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Putting #12 wire into quick wire holes on standard 15 amp duplex receptacle

Putting #12 wire into quick wire holes on standard 15 amp duplex receptacle

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  #1  
Old 01-12-11, 04:58 PM
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Question Putting #12 wire into quick wire holes on standard 15 amp duplex receptacle

I am replacing 20 year old duplex outlets with new decorator style outlets. The old outlets were quick wired into the back. The wiring is #12. New outlets apparently don't allow this and are limited to #14 wire. Unfortunately, whoever wired the house didn't leave a whole lot of wire in the boxes since they were quick wired and it is going to be problematic to try to get all four wires, two white, two hot, onto screw terminals due to very little wire to work with in the box. Any suggestions?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-12-11, 06:11 PM
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First suggestion is never use the back stabs. They can be problematic. Simplest is to pigtail. To save space rather then using pigtails on each wire connect the two whites and a pigtail together with a wire nut. Do the same for the blacks then run the two pigtails to the receptacle.

Another possibility is to see if you can find back wired Decora receptacles. They work similar to back stab but have a pressure plate tightened by a screw so are reliable. They will accept #12 wires and you may not need to extend the length of the wire. They will probably cost more then the ones you bought but quality costs.
 
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Old 01-12-11, 06:57 PM
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The Ideal or Wago push in wire connectors work well for pigtailing short wires.
 
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Old 01-12-11, 07:47 PM
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Another possibility is to see if you can find back wired Decora receptacles. They work similar to back stab but have a pressure plate tightened by a screw so are reliable. They will accept #12 wires and you may not need to extend the length of the wire. They will probably cost more then the ones you bought but quality costs.
OR.....for a more traditional look, use these commercial grade duplex receptacles (also available in 20 amp). They also have the back wire option ray suggested (not to be confused with back stab).

BR15-I > Standard Face > Duplex > Straight Blade Receptacles - Commercial Specification Grade > Straight Blade Receptacles > All Leviton Products from Leviton Electrical and Electronic Products
 
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Old 01-12-11, 07:57 PM
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Good link Joe. The poster wrote:
I am replacing 20 year old duplex outlets with new decorator style outlets.
I took that to be the same as Decora.
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-11, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Good link Joe. The poster wrote: I took that to be the same as Decora.
Oh yeah, good point. Don't guess the poster cares that I don't like Decora outlets.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 07:51 AM
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thaniks

thanks for all the help. wifey wants squared off decora style outlets and that's what she gets unless impossible. can't figure out how i got away with replacing all the ones downstairs a couple of years ago without a problem. I swear I put in all 15 amp outlets with backstap connections. will have to pursue the back wired suggestion. anything terribly wrong with putting 20 amp outlets on this 12 wire? circuit breakers are 15 amp for these rooms. not familiar with pigtails, will check those out too. thanks again.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 08:45 AM
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There is no need to install 20 amp t-slot duplex receptacles, even on a 20 amp circuit. Save your money and just buy good quality 15 amp receptacles.

The only exception would be if there is only one place to plug a cord into. A standard receptacle counts as two places.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by scaly View Post
anything terribly wrong with putting 20 amp outlets on this 12 wire? circuit breakers are 15 amp for these rooms.
If the breaker is 15A, then the receptacles must be 15A (but can be 20A feed-through rated). If the breaker is 20A, wire is #12 copper, then you can use 15A or 20A t-slot receptacles.

on this 12 wire? circuit breakers are 15 amp
Is it copper or aluminum?
 
  #10  
Old 01-13-11, 09:42 AM
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solution!

Thanks for all the help, you've led me to a solution (ray2047) and domestic tranquility I think and only at $3 more per outlet (15). Total up charge $45. Priceless. Got the Decora heavy duty 15 amp outlet that has the backside pressure plate screw plug ins which should allow me to get the short wiring into the outlet a lot easier and heavier duty outlet too. Yes, this wiring was #12 copper, 20 years old and apparently code at that time.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 10:06 AM
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Glad we could help. Thanks for letting us know it is finished. Just to be sure we are on the same page to repeat what Ben asked, it is copper isn't it? If not we may have a problem.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 10:40 AM
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follow up

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Glad we could help. Thanks for letting us know it is finished. Just to be sure we are on the same page to repeat what Ben asked, it is copper isn't it? If not we may have a problem.
yes. it is copper wire. thanks
 
  #13  
Old 01-13-11, 01:05 PM
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At one time you could use 12 guage wire on the "quickwire" back feeds but code changed that some years ago to 14 gauge. So most of our customers went to either good quality CR Leviton (side wire) some stayed with the cheapo 5320 and use side terminals, or they used the BR15 back wired, uses clamps which is better than the quickwire.....
 
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Old 01-13-11, 01:12 PM
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Also noticed Leviton 15 amp decora receptacles will only accept 14 guage wire in "quickwire" openings.....
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-11, 03:38 PM
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Thanks. I have just put in about 10 of the 15 amp Leviton decora plus backwire part # 16252 white receptacles with the screwless cover plates. The backwire worked very well. Seem to easily get solid firm connections with the screwdowns and was able to easily manipulate six wires and the ground on one of the outlets which had two reds, two blacks and two whites since it was controlled by a wall switch. I must say that the only annoyance was having to break off the brass tab between the two hot wire slots since there are two different circuits in play with the wall switches. Kind of an awkward thing to do with needle nose pliers but they did come off. Everything seems to be working fine and no smoke coming out of the outlets, always a good sign. The backwire Leviton will take 10, 12 or 14 wire. I was told this house has 12 wire because that was the code here in 1989. I wonder why a less "hearty" wire (14) is now the norm. Seems like they are going backwards.
 
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Old 01-13-11, 06:32 PM
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Since the days of Westinghouse (with copper) it has been #14 minimum for 15 amp OCPD and #12 minimum for 20 amp OCPD. The code hasn't change and nothing requires you to use minimum. The #12 was fine then on a 15a breaker and is OK now. It was code then and is code still. If you could verify every inch of wire is #12 and you needed more power you could increase the breaker to 20a but no way to be sure.
 
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