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Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
It has been brought to my attention that most EC's will use the push in terminals for plug and switches, instead of terminating conductors around the device screws.

What's your opinion?

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
I am not an EC.

I have personally seen the effects of push-in terminated devices. (Some of my photos are posted on the board.)

If there is a screw that is used to tighten the connection, such as with the GFCI receptacles (the ones that have a back-stab hole but require the screw to tighten the connection), I don't see a problem.

If one is relying on a spring type of connection, then I would not trust it.

I have also found that the screws provided in some of the cheaper devices are almost as soft as the copper, and are not very sturdy.

If I understand correctly, 12AWG can no longer be used with push-in connections, right? Why is 14AWG permitted and not 12?...

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 110
I have done it both ways in the past. And I have to be honest, I have yet to run across a push-in connection that has failed when properly installed. Not to say that it doesn't happen. I have read about others who run across this all the time. I have seen numerous, and I will repeat NUMEROUS, recepticles that failed when the connection came loose from the screw. I have at times used the push-in connection (on 14 awg only) when pigtailing the circuit. I can only assume that the integrety of the connection lies in the ability of the installer. Also, if the device is overloaded the push-in or screw connection will fail. On the cheaper devices they loose tention and overheat with time. Many times I change all the devices in a home because they can't keep anything plugged in. I guess quality lies with the installer.


Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
I never use a "pushin connection", but do use the back wired devices where the screw clamps a pressure plate against the wire.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
Unless it is the type Don describes I will not use them.

About the only place I have ever used the spring type is on a switch as I will know that the current load is low.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 552
I use the screws! I have spent too many hours on service calls troubleshooting loose connections on backstabbed devices.I have also seen the scorched walls and burnt insulation on the wiring from these faulty connections. [Linked Image] My opinion...If the difference in time between backstabbing a device or using the screws, is going to make or break the job, you bid it too low to begin with.

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 269
The first thing I look for when I get a complaint about no power on a receptacle or a loss of power on a branch circuit is a loose backstabbed connection. 99% of the time I'm right. It was worse before the restriction on wire size to #14, but I always use the terminal screw.


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 558
I too use the screws.I've seen several backstabs cause problems.

It doesn't take much more time when you do a few jobs that way.


Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
I would personally like to thank UL for the continued buisiness i recieve from thier blatant inepptitude

carry on fellas!


Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
Look here!

[Linked Image]

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
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