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How to Mount Electrical Receptacles Sideways

Nathan Fisher

For applications where there is insufficient room to mount an electrical receptacle, or outlet, in the standard vertical position, you can rotate the receptacle 90 degrees and mount it sideways. A common example of mounting an electrical receptacle sideways would be over a kitchen sink, between the counter backsplash and a window. Through some electricians will debate the orientation of the receptacle and the position of its grounds, there is no functional difference. However, you should check that the installation will be compliant with local codes. When mounting an electrical receptacle sideways, you should use a metal electrical box with spring flanges or clips.

Electrical receptacles can be mounted sideways wherever space is an issue.
  1. Turn off the power at the service panel. Check the wires with the circuit tester to be sure the power is off.

  2. Orient the receptacle box horizontally against the wall in the desired spot. Trace its outline with the felt pen and cut out the outline with the keyhole saw.

  3. Punch out the holes in the box with a screwdriver and insert the electrical cable into the box. Since this is a horizontal installation, removing the knockouts on the side of the box will allow you to attach the wires without having to feed them around the receptacle

  4. Insert the box into the hole. Attach the box to the wall by turning the screws on the clips or flanges.

  5. Attach the electrical wires to the receptacle by connecting the hot wire to the brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw and the bare ground wire to the green screw.

  6. Insert the receptacle into the box and attach it with the screws. Attach the cover plate. Turn on the power and test with the circuit tester.