Pig Tailing outlets

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Rincon, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Mar 24, 2008 #1

    Rincon

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    Wanted to confirm a thing or two about pigtailing outlets. I am remodeling our basement and furring out the walls with 2x2's. I am at the point where I can start pulling my wire boxes out from the block walls to be flush with the new 2x2 studs. Can someone explain what I need to ensure I do when doing this? Pig tailing I mean. I have wire nuts and black electrical tape. Meaning wire nutting the wires together and then securing them with electrical tape. I am going to try and use extensions boxes when I can to add more room for the additional wire and nuts inside the box. I may not be able to add extension boxes on some, so is it OK to cram all the extra in a standard metal electrical single outlet box? Sorry for so many questions. Thank you for any advice.
     
  2. Mar 24, 2008 #2

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    First off, there is NO such thing as a "standard" electrical box. They come in all different sizes, depths and dimensions. This even more true when it comes to single gang boxes.

    Second, you are NOT "securing" the wire nut with tape. The wire nut is FINE without it if done properly. Tape is a security blanket for those who feel they need it. It serves NO purpose other than to make you feel better.
    This is why you never see a professional electrician tape wire nuts.

    Third, box fill is not affected by wire nuts and pigtails. If the box is big enough to being with it is fine with pigtails.
     
  3. Mar 24, 2008 #3

    kok328

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    Whenever you have the opportunity, I recommend wiring directly to the outlet (makes for one less connection to worry about). Thus, no wire nuts and concern about space in the box. 99% of my work has to be done live therefore, the only time I pigtail is when I anticipate having to remove a branch on the circuit.
     
  4. Mar 25, 2008 #4

    Parrothead

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    The ONLY time I don't use pigtails is when the receptacle in question is the last one in the line. Meaning there is wire feeding the receptacle, but no wire going out to the next one.
     
  5. Mar 25, 2008 #5

    Square Eye

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    LOL.. You guys :)

    3 electricians, 3 distinctly different ideas expressed here.

    Find 2 electricians who agree on everything and the world may come to an end!

    Personally, in a furring situation like this, I like 4square by 1 1/2" deep boxes with 1/2" plaster rings, when I have a wad of wire to deal with. The plaster ring centers the device and there is plenty of room on the sides to fold your wire in. Carelessly jamming and cramming wire into any box is good way to nick the insulation and cause a short. There aren't actually many boxes shallow enough to work with 2x2 furring. Some outdoor boxes will work, they have plenty of room inside also.
    PLUS, if you anticipate ANY moisture problems, they may actually help resist corrosion on your connections.


    And tape your wire nuts on if you want.. Who cares? lol
    I have often wrapped around my devices once with tape just for a little tiny extra precaution before I fasten them into the box. But then again, Who cares? :)
    Twist your wires together before you wirenut and keep the ends of the wire even. Wirenuts do help with the connection but you need to consider them just a protector. Make every effort you can to make a good splice before you wirenut and then the wirenut will have less excuse to fail.
     
  6. Mar 25, 2008 #6

    triple D

    triple D

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    Hi Rincon, hope all is well on your project. I'm a little slow...is there enough wire in the block wall to pull forward into a new box, or did you plan on tailing wires to extend them? Cause if this is the case, you will have to use an extention like you mentioned to allow access to box behind, this can not be left unaccessible. So make sure any connections you make are all accessible from boxes in new finished wall. Oh, and if you plan on tailing wires, you will want to strip a little over 1/2" off all of them then hold them all together at same length. Then put wire nut on and twist firmly till wires start to twist in your fingers. Then you have a proper connection. If there are boxes that you can't pull out to new wall, and extensions won't work for some reason, let us know, would love to help. Good luck.....
     
  7. Mar 25, 2008 #7

    Rincon

    Rincon

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    Thanks to all for the advice. Just when I think I give good info I seem to leave out some details. I actually have two scenarios.

    First scenario is for the exterior block walls. I am have been moving the existing boxes out to be flush with the new furred out drywall wall, however on a couple of the boxes after I do this there is not enough wire to reach the new plug. but enough still inside the box to tie onto. Whomever wired the house was stingy and did not leave much extra to work with.

    The second scenario is with an existing interior stud wall. It use to have paneling on it. I have since removed, and begun to hang drywall, well after my electrical is done anyway. The old outlets were installed with the holes on the back and not the screws on the sides. So when I cut the wire (because it wouldn't pull out easily even after pushing on the release) it leaves me with similar situation to scenario one. Meaning enough wire in the box to tie onto but not enough to reach the plug.

    I was looking at using extensions however thought it might be best if I could move the existing boxes out to be flush with the new wall.
    Guess it would be better to use the extensions on the outlets without the extra wire to allow for more room behind the recepticle inside the box.

    Also, just in case you wonder. I am replacing every plug-in and light switch with new ones. The old ones are so bad that most of them when I put a little stress on them to pull out of the box to work on, break (the plastic).

    Thanks again for all of your help.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2008 #8

    Rincon

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    Square Eye, I meant to say that on the block walls I am furring out with 2x2's there is more than adequate space behind them for the boxes because the exisitng boxes were mounted insde the block. So I am moving them directly out from where they were.

    The second scenario with the exisitng interior stud wall are actual 2x4 stud walls.

    Hope this helps make more since.
     
  9. Mar 28, 2008 #9

    kok328

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    re: pigtails. As I was wiring up my connections, I noticed the guy next to me was rigging up pigtails on all his outlets. When I mentioned that it was just another connection to worry about, a needless use of wire nuts, extra wire and TIME. He actually, had a good reason for wiring his outlets w/pigtails.
    Reason was, that if any one outlet burns up, you'll still have power to all the outlets downwind of the bad outlet. Without the pigtail, all outlets downwind of a bad outlet will also unnecesarily loose power.
    So there you have it. I'll now consider wiring pigtails unless it is the last outlet on the circuit or a dedicated circuit.
     
  10. Mar 28, 2008 #10

    handyguys

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    That is why your pigtail^^^^
    If you are not going to pigtail, at least use the screw and not the backstab connectors found on must .15c outlets. Oh, and as I recall pigtails are REQUIRED in some circumstances (two circuit, shared neutral). They may also be required for single circuits by local code.
     
  11. Mar 28, 2008 #11

    glennjanie

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    Pigtails also allow you to stuff all the bulk of wire back into the box and only contend with bending 3 wires into an 'S' pattern to allow the sw or rec to go in al lot easier.
    Glenn
     
  12. Mar 28, 2008 #12

    BimmerJon

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    I pigtail all my connections that way if one light or outlet goes out, the other ones dont follow! Then you have to test and trace all the outlets to find the bad one...

    A little extra work in the beginning saves a lot of time in the end...
     
  13. Mar 28, 2008 #13

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    If you make proper terminations and use the screws on a device they won't "go out".
     
  14. Mar 28, 2008 #14

    BimmerJon

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    I hear ya, but just in case. Outlets and lights DO fail sometimes. Its not impossible.

    Then again, youre the electrician and Im the network engineer, so this is your game ;)
     
  15. Mar 29, 2008 #15

    speedy petey

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    You are absolutely correct.

    Thing is, the number of times a receptacle will actually fail, I will take the chance and do it the approved and common way and use the screws. IMO to pigtail in a residence is useless overkill and only done to be self satisfying, like saying: "I do a better job. I pigtail."
    Even the cheapest $.39 receptacle is rated and capable of carrying and passing through ANY circuit it is legally installed on. The key is more workmanship than parts failure.

    Commercially, where it is likely that you will have to replace devices live, I can totally see the merit in it. In a residence you DO NOT have to work live and nothing is so critical (other than maybe medical equipment, but that's a different and rare situation).
     
  16. Mar 29, 2008 #16

    BimmerJon

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    Good Points.

    How do you feel about using the holes. I mean not using the screws and using the backplate holes. I know Im not using the right wording. lol

    Where you insert the wire into the slot in the back.
     
  17. Mar 29, 2008 #17

    kok328

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    The only "hole" connection I will use is the type where the lug actually pulls a flag closed onto the wire. I work strictly with single stranded wire. I would never use the stab in outlet types for stranded or solid core.
     
  18. Mar 29, 2008 #18

    Parrothead

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    We call it "backstabbing". Those connections don't last, and IMHO are just a fire waiting to happen.
     
  19. Mar 29, 2008 #19

    Square Eye

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    Stab locks are legal to code and as long as they are, people will continue to use them.

    I see screws vs. stab locks much like this. If someone were to invent and market a drive on replacement for a lug nut on your car, would you use them or stick with the security and time tested and proven lug nuts that we've been using all of these years?

    It only takes a few seconds longer to wrap a wire around a screw and tighten. I have never left a job wondering how long a screw would hold a copper wire. The connection is much better, The surface area from wire to device in constant contact is much greater and the binding pressure much stronger when you use a screw rather than with a stab lock.
     
  20. Mar 30, 2008 #20

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    What Parrot and KOK said!!!
     

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