Beware the back-stab receptacles!

I had a receptacle in one of my houses (late 70's)that a cord plugged into would fall right out. House is empty right now. I took the recptacle out, and it had been backwired with the push-in stab method. The area of connection was fried and crumbling. I shut off the power to the house and started going all over it pulling receptacles and switches. I found 2 more situations like this before I quit for the night. Needless to say, ALL the units in the house will be replaced, getting side terminal screw clamp connections, after trimming back of wires. All wire nut connections will also be checked. I checked and tightened all the connections in the main panel when I bought the house, before power was turned on. I have always been wary of the push-in connections, and now I know why. My opinion is that they are a fire waiting to happen. I also think the heat of the poor connection is what annealed the grippers in the receptacle, causing it to loose it's ability to hold the plug. I'm posting this to make others aware of the potential of this type situation to affect your lives, or the lives of others. Be sure your electrical connections are good ones.
RJ
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The other problem that happens. When outlets are wired in a chain, one outlet feeds the next one down the line. Sometimes a back stabbed wire will come loose, and then all the outlets down the line stop working. I've seen this twice.
I think "back stabbed" is the correct term, in meaning. Double meaning, yes, Brutus?
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Christopher A. Young
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In over thirty years in the electrical business, I've seen a number of badly backstabbed receptacles. In all cases the wire was improperly inserted so the contact was not what it should be. I think they work just fine if properly connected. I agree turning a wire on a screw is a more positive connection, but I have serious doubts about screw clamps. I'd be interested to see what those connections look like in twenty years

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RBM, just curious, what are your concerns as an electrician with the clamping type connection? I used the term mainly to distinguish that I was going to use something other than a back stab. I was debating with myself on whether to use a wrap around the screw, or to use the clamping type connection, where the wire is inserted into the rear of the device and the screw tightened to secure it.
RJ

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Lately, all Levitan brand GFCI outlets come with clamp only connections. If you're using stranded wire, they're fine, however standard building wire is solid and I find that I'll tighten the clamp as much as I can on each wire, then as I push the receptacle into the box I usually notice the wires moving in the clamps. The movement of the outlet while installing the wires tends to loosen them. What I do is retighten each one just as I'm pushing it into the box. How many people, especially those with limited experience are even going to notice this. With a backstab, you can insert the wire, then pull on it to be sure it's in good, and if it's not you usually feel it. I'm not advocating the backstab method, especially for non professionals. When you turn the wire on a screw, you can both see and feel that you have a good connection

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On Sun, 15 May 2005 12:28:29 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

In all my years of doing wiring, I have never had the wires "turn" on the screws when pushing the outlet into the box. If they do, they were not tightened enough, or the wires were not wrapped all the way around the screw. I have had the wire break a few times, but that just happens sometimes and is ususlly caused by a little nick in the wire from stripping it, or wire that has been bent several times. I NEVER use the back stab holes. They simply are not safe, and in my opinion, should not be legal.
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We are talking about wires coming loose from clamps not screws

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Good experience input RBM, I thank you for the reply.
RJ

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posted for all of us... I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.

So I guess you don't like Square D equipment then? Breakers are screw clamped.
--

Tekkie

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Several circuit breaker manufacturers use clamp type connectors. The difference is that after you've clamped your wire on the breaker you don't have to push it in a box where you can't see if it's come loose hth

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