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General Contractor
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm refering to quick wiring as the 'bad' method of sticking the wire into the back of the receptacle or switch instead of side wiring it (wrapping it around the terminal). Anyway, it came up in conversation a while ago that when these fail, the wire usually bad/loose is the neutral. Anyone know why?
 

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DGR,IABD
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Anyway, it came up in conversation a while ago that when these fail, the wire usually bad/loose is the neutral. Anyone know why?
I think you got bad information. Backstabs certainly fail, but the neutral connection, in particular, certainly does not fail with any greater frequency.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Ditto to MD. They're not like buttered toast.

...but I've seen plenty of 'em just plain toasted.
 

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Service & Repairs
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I'm refering to quick wiring as the 'bad' method of sticking the wire into the back of the receptacle or switch instead of side wiring it (wrapping it around the terminal). Anyway, it came up in conversation a while ago that when these fail, the wire usually bad/loose is the neutral. Anyone know why?

Nothing wrong with back-stabbing a receptacle.

They are UL approved and if they were wrong or unsafe they wouldn't be.
 

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DGR,IABD
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Just to add, there is nothing particularly "wrong" in the most liberal sense of the word with backstabbing receptacles. It is quite legal, but there are better ways. A screw termination is better. Pigtailing is better.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Nothing wrong with back-stabbing a receptacle.

They are UL approved and if they were wrong or unsafe they wouldn't be.
You may be [mostly] technically correct, but why do you suppose that after some years of experience with allowing both 12 and 14 gauge to be connected that way, we are now only allowed to backstab 14 gauge?

Those little springs only give you point contact, much less surface area involved than with any other accepted method. That means higher resistance, which means more heat generated when current flows. Over time, all those heating/cooling cycles are just about guaranteed to deteriorate the connection--leading to even higher resistance and more heat, along with the very real probability of arcing and/or intermittent contact (the spring loses its temper as well).

I long ago lost count of how many switches and outlets I've troubleshot for that problem. Or for that matter, how many of 'em just blew fire out of the wall and nearly burned the house down.

The only reason we're still allowed to do it with 14 gauge is because the lower current levels take longer to do the same damage. I fully expect the practice to be outlawed altogether some time in the next few years.
 

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Handle It!
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You may be [mostly] technically correct, but why do you suppose that after some years of experience with allowing both 12 and 14 gauge to be connected that way, we are now only allowed to backstab 14 gauge?

Those little springs only give you point contact, much less surface area involved than with any other accepted method. That means higher resistance, which means more heat generated when current flows. Over time, all those heating/cooling cycles are just about guaranteed to deteriorate the connection--leading to even higher resistance and more heat, along with the very real probability of arcing and/or intermittent contact (the spring loses its temper as well).

I long ago lost count of how many switches and outlets I've troubleshot for that problem. Or for that matter, how many of 'em just blew fire out of the wall and nearly burned the house down.

The only reason we're still allowed to do it with 14 gauge is because the lower current levels take longer to do the same damage. I fully expect the practice to be outlawed altogether some time in the next few years.

Can not get a 12 in them thar holes!!! Kinda reminds me uv my liddlest sister last year. Yee Ha! Get er done!!

(Same mentality as back stabbers!)
 

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Service & Repairs
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Service & Repairs
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You may be [mostly] technically correct, but why do you suppose that after some years of experience with allowing both 12 and 14 gauge to be connected that way, we are now only allowed to backstab 14 gauge?

Those little springs only give you point contact, much less surface area involved than with any other accepted method. That means higher resistance, which means more heat generated when current flows. Over time, all those heating/cooling cycles are just about guaranteed to deteriorate the connection--leading to even higher resistance and more heat, along with the very real probability of arcing and/or intermittent contact (the spring loses its temper as well).

I long ago lost count of how many switches and outlets I've troubleshot for that problem. Or for that matter, how many of 'em just blew fire out of the wall and nearly burned the house down.

The only reason we're still allowed to do it with 14 gauge is because the lower current levels take longer to do the same damage. I fully expect the practice to be outlawed altogether some time in the next few years.

Great post. And I totally agree.

That is why I always use the terminals and not the stab-loks.
 

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Backstabs

I got in nice phone fight with a big electrical contractor over this topic last year. I got a call for an arc Fault breaker kicking off all the time. Basically, it was the brushes in Ceiling fan. I said well, either replace your fan or swap the arc fault because thats what was kicking it (isolated that). There were also a couple loose neutrals causing some flickering in some lights. Everything was backstabbed and fed through device and the 2 rec. I took out the neutral basically came right out as I pulled them out. .......When the EC found out I swapped the Arc Fault he got hightly irate and said I could not touch his property and he was going to make sure I never worked again in that part of town and yada yada....I said look buddy...I never backstabbed a device and never will even though it's legal. If there is going to be a fire it's going to be because you backstab all your stuff NOT because I took out one arc fault and if your so worried about peoples safety why didnt you put arc faults on all the circuits anyhow? no response I'm sure on a massive scale thats saves you lots of money overall, but seriously, anyone that likes to do quality work generally never backstabs.

2 cents
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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If all of his stuff is backstabbed, I'm not so sure that getting rid of an arc fault breaker is ultimately the best move.
 

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forgot to mention

oh..btw...when I did that I changed all of the whopping 3 outlets and one switch and rewired ceiling fan in that room. It was a dedication arc fault on that bedroom. sorry forgot to mention that
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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oh..btw...when I did that I changed all of the whopping 3 outlets and one switch and rewired ceiling fan in that room. It was a dedication arc fault on that bedroom. sorry forgot to mention that
In that case, Thou Art Forgiven. Uh... unless you're governed by the 2008 NEC, which mandates arc faults in such a circuit? :whistling
 
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