6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Condoman
Box Mounting Old Times

All of the electrical outlets in our 1959 home are mounted horizontal. They are mounted in a piece of 1" X 6" that is nailed between the studs. The neutral prong is up sometimes but often not. All outlets are have a ground prong but most are not connected as the 12-2 romex has no ground with.

The owner/builder was a carpenter and 1/2" sheet rock was used to finish the walls. For me the best thing is all wiring heads to the basement, making rework very easy. In other words, where we today daisy chain from outlet to outlet through the stud bays, this house has each outlet heading down to the basement to a junction box.

So, the question is why horizontal?

MLB Construction
Re: Box Mounting Old Times

simple answer to your question..... it's either builder's/electrician's or owner's preference, no specific reason for doing that..... i've seen them done that way occasionally in walls, more often in the baseboards. i'm not a fan of either of those installations. luckily all wires run to the basement so you'll have an easier time upgrading if you choose to do so.

Re: Box Mounting Old Times

Code allows a standard grounding style receptacle on a two wire circuit (romex with no ground wire) if it is protected by a a GFCI receptacle or GFCI breaker and has a sticker stating "GFCI protected , no equipment ground".

This protects persons from shocks touching hot and grounded surfaces.

But will not protect computers or electronics from static or lightning.

John freeman
Re: Box Mounting Old Times

Good answers.

I see horizontal receptacles a lot in the baseboards of old houses. The code does not comment on this. It doesn't matter. The only thing I would add is to put the brass screws up and the white ones down when replacing the receptacles, you have two prongs with one longer than the other. Put the long one on top.

The important things is to do like The Semi-Retired Electric says. If replacing the receptacles with 3-prong go with GFCI.

Some of the ancient junction boxes don't have room for a GFCI. In that case install an extension box, Wiremold makes good ones, replace the box or replace the old receptacle with another 2-prong.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Box Mounting Old Times

It's a styling thing- as far as I know you could mount then diagonally as long as you didn't mind you're friends thinking you've gone crazy :rolleyes:

As to "which way is up", the ground prong is usually at the bottom but an electrician who I highly respect made the case for having the ground on top- here's why: If something conductive were to fall across a slightly dislodged plug, wouldn't you prefer that the first thing it touched be the ground so as to prevent a shock? I don't do that because everyone wants them the other way around because that's "normal".

This same fella also orients his wire-nuts like an umbrella with the opening always on the bottom just in case there's a water leak dripping onto the connection. That simple idea makes so much sense to me that I've followed along since then myself. I think it should be code since it is almost always easy and possible. Same guy does the most beautiful wiring you've ever seen, even if it's hidden in a wall because he likes to do everything the very best he can period. You gotta respect a craftsman like that ;)

Phil

Re: Box Mounting Old Times
Mastercarpentry wrote:

It's a styling thing- as far as I know you could mount then diagonally as long as you didn't mind you're friends thinking you've gone crazy :rolleyes:

As to "which way is up", the ground prong is usually at the bottom but an electrician who I highly respect made the case for having the ground on top- here's why: If something conductive were to fall across a slightly dislodged plug, wouldn't you prefer that the first thing it touched be the ground so as to prevent a shock? I don't do that because everyone wants them the other way around because that's "normal".

This same fella also orients his wire-nuts like an umbrella with the opening always on the bottom just in case there's a water leak dripping onto the connection. That simple idea makes so much sense to me that I've followed along since then myself. I think it should be code since it is almost always easy and possible. Same guy does the most beautiful wiring you've ever seen, even if it's hidden in a wall because he likes to do everything the very best he can period. You gotta respect a craftsman like that ;)

Phil

Ground up or down is a common discussion among electricians and the example Master Carpentry gave is frequently heard. An argument for ground down is that heavy cords usually have the ground down so the plug will hang better if the plug is mounted that way.

Code does not address this issue.

BTW if I want a wire nut connection to stand up to moisture a little better I sometimes dribble a little PVC conduit cement into it upside down , then turn it over, after it hardens, so condensation will drain out.

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.