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  1. #1
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    Default Scary Receptacle Outlet

    I didn't find this. The tenant at today's inspection showed it to me. How scary is this?

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  2. #2
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    This is wiring problem the code needs to address. You can see by the two hot wires remaining on the other side that some git-r-done fast lectrishun use the receptacle as a splice. It should be illegal to splice through a receptacle IMHO. Splicing through the receptacle probably created this damage and it creates other problems as well. A loose or loosened connection on any of the receptacle screws or stab loc terminations of a spliced through device carries all current beyond / downstream of that outlet. Wired correctly w/ a splice in the box and a pigtale for that outlet only means that only problems associated w/ that outlet will surface. By splicing through the receptacle, the loads from any of the downstream receptacles can and do aggrevate the weak spot.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    This is wiring problem the code needs to address. You can see by the two hot wires remaining on the other side that some git-r-done fast lectrishun use the receptacle as a splice. It should be illegal to splice through a receptacle IMHO. Splicing through the receptacle probably created this damage and it creates other problems as well.
    I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is a bunch of crap! Change the code to eliminate receptacle feed-thru??

    What created this problem was a failed quick-wire termination.

    A) Quick wire receptacles were used by MANY contractors back in the day. Long before they were know troublemakers. If this were done recently I would agree with you. NOBODY with any common sense uses quick wire holes any more.

    B) ALL 15 & 20 amp receptacles are rated for 20A feed-thru. Using the side screws properly is JUST as effective, safe and long lasting as splicing. I have seen nearly as many poor burned splices as I have burned up receptacles. And of those that do burn up 95% of them are quick-wired.

    Do it right and properly the first time and this will not happen.


  4. #4
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is a bunch of crap! Change the code to eliminate receptacle feed-thru??

    What created this problem was a failed quick-wire termination.

    A) Quick wire receptacles were used by MANY contractors back in the day. Long before they were know troublemakers. If this were done recently I would agree with you. NOBODY with any common sense uses quick wire holes any more.

    B) ALL 15 & 20 amp receptacles are rated for 20A feed-thru. Using the side screws properly is JUST as effective, safe and long lasting as splicing. I have seen nearly as many poor burned splices as I have burned up receptacles. And of those that do burn up 95% of them are quick-wired.

    Do it right and properly the first time and this will not happen.
    Agreeing to disagree is a bit different from a bunch of crap. I am not understanding the do it properly the first and this will not happen statement and then say wiring through the device, ( via a quick wire ), caused this. $ 0.50 devices with quick wire terminationas are crap and they fail often. If the circuiting was spliced as it should have been, no downstream load could have effected it. Ditto screw terminals. If you do not splice through the device, no downstream load will effect it. Even if the splice is bad a downstream load will not do that to an upstream device. You agree that wiring through quick wire terminations on a device caused the problem and then say it's crap when someone says wiring through devices it not a good idea ?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    I didn't take a pic of the other side, but the black wires indicate side terminals. I assumed loose screws. JP would say "should'a used a torque screwdriver".

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
    Change the code to eliminate receptacle feed-thru??

    What created this problem was a failed quick-wire termination.

    1. This is why its not allowed to feed-through 125 V receptacles powered from a MWBC. must pig-tail it. The code has changed (quite some time ago). SP breakers protecting MWBCs now must be tied. (another change a while ago).

    2. Side binding terminals were obviously used.

    Loose Neutral and/or backfeeding on neutral.

    When replaced must use a TR receptacle.


    Curious if this receptacle was switched (lighting outlet exception).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 05-08-2012 at 11:23 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I didn't take a pic of the other side, but the black wires indicate side terminals. I assumed loose screws. JP would say "should'a used a torque screwdriver".
    Then it wasn't the device that failed it was a poor installation.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Agreeing to disagree is a bit different from a bunch of crap.
    I stand by my statements with consideration to your opinion about amending the code to disallow using a device as a feed-thru.


    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    If the circuiting was spliced as it should have been, no downstream load could have effected it.
    The CORRECT statement here is:
    "If the circuiting was spliced as it could have been, or the side screw connections made properly, ......"



    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    You agree that wiring through quick wire terminations on a device caused the problem and then say it's crap when someone says wiring through devices it not a good idea ?
    ABSOLUTELY.
    Quick wire terminations are junk. Using the side screws is NOT.


    If your absurd code amendment were to go through, HOW would propose to legally install a GFI receptacle with a protected load side?


  9. #9
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship
    If the circuiting was spliced as it should have been, no downstream load could have effected it.

    The CORRECT statement here is:
    "If the circuiting was spliced as it could have been, or the side screw connections made properly, ......"

    You incorrectly corrected the correct statement.

    If your absurd code amendment were to go through, HOW would propose to legally install a GFI receptacle with a protected load side?
    Absurd ? If only I could remember how GFI protection was accomplished before there were GFI receptacles "listed" for feed through applications. I'm sure you read Watson's post. The code has already outlawed this practice in shared neutral situations. It is just a matter of time before only devices specifically labeled for feed through can be so used. Feed through GFIs are made for that purpose and so labeled. Splicing through devices only compounds potential problems by making the first receptacle of say a dozen carry the load of all the other 11, etc, etc. There is no viable reason to do it other than to perhaps be speedy. Assuming customers understood these mechanics, they would chose an installer that pig-tailed over one who did not. It's about doing it right the first time.


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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship
    If the circuiting was spliced as it should have been, no downstream load could have effected it.

    The CORRECT statement here is:
    "If the circuiting was spliced as it could have been, or the side screw connections made properly, ......"

    You incorrectly corrected the correct statement.

    If your absurd code amendment were to go through, HOW would propose to legally install a GFI receptacle with a protected load side?
    Absurd ? If only I could remember how GFI protection was accomplished before there were GFI receptacles "listed" for feed through applications. I'm sure you read Watson's post. The code has already outlawed this practice in shared neutral situations. It is just a matter of time before only devices specifically labeled for feed through can be so used. Feed through GFIs are made for that purpose and so labeled. Splicing through devices only compounds potential problems by making the first receptacle of say a dozen carry the load of all the other 11, etc, etc. There is no viable reason to do it other than to perhaps be speedy. Assuming customers understood these mechanics, they would chose an installer that pig-tailed over one who did not. It's about doing it right the first time.
    More crap.

    The NEC mandates the NEUTRAL in a MWBC needs to be pigtailed so that the IDIOT working the MWBC hot doesn't disconnect the neutral and put the loads on both sides of the circuit in series on a (now) 240 volt circuit or have a "hot" neutral downstream of a removed device . It has NOTHING to do with the ability of the devices to carry the current.

    I see plenty of problems with workmanship in pigtailed circuits - in fact, in a lot of wire nutted connections. The side screw connections on the receptacle are at least as good as, if not better, connection than the wire nut - PROVIDED it is done correctly. I've seen many pigtailed receptacles in the same shape as the OPs that were installed with loose screws.

    The receptacles are DESIGNED to carry the load of downstream receptacles, and UL LISTED to do so.

    Who the he** are YOU to tell people what the right way is?

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    More crap.

    The NEC mandates the NEUTRAL in a MWBC needs to be pigtailed so that the IDIOT working the MWBC hot doesn't disconnect the neutral and put the loads on both sides of the circuit in series on a (now) 240 volt circuit or have a "hot" neutral downstream of a removed device . It has NOTHING to do with the ability of the devices to carry the current.

    I see plenty of problems with workmanship in pigtailed circuits - in fact, in a lot of wire nutted connections. The side screw connections on the receptacle are at least as good as, if not better, connection than the wire nut - PROVIDED it is done correctly. I've seen many pigtailed receptacles in the same shape as the OPs that were installed with loose screws.

    The receptacles are DESIGNED to carry the load of downstream receptacles, and UL LISTED to do so.

    Who the he** are YOU to tell people what the right way is?
    Wow! I could not have said it better Bill.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    More crap.

    The NEC mandates the NEUTRAL in a MWBC needs to be pigtailed so that the IDIOT working the MWBC hot doesn't disconnect the neutral and put the loads on both sides of the circuit in series on a (now) 240 volt circuit or have a "hot" neutral downstream of a removed device . It has NOTHING to do with the ability of the devices to carry the current.

    I see plenty of problems with workmanship in pigtailed circuits - in fact, in a lot of wire nutted connections. The side screw connections on the receptacle are at least as good as, if not better, connection than the wire nut - PROVIDED it is done correctly. I've seen many pigtailed receptacles in the same shape as the OPs that were installed with loose screws.

    The receptacles are DESIGNED to carry the load of downstream receptacles, and UL LISTED to do so.

    Who the he** are YOU to tell people what the right way is?
    Wow ! I started this head butting w/ an opinion. Obviously wrong to think I could have one. Yes there are bad terminations of every possibility, ( wire nut splices, screw terminals, etc ). The thinking was and is when devices are spliced through / daisy chained; receptacle #1 carries the load of receptacle 2 through 12. Any poor connection that developes in that chain, ( say from heat expansion & contraction ), will effect all those downstream. If they are all pigtailed, that is not the case / each stands on it's own. Daisy chained; an iron plugged into receptacle # 12 can aggrevate any problem in receptacle # 1. Pig tailed that would not happen. Assuming a bad connection in daisy chain receptacle # 1 has not tripped the breaker, it still takes down all the receptacles in that circuit. Again; that would not happen if pig tailed. But I was wrong about that. Daisy chaining is better. Regarding who I am, it's Garry, capital G, two r's and I'm not telling anybody what the right way is. Again I made the mistake of having an opinion and expressed what I thought the better of two options is. I now know that splicing through devices is better, safer and less egotistical than pig tailing.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    It is the quality of the connections, not whether the installer used pigtails or the side screw terminals or a back-wired connection. If not done properly there can and will be problems.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    This is wiring problem the code needs to address. You can see by the two hot wires remaining on the other side that some git-r-done fast lectrishun use the receptacle as a splice. It should be illegal to splice through a receptacle IMHO. Splicing through the receptacle probably created this damage and it creates other problems as well. A loose or loosened connection on any of the receptacle screws or stab loc terminations of a spliced through device carries all current beyond / downstream of that outlet. Wired correctly w/ a splice in the box and a pigtale for that outlet only means that only problems associated w/ that outlet will surface. By splicing through the receptacle, the loads from any of the downstream receptacles can and do aggrevate the weak spot.
    The downstream load is carried by the copper strip at the screw terminals and not through the receptacle itself as it would be in a pass thru GFCI. Under normal conditions this terminal strip is more than enough to carry a 15 or 20 Amp load. Just compare the dimensions of this terminal strip to the link in a fuse designed to open at 20 amps. Backstabbing the receptacle brings up another set of issues, as we can see in the original post this receptacle was not backstabbed.

    Last edited by Alton Darty; 05-10-2012 at 01:03 PM. Reason: edit for clarity
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    No, we can't see if neutrals were backstabbed or not, and maybe there was only one neutral jumper.

    But the spark show has been entertaining so far. Thanks, Gunnar.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    No, we can't see if neutrals were backstabbed or not, and maybe there was only one neutral jumper.

    But the spark show has been entertaining so far. Thanks, Gunnar.
    Sorry, you are right John. I was assuming that since the hots were not backstabbed that the neutrals weren't either. My bad, no cookie for me today.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Wow ! I started this head butting w/ an opinion. Obviously wrong to think I could have one. Yes there are bad terminations of every possibility, ( wire nut splices, screw terminals, etc ). The thinking was and is when devices are spliced through / daisy chained; receptacle #1 carries the load of receptacle 2 through 12. Any poor connection that developes in that chain, ( say from heat expansion & contraction ), will effect all those downstream. If they are all pigtailed, that is not the case / each stands on it's own. Daisy chained; an iron plugged into receptacle # 12 can aggrevate any problem in receptacle # 1. Pig tailed that would not happen. Assuming a bad connection in daisy chain receptacle # 1 has not tripped the breaker, it still takes down all the receptacles in that circuit. Again; that would not happen if pig tailed. But I was wrong about that. Daisy chaining is better. Regarding who I am, it's Garry, capital G, two r's and I'm not telling anybody what the right way is. Again I made the mistake of having an opinion and expressed what I thought the better of two options is. I now know that splicing through devices is better, safer and less egotistical than pig tailing.
    First, your post comes across to people who don't know the difference that feed through receptacles aren't acceptable workmanship - something ELSE that will get added to the list of (yep, here it comes) CRAP that I wind up having to certify is part of a code compliant electrical system in a home. (Had one the other day claiming two circuits in the same box was a safety hazard - but I digress...)

    Your theory only holds true if the receptacle is installed improperly. If the pigtail has problems then, yep, exactly the same problems will happen downstream you claim, rightly, will happen with poor receptacle installations.

    I lost count many years ago of how many pigtailed connections I've found where (very likely) a significant amount of wire was stripped and then all the wires were twisted together and cut to fit the wire nut - except one or more of them was pulled too far and when the cutting happened only a very short bit of copper was left and wound into the wire nut. The connection will fail at some point, possibly heating the wire nut and insulation close by enough to melt or burn. The young buck or careless pro that makes a splice like this usually has it fail the day of a big playoff game being watched on a new massive flat screen plugged into a multiwire circuit. I only wish I could get pictures and recordings of reactions. I do get the checks though, so it kinda works out.

    My OPINION is that to help prevent this is that you strip all the wires the same (to fit the wire nut) and line up the ends, then twist the wire nut on without pre-twisting. A wire not in far enough is evident because there is a shiner (copper showing outside the wire nut). I'm not thinking about trying to get the code changed to demand it be done MY way as the other way is just fine - if done right.

    Opinions are like arm pits. Everybody has a couple, some just smell better, or at least don't attract attention from a distance. I have plenty of opinions. You'll have a chance to get in on picking them apart if you hang around - but most of my stuff gets into what the book says (or not).

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    It is the quality of the connections, not whether the installer used pigtails or the side screw terminals or a back-wired connection. If not done properly there can and will be problems.
    The only failures I have seen have been caused by use of the speedy connect feature---metal fatigue, heat, and the connection becomes loose. You can find these fast because the outlet is hot when you touch it. As for pig-tailing, works great when the box has ample space and isn't the smallest and cheapest box available that just meets code.


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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Side Note: The NEC does no require the pigtails to be added into the box fill calculation. Any conductor that does not leave the box is not counted. This is similar to the device allowance for a single pole switch vs a dimmer or a GFI. Both are 2 conductor allowances.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Side Note: The NEC does no require the pigtails to be added into the box fill calculation. Any conductor that does not leave the box is not counted. This is similar to the device allowance for a single pole switch vs a dimmer or a GFI. Both are 2 conductor allowances.
    That is a very good point, and gives a good reason to use the pigtails as well. I totally agree that using the terminals is also acceptable. There are obviously alternate methods, and whenever there are options there is a great likelihood that opinions will differ...sometimes with great energy!

    BTW...out of all of those who are weighing in so heavily on this argument........wait for it.........

    ...how many are actually electricians/former electricians? I mean, removing a cover plate is going outside the bounds of a "normal" inspection anyway. Right?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Side Note: The NEC does no require the pigtails to be added into the box fill calculation. Any conductor that does not leave the box is not counted. This is similar to the device allowance for a single pole switch vs a dimmer or a GFI. Both are 2 conductor allowances.
    Speaking from experience, just because the NEC doesn't count pigtails which do not leave the box for box fill, doesn't mean they don't "fill" the box. If you pigtail the hot, grounded conductor and the grounding conductor and are using #12 solid NM cable - good luck stuffing that GFCI (no down stream loads) into a single gang box.

    Steve
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Back in the days before receptacles had quick connect stabs and wirenuts were still wearing diapers (literally) most splices in outlet boxes were made on the screws which are rated to carry the load of the entire circuit.

    When I replace those old receptacles or the newer receptacles I always splice the wire with a pigtail. One reason is I do a lot of work in hospitals where you have to work hot frequently doing repairs or adding to circuits because there may be equipment connected that must remain on. For that purpose you have to be able to remove a device without interrupting the circuit. If the device were to have multiple wires connected using the screws it would be a problem.

    I believe I read somewhere in the code that a device must be capable of being removed without interrupting the circuit it is connected to. Perhaps one of the code fanatics in here can find that? It may very well be in the healthcare facilities section.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    [QUOTE=

    I believe I read somewhere in the code that a device must be capable of being removed without interrupting the circuit it is connected to. Perhaps one of the code fanatics in here can find that? It may very well be in the healthcare facilities section.[/QUOTE]

    Not code required for all receptacles. Only on multi-wire circuits (where one neutral is shared by 2 or 3 hots). Then the neutral conductor (white) must not rely on the device for continuity.

    This is a safety issue for both personnel and equipment. 120V equipment could be subjected to close to 240V when the neutral is opened. Personnel could get "nailed" from the normally safe neutral conductor if they get between the neutral and ground. (even if they turn off the circuit they are working on, the other hot circuit is using the shared neutral)


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Romano View Post
    Back in the days before receptacles had quick connect stabs and wirenuts were still wearing diapers (literally) most splices in outlet boxes were made on the screws which are rated to carry the load of the entire circuit.

    When I replace those old receptacles or the newer receptacles I always splice the wire with a pigtail. One reason is I do a lot of work in hospitals where you have to work hot frequently doing repairs or adding to circuits because there may be equipment connected that must remain on. For that purpose you have to be able to remove a device without interrupting the circuit. If the device were to have multiple wires connected using the screws it would be a problem.

    I believe I read somewhere in the code that a device must be capable of being removed without interrupting the circuit it is connected to. Perhaps one of the code fanatics in here can find that? It may very well be in the healthcare facilities section.
    It is, for all but a few choice situations, illegal for an employee to work anything "hot". OSHA and other worker safety organizations have pretty hefty fines for it. There are almost no situations where it can't be avoided. Good design at the outset will make shutdown of life-safety circuits possible for maintenance. If it can't be done then upgrades need to be made. It's a very poor rationale to "not endanger" someone relying on a critical circuit by not shutting it down and endangering the repair technician. In reality both are put in danger if there's a problem as the necessary substitute for the critical circuit may not be at hand unless planned for.

    There are code provisions to keep things like industrial processes that would become dangerous without an orderly shutdown going and fire pumps running. Beyond that things staying on that shouldn't is highly discouraged.

    IMHO you shouldn't be going out of your way to be making it easier to work things hot because they shouldn't be being worked hot. Tell me you don't wrap the receptacle with tape to keep the terminal screws from hitting the metal box edges.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    I don't recall it having been legal to use quick connects or "back stabs" for 12 AWG conductors.


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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I don't recall it having been legal to use quick connects or "back stabs" for 12 AWG conductors.
    That's why the manufacturer's test, listed, and labeled those devices with holes large enough to accept 12 AWG conductors - to accept those connections within their listing and labeling, which means it met code at the time per 110.3(B).

    The manufacturer's reduced the size of the hole so as to not accept 12 AWG and only accept 14 AWG due to so many problems which resulted from the legal installation of those devices with 12 AWG backstabbed connections. I don't recall the year of the change, but the holes no longer accept 12 AWG conductors, thus, today, it would not meet code to backstab 12 AWG conductors into the newer devices.

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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    I remember back-stabbed outlets that accepted #12, but only for a short period of time. Seemed like just a couple of years and then *POOF*they were gone.

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Scary Receptacle Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I remember back-stabbed outlets that accepted #12, but only for a short period of time. Seemed like just a couple of years and then *POOF*they were gone.
    Yes, Ul changed the listing standard at least 10 years ago to no longer allow push in back stab connections for #12 AWG conductors.


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