I added a new outlet in my basement this past weekend. I ganged it off an
existing 15 amp circuit and put the outlet below the light switch. I wired
it with 14/2 Romex.
I had intended to use a 15 amp GFI outlet, since I may be using long
extension cords from this outlet for possible outdoor uses. When I stripped
the final 1/2" or so off the Hot and Neutral, I found that the wire appeared
to be too "skinny" to connect into the holes in the GFI outlet. In other
words, the wire bottomed out in the hole but didn't "catch". I realize I
could have used the screw attachments, but decided against it, thinking
there might be an incompatibility somehwere.
I pulled out a standard outlet and the wires fit as expected. Still
wouldn't mind using the GFI if I can figure out why it didn't work right.
Can somebody set me straight?
Are you sure that you really had a "push in" outlet?
Some outlets have holes going in from the back in which the side screws
are used to clamp securely down on the wires.
Check it out, that might be it.
Several folks will tell you to ***NEVER*** use those holes.
*IF* they work when new, they will most certainly cause you issues later.
ALWAYS use the connection secured by a screw. There are outlets that have
the rear holes that have the wire held in by the side screws. These should
Are you sure the backstab holes aren't actually clamp connections that
are tightened up when you tighten the screws? All the GFCI receptacles
I've installed are like that and also some "spec grade" regular receps.
And again, if they are *not* like that, who cares? Only hacks use the
"push and lock" backstab connections.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
OK, thanks all. I was under the mistaken impression that the push-holes
were the desired usage when available. Guess I have a few other outlets I
Call me curious, but just why is using the holes such a bad idea? Seems
pretty straightforward and idiot-proof, assuming the wire fits ;-)
I've had outlets (not switches so often) go "bad" on me, and when I
pulled them out to check the wiring, the problem ALWAYS was that the
backstabbed wires had over time pullled out. Reattaching them
properly using the screws solved each problem. I, of course, was not
the one who installed the outlets using the holes; I only use the
screws because I only want to do the job once.
Because you only have this small piece of spring steel that makes a
connection in less than 1/32 of an inch. It's a poor connection and
all the power has to flow thru that tiny piece of steel. When using
screws, you have a half inch or more of the wire clamped under the
screw. If you plug a large amperage device into a back stab outlet
(like an electric space heater), that small steel clamp can overheat.
It then loses it's springyness from the heat. Once that happens, the
wire is loose and then the heat builds up more. This can cause a fire
or at least cause the outlet to fail. In my opinion, these backstab
holes should have been banned long ago.
The holes on a spec grade device (or on GFCI outlets) are FINE to use.
As others have mentioned, you have to tighten the screw, so the wire is
squeezed between two flat plates of metal.
The ones on cheaper devices are the problem. The connection is made by
a pair of pieces of metal that "bite" into the wire and hold in a ratchet
fashion. The "bite" weakens the wire a bit, and when you move it a bit
to stuff the device into the box with the wiring behind it, the wire gets
weakened a bit more.
"I really think Canada should get over to Iraq as quickly as possible"
Every GFI I have ever used has holes on the back that clamp the wire
when you tighten the screws. You dont wrap the wire on the screws
like a standard outlet. Strip wire as shown in device or
instructions. Stick it in the hole according to the color code.
Tighten the screws. You're done.....
These are some of the easiest devices to wire.
The old "back stab" outlets aren't used any more. They used to have some
metal teeth that grabbed the wire. Now days, you slip the wire in, and
tighten the screw on the side.
It's also fine to loop the wire around the screw, and tighten that way.
I've never seen a Romex wire gauge (tool for measuring). I mostly just read
the packaging to determine the gage (size) of the wire. Where did you find a
The outlet did come with instructions, right?
I\'m Christopher A. Young;
and, I approved this message.
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