basic wiring dilema

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  #1  
Old 12-11-05, 04:13 PM
novicehandyman
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basic wiring dilema

Please. I am replacing a few 15 amp outlets in my kitchen and am stumped. The white wire appears to one guage and the black wire seems to be a larger guage. Because of this the black wire does not fit into the quick connect hole but must be attached to the side screw. I've never seen 2 different guage wires like this. Should this take a different type outlet and am I wrong in attaching to the side screw instead of the quick connect hole (which doesn't fit cause it's too small). The white wire fits into the hole. Can someone please explain this to me. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-11-05, 04:20 PM
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Are you in Canada, or in the U.S., or elsewhere?

Is the circuit breaker 15 amps, or 20 amps?

It is highly unusual for the two wires to be different gauges, but not inherently dangerous as long as the breaker is a 15-amp breaker. It sounds like the white wire is #14, and the black wire is #12. For the best quality job, you should use the side screws for both wires, and not use those unreliable quick-connect holes (called backstabs).
 
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Old 12-11-05, 04:34 PM
novicehandyman
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basic wiring dilema

Thanks John. I am in US. This is fairly new high rise condo building about 25 yrs old. On closer look the original recepticle is for #12 or #14 solid wire. The new replacement outlets are for push in #14 only or I can use the side screws. I wasn't sure if this made any difference. I'm sure it's a 15 amp circuit but I see that 2 or more outlets are controlled by the same breaker. Is this the reason for the heavier guage black wires? This is in the kitchen and it's pretty much for a toaster or coffee maker or other small appliance.
 
  #4  
Old 12-11-05, 04:40 PM
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There's no rational reason for the different wire sizes. Perhaps that just what the electrician had in the truck.

Are you in the Chicago area? Or maybe NYC?
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-05, 06:24 PM
novicehandyman
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basic wiring dilema

Thanks for the info. I feel better knowing I'm not crazy. I'm in Minnesota. Nothing surprises me about what the original developer did when they built this building. We've found out a lot of places where they went cheap to save a few bucks and maybe this was one of them. Switches and outlets went up pretty easy. This is almost the last of my 9 month remodel the kitchen project. Mostly detail work like this left. It's been slow but mostly in spare time. My wife is impressed. She didn't know I had other talents too.
 
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