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How to remove a duplex receptacle with pushon wires and no space

How to remove a duplex receptacle with pushon wires and no space


Old 03-07-18, 01:51 AM
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Location: Los Angeles County, California
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How to remove a duplex receptacle with pushon wires and no space

I have a 4 plug wall outlet and one of the two duplex receptacles seems to be bad so I want to replace it. But it was installed with short wires pushed into the holes in the back(of the receptacle) and I can only pull the unscrewed receptacle out about an inch, not enough to even twist it to see the backside. I don't want to just cut off the wires since they are already so short. Can someone suggest a way to remove this receptacle from it's wires...

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Old 03-07-18, 04:23 AM
ray2047's Avatar
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I have used 18" water pump pliers to shatter a receptacle by squeezing it then just picked the debris away from the wires.
Old 03-07-18, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2015
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If the box has screw type cable clamps and you can loosen them, try pulling any slack out of the cables to gain better access to the receptacle.
Old 03-07-18, 06:41 AM
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Cut the wires close, and extend them with wirenuts.
Old 03-07-18, 07:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2017
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Take a piece of thick metal wire, bend it as a hook and stick in there and push it hard. You may need to use a thicker gauge metal wire.
Old 03-07-18, 12:38 PM
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Keeping tension on the receptacle..... turn it from side to side. The wires will usually work free.
Old 03-07-18, 10:49 PM
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Location: United States
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You could try to use a pick like the Husky set below. They are in most Home Depots. It may allow you to get behind and release the wires. It's difficult to say if that will work without seeing it.

Another option would be to cut the wires and then extend the wires with pigtails. Backstabbing is not an ideal connection and if the wires are that short, it's going to be annoying every time use have to access the outlet.
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Old 03-08-18, 05:33 AM
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Because my fingers are big and I have arthritis in my fingers which makes it difficult to work with small things like wires and wire nuts I find that using wire connectors like these make it much easier for me to lengthen short wires in device boxes. I clip the wires from the back of the receptacle and then just strip a short section of the remaining wire/conductor in the device box and use a length of wire as a jumper and stick both the jumper and the short wire/conductor in to this connector. This type makes it much easier to connect the existing wire and the jumper wire as there is no twisting of the wires needed then. Because of the limit room in a device box just sticking the wires into this connector I find to be much easier. You just have to make sure you insert the wires deep enough into the connector. I usually use a pair of long nose pliers to push the wire into the connector.
Old 03-08-18, 07:47 AM
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Are those connectors any better than the backstabs on the outlets/switches? I usually cut those off when I see them.
Old 03-08-18, 08:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
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Will the receptacle come out far enough to snip the wires off flush with the back of the receptacle?

In the event you were able to get the wire out by turning from side to side, then the wire end will usually be so chewed up it has to be snipped off anyway.

If a backstab receptacle has slots next to the holes to dislodge the wires with, you must not be tugging on the wire at the moment you are pushing the pick or other instrument in the slot, otherwise it is more difficult to dislodge the wire.

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