electrical Code from the National Fire Protection Association before embarking on any electrical home renovations. The NEC tells you how to safely complete your own residential electrical wiring.
Here we’ve highlighted some of the code’s requirements for electrical outlet installation in general rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens:
- Electrical outlets should be placed every 12 feet.
- Any wall space more than 24 inches wide can accommodate an outlet.
- Hallways longer than 10 feet must have at least one electrical outlet.
- Use 15 amp circuits for general rooms.
- Only install GFCI (ground fault current interrupter) outlets. There must be an outlet within 3 feet of the outside edge of the sink basin.
- There can be no outlets facing up on countertops.
- Outlets must be on a separate branch circuit of at least 20 amps. The reason is that they are usually powering high-wattage devices like hair dryers.
- All countertop outlets in kitchens must be GFCIs.
- No receptacles may be installed more than 20 inches above the surface of a countertop or sink. However, there are exceptions. For example, if you are physically handicapped or if your kitchen has an island or peninsulas where this isn’t possible.
- Electrical outlets above all countertops 12 inches or wider.
- No face-up outlets allowed.
- At least one outlet is mandatory for an island or peninsula.
- There must be at least two branch circuits that must supply the countertop outlets.
How to Install Electrical Outlets
The electrical outlet is a crucial part of your home’s electrical wiring system. Outlets provide electricity to operate 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 a good idea to install one. The electrical panel needs a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This is because of the location, not because it has a power source. While GFCIs are required at sinks and on exterior walls, they are not required in bathrooms due to the location.
In addition to the safety benefits of having a GFCI protection near the panel, it’s nice to have those additional outlets. A switched light allows you to control 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 for Outlet Installation
Do you need an electrician for electrical outlet installation? Technically, no. Some jobs, such as replacing your outlet cover plates with childproof ones or even just upgrading from standard outlets to ones with USB ports, can be simple to do on your own.
But if you’ve never done electrical work before, it’s always best to hire a licensed electrician to complete any electrical work in your home. 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 homeowners, you’ve noticed something missing in your home: electrical outlets. And, if you’ve ever had to run an extension cord from the living room to the kitchen or even worse, to run a cord across the floor to plug in your vacuum cleaner, it’s probably safe to say you wished you had more outlets.
When you’re ready to replace or install new electrical outlets in Broken Arrow, contact Mullin Electric. Our skilled and experienced staff is ready to help with any electrical needs you may have.