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I'm looking at replacing a few outlets that are old and loosely hold in plugs now. They are 15a 125v as is the wiring and breakers. I bought several Cooper E-Z Wire outlets and I am now trying to figure out if there is a best practice for these. They have the exposed screws so you can bend the wires into a U and wrap it around the screws OR you can insert the wires behind the plate behind the screw and tighten the screw; tightening the screw causes a clamp to grip the wire.

  1. Which is the better method for connecting the outlet?
  2. Also, I've seen some people wrap the outlet in electrical tape and other people not. Is this code?
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1) Which is the better method for connecting the outlet?

It depends on the size wire you have. If you have 14 gauge you can use the push in terminals, which is size wire this option allows. You can bend the wire if you prefer, or if have 12 gauge. These push ins that have to screwed down is better than the regular stab in and self locking.

If you do bend your wire make sure you do not tighten it on the insulation. It will make a bad connection.

2) Also, I've seen some people wrap the outlet in electrical tape and other people not. Is this code?

It is not code but some people feel it protects the terminals from touching the metal side of the box, or a device next to it. I never tape but I always screw all the screws down. It makes gives you a little more clearance.

If you decide to tape screw all the screws down and use a professional grade tape. It will cost you around $4.00 or $5.00 a roll but it will stay on the receptacle. Good tape has memory and will try to go back to it's original size and make the tape tighter. Cheap tape has no memory and just gets looser.

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