Outlet Rating verses Wire Size

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Old 11-21-02, 11:11 PM
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cyberexec
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Outlet Rating verses Wire Size

I have recently rewired several of my rooms in my home, and after reading several post regarding the wattage ratings, here is what puzzles me. The outlets I used are rated at 15A, 125V. I bought several contractors pack, and the instructions state that you can put 14 - 10 gauge wire on the lugs. The quick connects on the back only allow 14 gauge. If the instructions state that you can use 12 or 10 gauge wire at the lugs, aren't you over loading the outlet, and creating a hazard. I used 12 NM wire for my rooms, but now I am concerned that I have the potential to over power the outlet with 2500 watt rated wire, and 1875 watt rated outlet. The breakers are 20 Amp. Why would the manufacturer state you can use higher rated wire than the outlet is rated for?
 
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Old 11-22-02, 05:09 AM
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The national electric code permits the use of 15 amp receptacles on a 20A circuit. Since it is a 20A circuit, you must have #12 minimum.
The code is a minimum standard only, so by code its ok, but many people like to put 20A receptacles on 20A circuits.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 06:46 AM
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At least 99% of all the receptacles on 20-amp circuits in the United States are 15-amp receptacles. I wouldn't spend another minute worrying about it.

You misunderstand what the 15-amp rating means. It means that it accepts only 15-amp plugs, not that it's going to melt if you run more than 15 amps through it. A $2 15-amp receptacle is as good as a $2 20-amp receptacle, and both are a lot better than a 35 cent receptacle.

The largest wire that you can backstab is 14. The largest wire you should backstab is ... well, you shouldn't backstab any wires. If you use larger than 14, you must use the screws. But you should use the screws even for 14 if you want to do a good job.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 08:19 AM
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cweaver73
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Back Stabbing

If back stabbing is no good, why do they continue to make this option available in a plug/switch?

as a DIY, it is a lot quicker. But should I stop back stabbing?

Is it a personal preference thing or are there safety/performance reasons not to backstab?
 
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Old 11-22-02, 08:44 AM
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It is personal preference. It is quicker for the DIY as well as the pro's. It is UL Listed (hence tested) for termination of #14awg conductors.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 08:58 AM
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texsparky
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Try this

Remove the mounting screws of a backstabbed device.grasp the device and pull on it.Did the wires pull out? Now try this with a receptacle that has the wires under the screws. Which seems like a better connection?
 
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Old 11-22-02, 09:08 AM
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Now whom will be inside your wall device box to pull on the conductors in real life?
Clearly a visable mechanical connection with screws will have more stregnth, but is it needed? UL doesn't think so, or they would pull their listing on the devices.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 09:22 AM
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Jason A R
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Im sure the $2 receptacle is better then the 35cent ones.
But why? any one know?
 
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Old 11-22-02, 12:32 PM
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After being on this forum for over a year, and reading all sorts of archived posts as well as current ones, I've seen quite a number of posts where people are having circuit problems that end up being corrected when they move their backstabbed connections to the screws.

Obviously no one is going to pull on all your receptacles (unless, maybe you have a buch of 2 and 3 year olds running around ), but I'm sure the expansion and contraction from the heating and cooling of the wires over years of use can affect those connections.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 12:33 PM
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hotarc
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The $2 receptacle is much more durable. It is made of tougher materials. The mounting strap is a lot stronger and usually wraps around the back of the device. Plus they have wiring terminals like GFCIs with holes to insert the wires into and screws to tighten clamps down on them.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 02:46 PM
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[QUOTE][Originally posted by HandyRon
UL doesn't think so, or they would pull their listing on the devices.

No one from UL will come out to your house and troubleshoot that loose connection for you though. or help you rebuild after the fire
 
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Old 11-22-02, 04:36 PM
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Exclamation

I've troubleshot many houses with loss of power on the recepticle circuits. the first thing I look for is backstabbed recepts, as 95% of the time it is due is to connections that have gotten loose, through expansion/ shrinking, overloading, or the minimum contact area of the backstabbed connections. It's usually the neutral wire. Do yourself a favor and wrap the wire around the terminals, unless you've got recepts with a built in compression connector. 15 amp recepts are rated to use on a 20 amp circuit with 12 ga nm as long as you have 2 or more on the circuit. If you only have 1 recept on the circuit it must be rated 20A
 
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Old 11-22-02, 06:03 PM
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The last four posts are excellent information.
 
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Old 11-22-02, 11:33 PM
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cyberexec
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Follow up...

Thanks you all for all the feed back. One last comment regarding the $2 receptacles. The reason I buy the contracts pack of receptacles is because I can bet all those home builders out there put the least expensive UL rated receptacles they can find in those new homes they build. If itís good enough for them why should I spend the extra $1.65? Actually I thing I paid 22 cents for them. I think Iíll take Johnís advice and not spend another minute worrying about it. Thank all of you for your excellent post.
 
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Old 11-23-02, 07:47 AM
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HBB
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cyberexec ...

Before you go consider this:

Do you think "Professional" printed on a tool package guarantees it's built stronger and more reliable for professional use?

If you do, then prepare to be disillusioned. Printing "professional" on a package is no different than calling a bulk package of 10 switches or receptacles a "contractor's pak." It doesn't mean the're professional, contractor-grade material -- it just means you might save a few cents buying 10 instead of one.

I've seen scads of cheap products sold as "professional grade" and when you check out where it's manufactured, there it is -- Made in Taiwan, China, etc., etc. And that "professional" claim disintegrates just about as fast as the product itself does under use -- fast.

It's all hype and nothing more. You get what you pay for.

As for the receptacle, if you've got 12 AWG wiring on a 20-amp breaker, why not just spend a few extra pennies for a quality combination 15/20-amp receptacle?

And backstabs? They should be outlawed altogether.
 
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