Residential Wiring - The Right Way!
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Anyone performing home wiring repairs or installations will at some point need to connect / join wires together.
Now at outlets you could use the screws on the outlet itself as a way of connecting / joining the next wire cable, however only one wire can be connected to each of the wire connection screws on an outlet, and there is only 2 brass color screws and 2 silver color screws on an outlet, if any more wires are involved you must join them all together using an insulated wire nut.
There is also on most outlets a stab in type connection on the back of the outlet itself, this type of connection is only meant for 14 gage wires and cannot be used with 12 gage wiring, where the side screws can be used with 14 or 12 gage wiring. I also would recommend to never have the outlet connections fully loaded, meaning all screws and the back stab connections being used to join wires together on an outlet, so never do that, I personally would never use the stab in connections at the back of an outlet and only use the main screw connections and use insulated wire nuts as required to join wires together.
Now avoid working the wire any more than is necessary as working or twisting the wire will damage / crack and even break the wire if you twist or bend it retentively.
Having said that the jury is still out and opinion seems be vary on rather a small wire twist together should be done or not when using wire nut connections.
But again do not over work the wire.
This site will be enhanced in the future with new animations and videos as soon as my time permits. But for now in just explaining in written form...
1. cut off the wire insulation just enough to go around the screw of the outlet or switch, the screw should not have any insulation under it but at the same time you do not want exposed wire beyond the screw.
2. the wire needs to be snugly wrapped around the screw in the direction in which the screw will tighten so that when the screw is tighten it does not un-warp the wire from the screw.
3. The exposed wire should not extend beyond the outlet itself
On this website I have used in the diagrams one type and color of insulated wire nut, however these wire nuts come in a variety of sizes and types, there is even ones meant for aluminium wiring. Make sure you obtain the correct type that is meant for the type of wire and number of number of wires that you wish to join together, building / electrical supply personal should be able to assist you with this in the store. You may find the need to buy several different sizes / types if you are doing a major job as the one you use when joining 4 wires together will not be the same one you use to join 2 wires together. Do not remove too much wire insulation, you do not want exposed wires beyond the insulated wire nut.
By: Donald Kerr
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