Wire nuts nuts nuts

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by bbruck, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. bbruck

    bbruck New Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    I have a couple simple (?) questions about using wire nuts. I am swapping out my old lighting switches for some newer Insteon (home automation) switches. These switches have stranded wires come out of them.

    1. What is the proper way to wire two copper wires with one or more stranded wires? Out of the electrical box, the copper wires have all been pre-twisted with pliers - very professional looking. Do I simply put the two twisted coppers (still twisted) in the wire nut next to the stranded and twist the wire nut? Cut off the twisted copper ends and try and re-pre-twist with the stranded included? (Pliers don't grab right.) What's the secret?

    2. As a matter of curiousity, when wiring a new outlet, how much of the romex sheathing do you generally cut off - i.e., what length of individual sheathed wire do you leave?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Jun 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    The code requires at least three inches of free conductor outside the box so be careful about cutting.
    At least one quarter inch of the sheathing must enter past any clamp.

    Not trying to sound ugly but if you don’t know how to install a wire nut then hire someone to install the switches.
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego
    strip the stranded wire longer, at least an inch, and definitely pretwist it around the bundle of solids.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Feb 6, 2011
    Information Technology
    NW Ontario, Canada
    If there are 2 solid conductors mating with a stranded, it's pretty easy. Properly mating 1 solid to 1 stranded is more of a challenge. Take care not to nick the stranded when stripping, strip it long as jimbo suggests, twisting it in the direction the Marr will turn, and make sure the end of the stranded goes a little past the end of the solid. When twisting the Marr, hold both wires firmly so the stranded doesn't spin around the solid.
  6. bbruck

    bbruck New Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    Thanks, all. Just the information I needed.
  7. ianrtech

    ianrtech New Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Petaluma, CA
    i like to put a 3rd solid wire in and use this pig tail for hooking up switches or dimmers. thow the blue wire nut out and use an orange one for the dimmer
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
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