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Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Posted by tom418 (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 5, 11 at 11:03

I'm painting my dining room and noticed that the outlets in this 20A circuit were somehow backstabbed. The wiring itself is 12 gauge, but the outlets have 14AWG pigtails, backstabbed, and connected to the 12AWG conductors in each box.

Is this in compliance with NEC? I know that 20A requires 12AWG, but does this apply to the pigtails also?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Are the outlets 20amp or 15amp?


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Yes it applies to pigtails. NO, it is NOT allowed.

It does NOT matter if the receptacles are 15 or 20A. It is on a 20A circuit.


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Thank you, Petey and Dennis.

I kind of figured it wasn't allowed. BTW, these are 15A with 20 AMP "pass through" outlets.

It's par for the course, as the circuit continues into the adjoining living room. I also have a small applicance kitchen circuit that found itself feeding an outdoor outlet too(fixed years ago, by me). BTW house was built in 1996.


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

"BTW, these are 15A with 20 AMP "pass through" outlets. "

The pass through requirements oif 20 amps was established at the same time as the NEC allowance of 15 amp OR 20 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits (as long as more than one outlet is on the circuit).

The use of back stabs for #12 wire was very short lived.
Reliability was so bad the receptacles were changed to not accept #12 wire by reducing the hole for back-stabbing to only accept #14 wire.

Whomever used the #14 pigtails was a real hack.
#14 wire is NOT allowed on a 20 amp general use circuit, and they used it to get around the change to the receptacles.

You can just move the wires to the screws and eliminate the pigtails.


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

According to NEC Article 210.24, using a #14 wire on a 20 amp circuit as taps (pigtails) is allowed. I don't agree with this method but it is not a violation of the NEC.


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

I find it interesting that it would be allowed, since it would set up a circumstance where someone could install a 20 amp outlet with #14 wire, but then again, there's nothing preventing a homeowner from installing a 20 amp outlet on a circuit that's 15 amp all the way to the panel. Anyone trying to do the right thing might look at the breaker, see that it's a 20, and feel perfectly safe installing a 20 amp outlet, not knowing the pigtails are #14.


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Now I'm confused.

According to NEC Article 210.24, using a #14 wire on a 20 amp circuit as taps (pigtails) is allowed. I don't agree with this method but it is not a violation of the NEC.

So this is OK even if the tap is feeding a 20amp receptacle?


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RE: Backstabbed Outlets in Dining Room

Yes Dennis, it is ok the pigtails are #14 on the 20 amp circuit according to the NEC.


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