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Outlet question
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Outlet question

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Outlet question
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: Outlet question

  1. #1

    Default Outlet question

    First of all let me apologize that I am not a licensed electrician and if I am to be kicked out of this forum for that then so be it. I am currently replacing all of the outlets in our home as they are old and no longer hold a plug in. When I got to my last one I saw that it had 3 black hot wires and 3 white neutral wires and one ground. So obviously a new outlet can't accommodate this type of situation. To me, the novice, it doesn't seem safe to take two of the white wires on one side of the screw and the other wire on the other screw and the same with the black wires. So to HD I go. This guy gave me a tamper resistant outlet and told me to do just that. I was going to pigtail the 3 wires together and have one wire go to the outlet. Confused? Me too. Help please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    We have no biases here to contractors/professionals or DIYers. So you won't be kicked off for being a DIYourselfer.

    I don't believe there is an issue with using all the screw ports available on a receptacle. We do encourage not using the push in holes on the back unless you know it is a low load conductor (e.g. to a light fixture, not another receptacle). But there are "back wire" type receptacles that use the side screws to clamp the wires in, and those are fine.These usually have 4 holes on each side, so you could deal with 4 black and 4 whites.

    Pig tailing is always the best way, but if your receptacle box is undersized or sized right at the conductor limit, it may be difficult to do that pigtail (especially so if the wires are #12).
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    We have no biases here to contractors/professionals or DIYers. So you won't be kicked off for being a DIYourselfer.

    I don't believe there is an issue with using all the screw ports available on a receptacle. We do encourage not using the push in holes on the back unless you know it is a low load conductor (e.g. to a light fixture, not another receptacle). But there are "back wire" type receptacles that use the side screws to clamp the wires in, and those are fine.These usually have 4 holes on each side, so you could deal with 4 black and 4 whites.

    Pig tailing is always the best way, but if your receptacle box is undersized or sized right at the conductor limit, it may be difficult to do that pigtail (especially so if the wires are #12).
    Great that helps, I was sort of wondering how I was gong to put all the other wires in there along with the wires that were already in there theres not much room and I had trouble pushing everything back in. On a side notewire, when I tried to use the push in holes that are on the back of the outlet and it wouldnt fit, so taking that into consideration what size wire am I dealng with 12 or 14?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lala land, OH
    Posts
    238

    Default

    12ga wire is larger then 14ga. 12gauge is intended for a 20amp circuit (but is ok to use on a 15amp circuit too, but is overkill). 14 gauge is intended for a 15A circuit and can not be safely used on a 20A circuit. You can look at the breaker.. if its 20A (and wired correctly) it will have 12 gauge wire. Any pigtails you add must have the correct size wire.

    Also, dont look at the insulation when you are determining the wire size. Look at the conductor. Older insulation is much thicker then new stuff.

    Also, also, make sure you are dealing with copper. If your house was built in the 70's it could have aluminum wire. This stuff will be thicker. I believe a 20A aluminum circuit requires 10 gauge wire.. This wont fit in a backwire/backstab hole on a copper rated outlet. If you do have aluminum wire, STOP and let us know. Aluminum wiring is a different animal and you will have many problems if the right steps arent taken.

    The easiest way to pigtail is to make your pigtail connections and use a long pigtail. Tuck everything into the back of the box so you have just your pigtails sticking out. Preform your bends in a S so they push back into the outlet easily. You will likely need the larger red wire nuts.

    Good luck.

    Fyi, I am another (long time) DYIer. You are more then welcome here. DYI'ers are the focus of this board, however anyone is welcome here.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you for your replies they have been very helpful and put my mind at ease. I like doing things by myself and learning the proper/safe way to do them. Thanks again😀
    Kelly

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