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

jbclem's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 267

03-07-18, 12:51 AM   #1  
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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ray2047's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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03-07-18, 03:23 AM   #2  
I have used 18" water pump pliers to shatter a receptacle by squeezing it then just picked the debris away from the wires.

I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

beelzebob's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 447

03-07-18, 05:23 AM   #3  
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.

telecom guy's Avatar

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03-07-18, 05:41 AM   #4  
Cut the wires close, and extend them with wirenuts.

Derstig's Avatar

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03-07-18, 06:00 AM   #5  
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.

PJmax's Avatar
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03-07-18, 11:38 AM   #6  
Keeping tension on the receptacle..... turn it from side to side. The wires will usually work free.

~ Pete ~

mpally's Avatar

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Posts: 23

03-07-18, 09:49 PM   #7  
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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AFJES's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 347

03-08-18, 04:33 AM   #8  
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.

mossman's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 3,262

03-08-18, 06:47 AM   #9  
Are those connectors any better than the backstabs on the outlets/switches? I usually cut those off when I see them.

AllanJ's Avatar

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03-08-18, 07:00 AM   #10  
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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