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Thread: To pigtail or not to pigtail?

  1. #1

    Default To pigtail or not to pigtail?

    I had to replace a receptacle today that had 3 hot wires and 3 neutrals connected to it. Two hots and two neutrals were "stabbed" and one of each was screwed. The receptacle I bought was labeled "heavy duty" and had no holes for stabbing.

    I ended up using one screw for two #12 wires on both the hot and neutral side. Is that kosher, or should I have pigtailed the wires together instead, so only one wire per screw?

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Two wires on one screw is not acceptable. The type of receptacle I prefer is what they call "back-wired". This is NOT the same as "quickwire" or " backstabbed". The "backwire" has opening holes on the back side. You insert the wire and when you tighten the screw, it clamps the wire. Very secure. It accepts 4 wires on each side ( 4 black, 4 white.)

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    One wire per screw. You've got a loose connection waiting to happen.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4

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    Okay, I'll have to re-do it using the back-wire receptacle.

    But I really did tighten the heck out of those screws and clamped the wires down extremely tight. Much better than the previous stab connections that were pretty easy to pull out.

  5. #5
    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    Is there no room to use wire nuts to join the three sets of hot and neutral, along with more wires going to the spec-grade receptacle?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet_Boots
    Is there no room to use wire nuts to join the three sets of hot and neutral, along with more wires going to the spec-grade receptacle?
    There actually is very little room in that box for any additional wires and wirenuts. But, that's why I asked the question. I thought my only two options were pigtailing all the wires together and running a wire to the outlet or doubling up on the screws. But, Jimbo's back-wiring suggestion makes the most sense.

  7. #7
    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    Very little room might be enough, if you really wanted to use spec-grade receptacles. Was there a reason for selecting spec-grade in the first place?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet_Boots
    Was there a reason for selecting spec-grade in the first place?
    I actually just bought the cheapest receptacles ACE had. Apparently they don't carry the standard ones. I'll just get my receptacles from the elect. supply shop from now on.

    Is it actually a code violation to double-up or is it just a lame-brain thing to do?

  9. #9
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    What the he**. A broken resolution's not worth keeping anyways, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy
    Is it actually a code violation to double-up or is it just a lame-brain thing to do?
    Both.

    It's got something to do with when one wire's under load, and the other isn't, they expand & contract at different rates, or something like that... Mike will be able to explain better; but the point is just that it can work itself loose, even if it seems solid right now.
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  10. #10
    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy
    I actually just bought the cheapest receptacles ACE had. Apparently they don't carry the standard ones. I'll just get my receptacles from the elect. supply shop from now on.
    Maybe those were old inventory. Usually, a spec-grade item costs more. Pay more, and no back-wiring - great deal, what?

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default wire

    Our inspectors enforce the "one screw/one wire" rule, even on circuit breakers where you could conceivably put one wire in each groove on either side of the wire clamp.

  12. #12
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    Our inspectors enforce the "one screw/one wire" rule, even on circuit breakers where you could conceivably put one wire in each groove on either side of the wire clamp.
    Get in touch with Square "D" conpany and let them know about this enforcement and it will go away.

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