Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum | Post a Follow-Up

GFCI Outlet Sidewire vs Backwire

Posted by bltglt (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 3, 10 at 15:20

I've always been told that it is dangerous to backwire an outlet. The best way of wiring an outlet was to bend the wire in a hook and screw it on instead of using the backwire connections. I've wired up four GFCI outlets, and I've noticed how hard it is to wrap the wire around the screw. The screws have a tendency to slide back in and not stay out like they do with a normal $.50 outlet. Because of this issue, it has often taken me an hour just to wire up one GFCI. Recently, I've read that GFCIs are actually designed for backwiring instead of hooking the wire around the screw. The directions to the ones I have used show the GFCI backwired instead of sidewired. I have always assumed that sidewiring was still much better. Is it wrong to sidewire a GFCI?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: GFCI Outlet Sidewire vs Backwire

There's a difference between back-wired devices and back-stab devices.
Back-stab devices allow the wire to be inserted in a hole in the back where it is then held in place by a spring-loaded clip (which you can't see). The back-stab retention system is no longer permitted to be used in many applications, including on circuits over 15 amps due to high failure rates of that electrical connection.
Back wired devices, on the other hand, are preferred to looping the wire around the screw (sidewiring), as when the associated screw is tightened after a wired is inserted, a backing plate clamps the wire into place for a secure, reliable and low impedance connection (it's faster and, electrically, at least as good). Your GFCIs are undoubtedly back wired devices.

RE: GFCI Outlet Sidewire vs Backwire

Do they still sell the backstab junk?

RE: GFCI Outlet Sidewire vs Backwire

They're still out there, supposedly only with the back-stab holes too small to accept anything larger than a #14 wire.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Electrical Wiring Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here