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Old 09-26-2019, 12:02 PM   #1
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I have a question for the group. My sister and brother in law recently just bought a home. It's a bit older, probably 70's or 80's. When I was swapping out receptacles, I noticed that most are switched, also instead of pig tailing to the receptacle. The electrician used the terminals and backstabbed into the receptacle. Why is that?
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:11 PM   #2
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I have a question for the group. My sister and brother in law recently just bought a home. It's a bit older, probably 70's or 80's. When I was swapping out receptacles, I noticed that most are switched
When you say "most are switched", you mean most of the outlets in the room are controlled by 1 switch? Or each outlet is controlled by a different switch?

There is a way to wire outlets with a 3-wire which allows you to choose either the switched power or constant power at each outlet. This way someone can choose which outlets the switch controls, I do this in my own home because I like lamps for lighting.

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also instead of pig tailing to the receptacle. The electrician used the terminals and backstabbed into the receptacle. Why is that?
There is no code requirement or need to pigtail the wiring at outlets. Some people feel it is better, I personally disagree. The terminals on the outlet are there for that purpose and work well. I know that if one comes loose, the entire circuit downstream will also lose power, but that is a good thing. More outlets not working is more of a reason for the homeowner to call an electrician in to fix it quickly. Only 1 outlet being out is often something that people live with for years, which is never good since a bad connection can cause heat buildup and arcing.

As for backstabbing, I do agree that it's not the best connection and is often the cause of loose connections, but it is code compliant. A contractor backstabbed those outlets to make money.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:22 PM   #3
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I agree with HackWork as stated except that backstabbing is only code compliant with #14 AWG. If you have #12 you shall not backstab. Personally I would never backstab but that is a personal preference.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:23 PM   #4
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You are most likely not helping nor saving money for your sister or her husband by laying your hands on the dwelling's wiring. You need three more years of tutelage by competent journeymen, and also book learning in electrical school. In three years time from now you will look back at this attempt you are making and say to yourself- holy cow! what was I thinking..


I remember family members trying to get me to dig into their electrical problems six weeks into my vocational school training. Ludicrous.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:27 PM   #5
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I agree with HackWork as stated except that backstabbing is only code compliant with #14 AWG. If you have #12 you shall not backstab. Personally I would never backstab but that is a personal preference.
Well you can't backstab #12. Believe me, I have tried jamming a #12 in there many times.
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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Well you can't backstab #12. Believe me, I have tried jamming a #12 in there many times.
Drill the hole bigger.........
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:32 PM   #7
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Drill the hole bigger.........
It's easier to Levernut a little #14 pigtail onto the #12 wire
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:04 PM   #8
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It's easier to Levernut a little #14 pigtail onto the #12 wire
Slippery slope man, you start doing that, soon you’ll be bringing your gec thru that small hole and not using a Kenny clamp.
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Old 09-28-2019, 10:46 AM   #9
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In that time period switches controlling outlets was a common method for lighting, but required the use of plug in lamps.

You will find very few outlets in residential that are pigtailed. This would be an extra time /cost as most homes are a "who can do it the cheapest" affair. The outlets are rated for feed through use and they have been installed this way for ever.

I am not a fan of back stabbing either, but it is code compliant. Yes, it is prone to cause problems.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:18 PM   #10
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Well you can't backstab #12. Believe me, I have tried jamming a #12 in there many times. [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.electriciantalk.com/images/smilies/vs_laugh.gif[/IMG][IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.electriciantalk.com/images/smilies/vs_laugh.gif[/IMG]
Drill the hole bigger.........
Where there's a will, there's a way. That just gives unscrupulous people ideas.
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Old 09-30-2019, 11:39 AM   #11
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300.13

(B) Device Removal. In multiwire branch circuits, the continuity
of a grounded conductor shall not depend on device connections
such as lampholders, receptacles, and so forth, where the
removal of such devices would interrupt the continuity.


Pigtails are required when splicing the neutral when a multiwire circuit is installed. Cannot make up the neutral on the receptacle.
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:30 PM   #12
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Back in them days #12 backstabs were common. I have many receptacles in a junk box that had #12 backstab terminals and no screws at all. They also allowed #14 to be backstabbed in the same terminals. Of course the ones in my junk box were replaced because they were overheating.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by J F Go View Post
I agree with HackWork as stated except that backstabbing is only code compliant with #14 AWG. If you have #12 you shall not backstab. Personally I would never backstab but that is a personal preference.
In the 70's and 80's #12 would fit into the backstabs.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:39 PM   #14
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Back in them days #12 backstabs were common. I have many receptacles in a junk box that had #12 backstab terminals and no screws at all. They also allowed #14 to be backstabbed in the same terminals. Of course the ones in my junk box were replaced because they were overheating.

one mans junk is another mans treasure i throw all that crap away dont even think of giving to restore or habitat for humanity
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