Electrical device: backstabbing rant

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-17-15, 09:19 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6
Electrical device: backstabbing rant

For the life of me, with all the rules and regs involved in electrical work I can't understand why backstabbed outlets and switches are allowed. I worked for an electrical contractor for 6 years and we were never allowed to use them. Whenever we worked in a place that had used them it was a complete headache. Spent one whole day at one residence where homeowner used them and tracing and finding the bad ones not making contact made for a very bad day.

My sister purchased a new home 5 years ago and I have been there several times now replacing switches that were arching or not working due to previous electrical contractor backstabbing the switches and outlets. ARGH!!! Rant over.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-17-15, 10:15 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,066
I encountered a house where the contractor had used Leviton backstab only, no screws, receptacle. To top it off the yolks were plastic not metal. I was amazed they were Leviton. This was many years ago and I'm not sure how old the house was so they may not even be made now. These made the 59 ones at big box look like high quality.
 
  #3  
Old 12-18-15, 09:16 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
A huge segment of residential new construction is driven entirely by lowest bid, fastest schedule, and lowest final sale price. Electrical is not the only trade impacted by this; everyone who works predominately in this market has to cut corners to work with the big developers and stay in business.

Buyers don't want to pay what it really costs to build a quality house and are largely ignorant of how much work will need to be redone in the first 5-10 years.
 
  #4  
Old 12-18-15, 10:04 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 571
A huge segment of residential new construction is driven entirely by lowest bid, fastest schedule, and lowest final sale price.
I certainly agree with your statement ib but I think the whole point of this thread is that codes should not allow the use of backstab devices. That way the lowest bid costs could not even include them!
 
  #5  
Old 12-18-15, 10:41 AM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Maybe someday backstabbed connections will no longer be allowed. For now, it remains an important troubleshooting step. Unbelievable how wires can just fall out the back connections with no or very little effort.
It might be my imagination or from experience, but the 12 gauge backstabs seem to hold better than the receptacles or switches designed for 14 gauge only.
Of course you want to avoid them under any circumstances.
 
  #6  
Old 12-18-15, 11:06 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,220
I think backstabs are still allowed where I live but in a city near me they aren't, haven't been in quite a few years. The sad thing is when I first started doing diy electrical work I couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't use them - live and learn
 
  #7  
Old 12-18-15, 11:26 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
The code is always a balance of market forces vs. safety data. Look into some of the debates and industry lobbying around AFCI breakers for example. Electrical equipment manufacturers strongly in favor ($35/breaker), national homebuilders associations strongly against ($500 more per new house), safety groups tenuously in favor but don't have good data on effectiveness yet...and on it goes.

Add in the fact that wiring device standards are actually established by organizations like UL and NEMA, to which the code making bodies defer on design specifics, requiring only that devices be listed and used for their intended purposes.

Now even if UL revokes listing of something that was once approved, that still doesn't get it out the marketplace potentially for a very long time (see also: Federal Pacific panels) unless the FTC or CPSC pushes a voluntary or mandatory recall or import ban.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes