wire nuts and electrical tape

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by beekerc, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm primarily looking for opinions of the pro's here, but even if you're not, i'd like your thoughts on.....

    1) push in wire connectors vs traditional wire nuts.

    personally i like the push in, however, they do lack the release pin like back-stab connectors, so they're a little more permanent tha wire nuts, especially if you made a mistake or need to retro-fit something.

    2) wrapping receptacles and switches in e-tape so that wires (esp naked ground wires) don't touch hot terminal screws causing a short.

    in practice it seems like a good idea, and it doesn't take a lot of time or effort, but then again, i'm not installing dozens of outlets day/in and day/out. I did notice that Cooper makes an outlet that has rubber/plastic covers that snap in place on the side, covering the screw terminals, but i haven't been able to find them in retail or distributor locations yet.

    Thanks
    B
  2. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    I use wirenuts, and I don't use tape. I'm a professional, plain and simple. :D
  3. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    I'm wire nuts all the way.

    And I see no need to wrap electrical tape around switches or outlets. If a metal box, it would be grounded. And plastic would not conduct electricity. Also I first push my bare ground wires into the back of the box, then the hot and neutrals over that, so the hot screws would not be touching a bare ground wire.
  4. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Wire nuts and no tape.
  5. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    I have found some places that I need the push in connectors because the wire was to short.
    I have taped and will continue to tape.
  6. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Wire nuts. Except when we're doing ballast replacements in fluorescent lights. The space in most light fixtures is so tight and small push in connectors take up less room. I don't have any objection to push in connectors used elsewhere, if they're UL listed for the application. It's just a new idea and I fear new ideas. But who knows, someday we might all be using them.

    I rarely tape electrical outlets but have done it if a box seem a little crowded. Again, I don't fault anyone who does it regularly. I wear a belt and suspenders sometimes.
  7. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    I use wire nuts and tape. I admit it is is a little crazy (nutty) to use both.

    There really is no reason to use the tape if the wire nuts are installed correctly. If the wire nuts are not installed correctly then you should not be depending on the tape.

    Personally, I prefer to use stranded wire. It seems like it is easier to work with.

    Steve
  8. rayh78

    rayh78 Member

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have seen to many of the back stab outlets go bad.
    Guess is the spring connector heats up a little and loses spring tension for connection.
  9. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    i don't think the OP is talking about back stab breakers. I think he's talking about the push in type connectors that work like wire nuts.

    Oh wait...same principal, I get it.
  10. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    I was actually referring to taping around outlets and switches to protect the screw contacts from shorting out if the touch a naked ground wire.

    however, you do bring up a valid point about taping over the wire nuts and the wire - sort of a make-shift strain relief. to this end, i have only done nuts and tape when making connections in the circuit breaker panel connecting home-run wires to jumper wires feeding the generator transfer switch. i normal outlet boxes, where i have put wire nuts, i do trust the nuts to hold and do their job.

    MG is correct, i was not talking about back-stab connectors on outlets and switches. I don't use them, although the original builders of the house did as every receptacle or switch that i have pulled out has been that style. oddly enough i just picked up a leviton 1-gang stacked switch for a fan/heater/light /nightlight in the bathroom and it only had back-stab connector, but they were rated for both 14ga and 12ga wire.

    i hand't thought of the fact that back stab and push-in nuts are essentially the same thing. my biggest problen with backstabs though is the little push to release tab is not very reliable and more times than not, i've had to cut off the wire to get the device out. giving up 3/4" of copper doesn't seem like a lot, but when you've only got an inch or two of working length (remember - original installation) that 0.75 inches is huge. I don't have a scientific basis as to why I feel more comfortable with push-in nuts than I do back-stab connectors, but I do. maybe that gut feeling is misplaced, maybe it's not, but that's why i like discussion forums like this. :)
  11. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    * I always tape the outlets. Our area requires metal boxes and metal conduit, it just seems like having a ground that close to a hot wire is a little tempting. My grandfather (an electrician) also taped his recepticals. It may be a genetic abnormality.

    I hate back-stab connectors. A nice solid threaded fastener clamping down on the wire really seems better.

    Steve
  12. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Some people try to unscrew outlets and switches from the box to take them out to have a look at wiring without first shutting the breaker. I, personally would always shut the breaker first. But it makes it easier to grab the outlet or switch without worrying about touching a termianal screw and getting a shock if it's wrapped in tape.
  13. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    We still use wire nuts.

    I only tape switch/recep terminals in a few cases.

    1. Working hot with a small metal box where there is only like 1/4" clearance.

    2. If I am installing devices before drywall in a remodel situation. I know the drywaller will have to pull them out and hang/tape around them so I make it safe for him.

    3. Kitchen backsplashes where the granite/tile guys have to remove/replace the devices.
  14. rgsgww

    rgsgww New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Ia
    I pretwist with wire nuts, don't tape them, use screws or backwiring, may tape receptacles.
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