conductor length, stapling to rim joist, and pigtails

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  #1  
Old 05-17-13, 06:26 PM
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conductor length, stapling to rim joist, and pigtails

I am nearly ready for the rough-in inspection of my electical work (residential wiring of receptacles and lights). Though I stil have several questions before calling for the inspection. The hardware stores don't seem keen on answering code-related questions.

1) Here in Ontario, Canada the ESA recommends leaving between 6"-8" of free conductor in the outlet box. From that statement, its not clear whether its measured from the back of the box (the total length of the unsheathed conductor), or from the front edge of the box (the part of the conductor which sticks outside the box). The extra 2" is a non-issue for most work that is well under box fill. That being said, I am working with 12/2, a 3" deep box, and this is a middle of the run duplex receptacle. Which leads me to my next question...

2) Is it required by code to pigtail the conductos for middle-of-the-run receptacles, or is it acceptable for the line side to be connected to one set of terminals on the receptacle, while the load connects to the other set? Obviously, the grounds need to be pigtailed. The simplified code book is vague.

3) With the drywall all ripped out, I have about 3 or 4 cable that are running above the ceiling which can be stapled to the rim joist, or the framing top plate. A couple of people have recommended stapling to the top plate, though I am hesitant for a couple of reasons. The first being that a plumbing vent runs the length of this top plate and takes up half the depth, which leads me enough room to staple 2 out of 4 cables. The second reason that I'm hesitant to use the top plate is that its also doubling as the framing member for driling in the ceiling drywall. The rim joist seems like the most sensible option.

I am probably splitting hairs here, but I'd like to get this right.
Thanks.
 
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Old 05-17-13, 08:02 PM
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Canada may be different, but this is what the US NEC says:

1) The free conductor length required is 6" measured from the point where it emerges from its raceway or cable sheath. If the box has an opening less than 8" in any direction (which I'm guessing all of yours do) the conductor is required to extend at least 3" outside the opening of the box. Personally, I like to leave about 4-6" past the opening of the boxes. 300.14 (2008)

2) It is not required to pigtail the conductors to the device. You may use both sets of screws if you wish. I personally like to pigtail, and use push-in wire connectors for this purpose.

3) The code only says that the cable needs to be at least 1 1/4" away from any nailing face of the framing. Any place you attach the cable, that is at least 1 1/4" away from a place you will attach drywall, is fine. I would do whatever is the easiest. 300.4 (2008)
 
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Old 05-17-13, 08:34 PM
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It is not required to pigtail the conductors to the device.
Unless it's a multi-wire branch circuit, in which case you must pigtail the neutral. I am assuming Canada's requirements are similar, but even if not it would be unwise not to install it that way. 300.13(B)
 
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Old 05-17-13, 09:59 PM
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My 20amp circuit is for a kitchen countertop (spaced one apart, by code). The circuit has two duplex receptacles on them. The first being the middle of the run, that I am not sure about pigtailing.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 05:04 AM
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Good point Core! I forgot about that one.

@ AMV90704CX - If it is for a kitchen counter top, and is not a multiwire branch circuit, you will need to install a GFCI. If you are using a GFCI receptacle than you will need to connect the wires to the correct LINE and LOAD ports to protect the entire circuit. No pig tailing would be needed unless you have more than two cables in the box.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 07:47 AM
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Thanks for everyone's advice so far. If there are any other recommendations about when to pigtail and the typical length of free conductor left inside the box that would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 01:53 PM
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If there are any other recommendations about when to pigtail and the typical length of free conductor left inside the box that would be appreciated.
Always pigtail. It is the difference between building a bypass with an interchange to carry the traffic to and from the town and making all the traffic go through on the local streets.

4" to 6" beyond the face of the box. I start by stripping off 10" to 12" of the cable jacket and working down from there. The push-in connectors that Tolyn suggested are great space savers.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 03:50 PM
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How do those push-in connectors work? I've never had the chance to use them. What holds the conductor in there _securely_, and is it possible to release it later without cutting the conductor? They seem to be just the thing needed when you open a box and find just 1" of free conductor.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 04:37 PM
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You just strip off about 1/2" of wire and push them in. To get the wire out you have to do a twisting/pulling action. They hold with a spring like action.

These are what you need when your wires are short in a box: SpliceLine™ In-Line Wire Connectors
 
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Old 05-18-13, 04:46 PM
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They hold with a spring like action.
Like backstabs. I don't know if I like that. I'm sure Ideal knows what they're doing though. Maybe.

Those inline ones look great for the short conductor problem, thanks. All sorts of newfangled contraptions on the market! This is what happens when you don't keep up on stuff for 20 years.
 
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