You friend was lucky. Our house had all (orignall) outlets backstabbed. One
in the family room burned up for some unkown reason (short? arc?). Our
insurance company not only paid for the repair of the 3' x 3' hole the
firefighters had to make in the dry wall to make sure the small insulation
fire was out, but they paid to have an electrican replace that outlet AND
rewire every other outlet in the house to use the terminal screws.
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
I concur that you should have more than one receptacle circuit. I would
also put the refrigerator on its own circuit. Here in New Jersey it is
required to have at least one GFI receptacle in the unfinished space and it
is also a requirement to have a three way switch at the top and bottom of
the basement stairs for the lights near and over the stairs. We are also
required to have a ceiling mounted interconnected smoke detector within
three feet of the bottom step of the basement stairs. You should also have
a GFI receptacle near the furnace/air conditioning/water heater space for
You might also want to install cable TV and phone jacks in a few places.
What do you mean when you say: "Be sure to pigtail out when you land
the outlets." ?
I'm looking at a wiring diagram in my DIY book and I think I see what
you're talking about. But, what's the purpose of the pigtails? They
don't look like they perform any function..
I think they mean: before installing the outlet, install a 6" wire to
the receptacle connectors. Then, connect *that* to the box wiring.
This gives you extra pull out room and lets you leave the box
wiring mostly alone for swaping the unit out. Probably has some other
benefits as well.
You might have to use larger boxes to handle the extra wire.
May no harm befall you,
Ich habe keine Ahnung was das bedeutet, oder vielleicht doch?
By pigtailing you avoid the chance that a loose connection on any one outlet
would affect the downstream outlets. It is especially important when using
12-3 to pigtail the neutrals. This way if you have to replace an outlet,
you don't "open" your neutral circuit to the downstream outlets. It's just
good practice to never use the outlet as a connection by putting 4 wires on
If you had to replace an outlet, you'd have the breaker off at the panel,
wouldn't you? Why would you care what happened downstream on a dead circuit
I looked in a recent addition of "Wiring Simplified" and they show
pigtailing only when the wire feeding the outlet box goes on to another
circuit, and not just the string of outlets. They clearly show a string of
outlets connected by the two pairs of screws on each side. Their only
caveat is that code prohibits more than one wire under a screw terminal.
That just means you have no choice but to continue the string of outlets
until the end and not wire in any other devices. If they were wrong, I
would have hoped someone would have noticed by the 38th edition. :-)
I ask because in the new home construction I've encountered, not only were
the outlets chained together, they were backstabbed together. Now that's
asking for trouble, but for a different reason. Those connections can
vibrate loose and if they're on an outside wall, they can work loose by
expansion and contraction.
From what I've seen adding more connections to the outlet box doesn't
increase reliability. If you pigtail you've got two extra "three wires to
one wire nut" connections for each outlet. I've come across more than one
"three wire nut" that's got one wire popped out of it.
It takes strong hands and a good eye to cut, strip and twist three stiff
wires into a nut that will survive repacking into the back of the box. It's
not a problem for an electrical pro, but for people doing their own electric
al work, it seems a lot easier and lot more reliable if they just daisy
chain the outlets using the screw terminals.
I'm still not clear on why it would be preferable for even an electrician to
make three connections (pigtail) when he could just as easily make only two
(pass-thru), especially when we're talking about a string of outlets on a
dedicate breaker. What am I missing?
In my case, i think the problem is that the neutral wire is shared
between the two alternating circuits. So if the continuity of the
neutral circuit is interrupted because of a bad outlet or something,
pigtailing will avoid that problem. Anyway, that's my take. Both my
Black & Decker DIY books show pigtailing and thats the recommendation I
see in these groups so that's with I'M gonna do. :-)
I like pigtailing daisy-chained devices, mainly to avoid the wrestling
getting the device into or flush with the box. 4 or 5 short stiff 12-gauge
wires can be quite uncooperative to fold up and tuck into a small space. And
on some lamp bases I recently hung in the basement, the screw tabs for the
wires were flimsy enough that they wanted to bend with 4 wires attached. I
did the pigtails, folded the feedwires and nuts up tight into the box, and
only had to deal with 2 wires when pushing everything up into place. Much
It's not uncommon to see shared neutral circuits to not be tiebarred
together in the panel. Someone naively turning off one breaker, and
pulling out the outlet breaking the neutral (he doesn't get zapped
unless something is live and pulling power on the other leg) can
result in rather nasty things happening. Especially if the first
breaker is turned back on. That downstream may not really be dead
in a shared neutral.
It happened often enough for our code to require neutral pigtails
at least on shared neutral circuits. As yours does.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Instead of "daisy chaining" the outlet with the supply going to one screw
and the downstream loand going to the other, you connect the supply, load,
and a small "pigtail" wire together with a wirenut and then wire the pigtail
to a screw on the outlet.
This is especially important for the neutral on a 3 wire "Edison" type
circuit where you have 2 hots and a netrual e.g., 12-3, in the box. In this
case you really have 2 circuits (opposite phases, usually black and red
sharing the same white netural wire. The reason this works is because the
worst case is one circuit (say, the red wire) is fully loaded and the other
one (back wire) is unused. Then you have the same current in the white wire
as the red one which is OK. As you begin to add load to the black wire, the
opposing phase current in the white wire actually cancels out the other and
you have less current in the neutral (white) wire. If both hot wires carried
exactly the same load, there would be NO current in the neutral.
If one of the outlets is removed or fails or a connection comes loose, and
the neutral is not pigtailed, the downstream outlets will suddenly have 240v
across them and be wired in series. Light bulbs turn blue and go pop; other
devices fail in more spectacular ways.
Originally, our house not only had several of these circuits with no
pigtails, but the neutral wires were backstabbed into the outlets. My skin
crawls just thinking about it. It's all been converted now.
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
a 10 receptable per breaker is good common sense rule.
espically if you ever lived in a home like mine where way too many
outlets were on the same circuit.
hey turn the fan and blender off so i can turn on the floodlight to put
out the garbage:(
I have upgraded endlessely to fix such issues....
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