Does this outlet look right?

MoOctober 28, 2010

Do you think the outlet should be the same height as the light switch? I guess the electrician did it this way because of the code, but I'm not sure I'm liking how it looks.

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shaughnn

From the taped joint, it suggests that there was blocking which prevented the duplex gangbox from being aligned with the triple. Unless your contractor can offer a rational argument, other than "I couldn't put it there", I'd have him offer a more attractive relocation solution.
I don't believe this is correct.
Shaughnn

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 9:40AM
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Mo

There's nothing blocking it, I'm sure. I didn't get to take a picture before the wall went up. I thought I'd ask while there's probably still time to change it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 10:23AM
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spring-meadow

Would love to hear the explanation.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 9:29PM
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cpartist

I would have him change it. If there's nothing blocking it, he took the easy way out.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:30AM
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palimpsest

I think he just followed standard height guidelines for an outlet and for a wall switch, which are not exactly the same. I see this type of arrangement in commercial settings.

That said I would want it changed so it looked better. I don't think the code is so inflexible that it needs to stay this way.

In my bath, I only have a three-gang, but I had the outlet ganged with the switches. This would leave you with a five gang outlet which is uncommon in residential and it may be difficult to get switchplates.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 7:49AM
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brickeyee

"I don't think the code is so inflexible that it needs to stay this way. "

The electrical code has almost no rules about placement (outside of not very high to meet the '6 foot rule') and at least withing 30 inches of the basin for bathroom receptacles, and how far above kitchen counters to meet the 24 inch rule.

There is 'guidance' from ADA that may have the force of law for commercial work, but is generally inapplicable to residential work (unless it will be sold/built as 'handicapped conforming/accessible/etc.).

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Mo

I asked yesterday, and was told is was because of the code. The light switch was originally the same level as the outlet, but the electrician moved is up so the bottom is 48" from the floor. DH doesn't want me to "complain" about the placement. He feels the professionals know what they're doing, and that it'll look fine when it's all finished. I'm still thinking I'll regret not having it changed while there's still time.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:25AM
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jacobse

DH doesn't want me to "complain" about the placement. He feels the professionals know what they're doing

All you need to do is read this forum for a few days to know that that couldn't be further from the truth! ;)

As noted, there's no code reason why the receptacle couldn't be moved higher to match the height of the switches. Listen to your head: if you feel the disparity in heights will bother you (as it certainly would bother me), have him change it now.

Through several major renovation projects, I've worked with electricians who are undoubtedly fine electricians -- but I've learned to trust my sense of aesthetics, not theirs! (By the time of our latest bathroom project, I learned to specify everything down to the last detail in terms of placement, which switch to place where in a multi-gang box, and what type and color of switch/dimmer/timer/receptacle/faceplate I want. Both I and the electrician end up happier this way!)

-- Eric

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:23AM
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Mo

I thought I didn't have a picture before the Sheetrock went up, but I found one that I stuck in the wrong folder. There will be a nightlight in the outlet that's higher than the top, so if the outlet isn't moved it might not look weird.

Here is a link that might be useful: Related post in electrical wiring forum

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 4:44PM
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xc60

Is the plug also installed upside down? If you put a night light in the top plug it will be upside down and cover the bottom plug.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Mo

I'm aware of the upside down plug. That and the light switches are only temporary while the GC is working. The electrician will replace them later, and there will be a GFCI too.

I went to visit my parents today. I looked in their two bathrooms, and both of them had the outlet lower than the switch on the same wall. I guess it's not that uncommon.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:03PM
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classicalone

It might not be uncommon - but I would HATE it. In our master bath remodel I made sure that the switches and the outlet were the exact same height.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:34PM
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plumkrazy

Our outlets are lower than the switches, too. Never noticed it before and it's never bothered me. I actually think it would look weird to have an outlet that high and level with the switch now that I'm trying to picture it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 8:32PM
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Mo

Plum, I found this picture in another thread where they're the same.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 9:18PM
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susanelewis

I walked around my house out of curiosity and wherever there is an outlet on the wall near a switch they are exactly the same height. I cannot imagine them being differently and I would simply tell the electrician that you would prefer the outlet to be even with the triple switches.

Many electricians will take the easy way out and they are simply not into aesthetics. When we built, our GC had to go around and straighten up almost every outlet on backsplash because they were definitely not lined up properly. The GC wouldn't allow the electrician to hang our expensive chandeliers because he said it would take forever to clean the crystals from his grimey hands.

That is a triple gang switch, right? There will be a third switch added to that box?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Mo

It's going to have four switches.

I found a picture in this forum where they're like mine.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 11:50PM
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plumkrazy

I guess its just a personal preference... I don't think it looks bad either way. That's something that might bother my husband (he's very "meticulous" about symmetry and things aligning) but doesn't bother me. Do what makes you happy!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:20AM
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susanelewis

It looks like there is a mirrored medecine cabinet on that wall which would explain why that outlet was installed lower than the switch. Since you have no obstruction, that isn't really an apples to apples comparison. Also, from the fact that they were originally at the same height (before he realized the switches were not to code) I think it's pretty clear that the standard is to have outlets and switches at the same level. He just didn't want to have to move both of them!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:24AM
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vlord

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    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:33AM
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antss

the plug is not upside down, the ground prong is supposed to be in the top position according to the Nat. Electrical Code.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 7:28PM
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susanelewis

Actually from what I've read, the code is mute on this subject. It's a matter of personal preference, but there is probably better reason to have ground up, safety-wise. Mine are all ground down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Electrical Outlet Info

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:39PM
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