Ground on top or bottom?

pelicanJanuary 3, 2010

According to the Canadian Electrical Code, does the ground go on top or the bottom of a wall receptacle? I look around and see them all on the bottom but a guy at work says that code actually calls for them on top now. I searched for the answer but nothing came up. Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


There is no code issue about this in CEC or NEC. You can put the ground up, down, sideways, at any angle you like.

The will be many arguments about which you SHOULD put it. BUT THE CODE DOES NOT CARE.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for your quick response.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In his book about residential wiring, Rex Cauldwell argues that the ground should go at the top if the receptacle is installed vertically.

The idea is that if a plug becomes loose and something lands on the exposed ground pin, it will bounce off. If it lands on the exposed hot and neutral blades, a short circuit results.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although I personally hate outlets installed upside down (ground up) I also know that this is the same question as "is the toilet paper supposed to unroll over or under".

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yikes! i guess this is never going to go away. I could only find one proposal for the 2011 NEC about ground pin up, here it is

18-36 Log #3897 NEC-P18 Final Action: Reject
Submitter: Ronald Standley, E Light Electric Services
Recommendation: Add new text as follows:
Exception No. 1: Where metal cover plates are installed, receptacles shall be
mounted such that the ground pin opening is above the hot and neutral
Substantiation: If multiple failing conditions are encountered (i.e., plug not
fully inserted, metal cover loosens, etc.) it is possible that the metal cover
could contact the hot conductor creating a short circuit and a fire hazard.
Panel Meeting Action: Reject
Panel Statement: This proposal is not substantiated with incident data
indicating burn or electrocution exposure or the circumstances surrounding
such incidents.
Additionally, the proposal only addresses receptacles installed in a vertical
plane. How does one insure in a receptacle mounted on a horizontal surface
that the ground pin opening is above the hot and neutral openings?
Number Eligible to Vote: 11
Ballot Results: Affirmative: 11

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

While it sounds good in theory, in reality the odds of dropping something that conducts electricity along the wall in such a way that it hits both the hot and neutral prongs is slim to none. I'd think you'd have to work at it just to get the object to hit the two prongs much less come up with a situation where it would occur in the real world.

Of course the corollary is if the neutral should be up or down if the receptacle is sideways.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ron Natalie

I like mine on the left :)
At least that puts the grounded conductor on top.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This thread should have been closed after the first reply!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I actually saw a tool fall off a cart, land on a ground pin, bounce off, and land on the floor. The (not fully inserted) plug was for an extension cord. I do not expect to see this again.

Last February, I noticed that all of the twenty or so outlets in pateient room in an intensive-care unit had the ground pin at the top.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only receptacle I have installed that is required to be installed ground up was a spec grade receptacle that was stamped "top" on the metal yoke. In that case it was required according to 110.3.b of the '08 NEC. I have seen this more than a few times. Otherwise it's up to you.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've done some jobs (schools and doctors offices) that will actually spec it out to install the receptacles with the ground up.

Personally I can't stand them that way.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 12:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The ground pin has the most holding area. Medical areas use some serious size cords and the weight of the cord will tend to bend the ground plug and pull the neutral and hot part way out when installed with the ground down.

I have numerous heavy duty extension cords where the ground plug shows bends away from the hot and neutral but never toward them.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 8:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've noticed many new household appliances with a molded
right angle plug on the end of the cord that was meant
for a receptical with the ground on top.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ron Natalie

Medical grade receptacles have some serious grip to them as well, so it's not a problem.

For every molded plug or wall wart that has the wire coming out the side away from the ground pin (or with the fat blade on the right i.e. designed for ground up), I can show you two that go the other way.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:47AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Garage florescent light flickering - bulb or fixture problem?
I replaced the GE F40 RES garage lights with a GE F40...
bibbus 7b
Two fans on same circuit in different rooms, can't get wiring right
So here's the situation. I have two ceiling fan/lights...
Dryer power cord next to vent
My contractor is enlarging the dryer vent hole in the...
Inspection Report
Had a gorgeous 1909 house inspected yesterday and don't...
1 of 2 security light bulbs keep going out, do i need a new light?
I have a security light fixture in my carport that...
Sponsored Products
42" Modern Fan Stella Maple-Bronze Ceiling Fan with Light
Euro Style Lighting
Tournesol Pillow
Grandin Road
Bergama Light Gold and Beige Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug Rug
$360.95 | Bellacor
Waverunner Loveseat in Purple
$500.00 | LexMod
Garden Party | Boletus Outdoor
OakRak Floor-to-Ceiling Bike Rack
$159.50 | FRONTGATE
Jesper Office Height Adjustable WorkPad Table
Sienna Grey Circles Giclee Glow Black Bronze Table Lamp
$99.99 | Lamps Plus
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™