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Old 08-27-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
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Flip light switches?


Hi all,

I wanted to know if its possible to just rotate a lightswitch so the light flips UP for on and DOWN for off? I bought a house and seems like half of the light switches are upside down? I removed the switch plate and it seems I can just unscrew and rotate it and then re-screw, but I wanted to get a second opinion.

Even the dimmers dim UP for off and down for bright! Thanks in advance for your help! =)

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Old 08-27-2009, 05:16 PM   #2
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Flip light switches?


Yup you sure can, i had a few in my house like that and was wondering what the person was thinking when they installed them.

Make sure you turn the breaker off before doing this, no need to get a shock for no reason.

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Old 08-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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Flip light switches?


Make sure that they aren't threeway switches (two switches controlling one light). They will end up "backwards" again if they are.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:28 PM   #4
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Are you sure these aren't 3-ways? If they really are single poles then they should say "ON" and "OFF" right on the switch.

If the switch reads "NO" instead of "ON" then obviously it is installed incorrectly and should be turned .

As was stated previously, turn off the power and turn the switch right side up.
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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Flip light switches?


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Originally Posted by EBFD6 View Post
Are you sure these aren't 3-ways? If they really are single poles then they should say "ON" and "OFF" right on the switch.

If the switch reads "NO" instead of "ON" then obviously it is installed incorrectly and should be turned .

As was stated previously, turn off the power and turn the switch right side up.
None of the switches in my house have ON on them!
The toggle has a little bump exposed when in the ON position!
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:03 PM   #6
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Flip light switches?


I find it funny how some people install switches and receptacles upside down. Most of my receptacles in my house were upside down. But yeah it's safe to switch it.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I find it funny how some people install switches and receptacles upside down. Most of my receptacles in my house were upside down. But yeah it's safe to switch it.
There is no such thing as upside down when it comes to receptacles. It is all a matter of personal preference. I typically install receptacles ground down in residential and ground up in commercial/industrial. This is something that gets debated all of the time amongst electricians. Everyone has reasons why their way is the right way and the other way is wrong, but there is no code or manufacturer recommendation that guides this, as I said before, just personal preference.

edit to add : I just noticed Red Squirrel is from Canada and I have no idea about the Canadian Electrical Code so I may be wrong in correcting him, it could be a Canadian thing. However, in the US, my statement holds true.

Last edited by EBFD6; 08-28-2009 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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Flip light switches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
Make sure that they aren't threeway switches (two switches controlling one light). They will end up "backwards" again if they are.
A good way (for beginning DIY'rs) to identify a Three way Or Four way Switch is to see if it has ON/OFF markings. If it doesn't. It's a Three way switch!!! (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:35 PM   #9
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Flip light switches?


This is the story as I've always understood it.

From another source:

"Years ago ,the code did require the ground port be on top in medical facilities only.

The reasoning was in the event a metal object were to fall onto a plug that was not inserted completely, the metal object would hit the ground prong first, and not cause any sparks. I believe this was due to the highly flammable anesthesia that was used back then.

Since large union contractors typically did the hospital work, this practice of the ground on top filtered out into other jobs, and is still done by many contractors as a standard.

Otherwise , there is no specific requirement by any code."

True or not, I cannot say.
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie T View Post
This is the story as I've always understood it.

From another source:

"Years ago ,the code did require the ground port be on top in medical facilities only.

The reasoning was in the event a metal object were to fall onto a plug that was not inserted completely, the metal object would hit the ground prong first, and not cause any sparks. I believe this was due to the highly flammable anesthesia that was used back then.

Since large union contractors typically did the hospital work, this practice of the ground on top filtered out into other jobs, and is still done by many contractors as a standard.

Otherwise , there is no specific requirement by any code."

True or not, I cannot say.

That is interesting. I work at a hospital and most of the plugs ARE upsidedown. It's a fairly new building too (1990).
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:29 PM   #11
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Flip light switches?


Thanks for the responses all! I dont have my internet at the new house yet so I have to wait til work to reply. All of mine say ON and OFF except the 2 dimmers which say nothing. One is a rotary dimmer and the other is a sliding dimmer.

Now I have 2-3 switches that are missing switchplate covers and I cannot find the proper cover for them. Are there any online sources to find hard to find switchplate covers? I have 2 that is large rectangle on one side and then what looks like 2 circular outlets on the next. I tried Home Depot, Lowes and even Walmart and cannot find this type for the life of me...
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:21 PM   #12
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Flip light switches?


I like to install duplex receptacles with the ground on bottom for a reason: It makes them look like two chinese faces saying "who?". Thanks, David
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:24 PM   #13
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Flip light switches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by techprincesse View Post
Thanks for the responses all! I dont have my internet at the new house yet so I have to wait til work to reply. All of mine say ON and OFF except the 2 dimmers which say nothing. One is a rotary dimmer and the other is a sliding dimmer.

Now I have 2-3 switches that are missing switchplate covers and I cannot find the proper cover for them. Are there any online sources to find hard to find switchplate covers? I have 2 that is large rectangle on one side and then what looks like 2 circular outlets on the next. I tried Home Depot, Lowes and even Walmart and cannot find this type for the life of me...
Just one question. You stated in your original post that some switches, including dimmers were installed upside down. How can a rotary switch be determined to be upside down?... (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:33 PM   #14
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Flip light switches?


A lot of dimmers these days are not rotary
They slide up & down
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
I like to install duplex receptacles with the ground on bottom for a reason: It makes them look like two chinese faces saying "who?". Thanks, David
Haha never looked at it that way, though I always found they look like mad faces. Some guy called nema must of had a good laugh designing all the plugs we use today. A lot of them look like funny faces.

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