pigtails at receptacles in midstream

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Old 10-28-05, 09:29 AM
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pigtails at receptacles in midstream

Is it necessary to always use pigtails at a receptacle when extending a circuit? That is, it is ok to just connect both whites to the two silver terminals on one side of the recetacle and both blacks to the brass terminals on the other side, or do you have to pigtail them?

Thanks for help with this and past postings. I have really learned a great deal from you all.
 
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Old 10-28-05, 09:35 AM
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Nope, no pigtail needed in this case.
 
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Old 10-28-05, 10:26 AM
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Pigtail for the neutral would be required if it were a multiwire circuit (2 hots and 1 neutral).
 
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Old 10-28-05, 10:47 AM
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No pigtail is required except in special circumstances (such as multiwire circuits). Some people prefer to pigtail, but it is not required.
 
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Old 10-28-05, 02:01 PM
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I was interested to hear about the pigtail exception in the case of multiwire circuits, for while not the motivation for my original question, this raised another point.

I know that I have a multiwire 20 amp circuit feeding part of the kitchen: two outlets in the kitchen are on one of the circuits in the multiwire feed and a kitchen outlet and overhead light are on the other of the two (with a shared neutral between them, of course). I know this cause I have traced them to a junction box in the cellar where the 12/3 wire is spilt into two legs of 12/2 running up into the kitchen. I will have to look into the outlet boxes to double check the status on these and see to it that they are changed to pigtails if they are not wired as such.

But just for the sake of learning more, can you tell me why this is an issue? Am I on the right track in assuming that it has something to do with overloading the neutral?

Thanks
 
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Old 10-28-05, 02:38 PM
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The requirement to pigtail the neutral only applies before the circuit is split. In your case, two separate 120 volt circuits exit the junction box in the basement, so there would be no requirement to pigtail after the junction box.

The reason for the pigtailed neutral requirement is to prevent two or more devices from seeing 240 volts across them. Consider the case where the neutral wire is broken at a particular location. This might happen if a back stabbed neutral came undone (I cringe to think about a back stabbed connection anywhere, but especially on a multi wire circuit), or if a receptacle were swapped out and improperly replaced.

If there are two devices (or more) after the break and they are on opposite sides of the circuit they will see some component of 240 volts instead of the 120 volts they expect. The actual voltage they see depends on the devices and their current requirements. This would not be a good thing.
 
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