Screw vs. Backstab Receptacles

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by molo, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Hello All,

    Is one method better than the other? Backstab seems like it would be quicker, but is it better? I am replacing the receptacles in a couple of rooms. I bought 15amp receptacles with ground. The receptacles that are there are 2-hole. The boxes are metal and the ground wire is attached to the box.


    TIA,
    Molo
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I have always heard it is better to use the screw connections. The clips in the others can become weak and leave loose connections ... such as when my window air conditioner quit last year. The spring tab had allowed the wire to somehow actually come all the way out of place, and that surely could have been a fire in the making.
  3. Wet Willy

    Wet Willy New Member

    Messages:
    14
    I used the backstab in my parents cabin and was hit by lighting and blasted all of the wires right out of the sockets do not use them at all. Just like Lee said it is a fire just waiting to happen.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The so called back stab devices are UL approved, for 14 guage wire only. They do have a history that over time, the fairly flimsy mechanical spring connection to the wire can get loose, causing problems. I do not use them around my house. You will typically find that building contractors use them the time because they are much less costly and much faster to put in.

    I always prefer the type where a wire inserts straight into an opening on the back, and when you tighten the screw, it clamps the wire. Very fast and very secure.
  5. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    No......no it doesn't.
  7. kd

    kd New Member

    Messages:
    207
    The resolution is to use the screws only.
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The End

    See that wasn't so hard.
  9. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Based on reading the EXTENSIVE threads that the links lead to, It appears that it is a matter of correct procedure regardless of the method. I will go with the screws, I do wonder if these should be applied with a torque wrench?

    Molo
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, I have read here and lots of other forums on the internet the disdain of electricians for backstab, and yet they continue to be the device-of-choice in new construction. See it all the time.

    I just have one more comment.....PUTTY OR SILICONE?
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I ONLY see it in tract homes and mods. If a real electrician has to cut this very short corner to make ends meet he needs to find other ways to save money.
  12. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Mabe that is one reason for the backstab connections in the first place, so absent-minded or careless folks do not leave them loose.
  13. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The very worse combination I have come across is outlets back stabbed with aluminum wire.
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
  15. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    That link's not working, Mike.


    Unable to process request

    Http status 404
    File not found or unable to run file
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
  17. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689

    Come on SLACKERS!!!


    The more important issue is???? Are those metal boxes grounded? If not, that ground wire aint doin much.

    If you are going from 2 prong to 3 prong with no ground available you must use GFCI protection.

    The theory is that someone will assume they are grounded (by looking at the 3 prong configuation) and get hurt (by means of a faulty tool etc.) as a result.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Alectrician....your not doing your home work.....read the first post that has all pertinent info of the question.
  19. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Cass - he clearly read the original post, he even quoted it - but the "ground wire" could mean "ground wire between the receptacle and the box" - it's not clear in the OP.

    And even if Molo meant the ground wire coming from the panel; if it's old work, he should check to make sure it's actually grounded. Wouldn't be the first time a green wire didn't actually connect to anything.

    There was, however, no reason to call everyone slackers... :)
  20. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    More info

    The ground is coming from the box. I would like to make sure it is grounded, how can I do this? Also, my original thought is that replacing the 12 outlets with new ones was a job I could do myself. I see that there are concerns when doing a project like this, and that is why I originally posted. Do you pros think this is a project I should DIY?

    TIA,
    Molo
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