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.
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
I think "back stabbed" is the correct term, in meaning. Double meaning, yes,
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
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.
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
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.
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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