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I added onto my home and had to wire it myself (except the breaker box) to save money. I have a number of connections inside plastic boxes in the attic where I used wire nuts to connect 3 to 5 14 gauge wires together. Wire nuts keep slipping out by themselves and a light or outlet will stop working. Then I have to climb into attic, track down the box and redo it. It there a better way than wire nuts to keep these wires safely and securely together...something more like the Sharkbite plumbing connectors or maybe a little device on which the incoming power wire could come in one end and be crimped and the other 2 or 3 or 4 wires get crimped into the other end?

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!


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Sounds like you have a sizing or technique problem. #14 wire is pretty easy to work with if you know the right methods. For 5 conductors, you'll need red size nuts, or multi-size nuts rated for that capacity. Modern nuts don't always require pre-twisting, but you may need to use a plier to finish them off securely. – isherwood Feb 14 at 20:07
Yes, wire nuts are very reliable and I've never had one fall off spontaneously like that. Something is wrong with how you are using them. When they work right, they bind pretty tight and the wires will not pull out of the nut. They sell a bag with an assortment of sizes, I'd experiment until they work right for you. Then, hate to say, recheck/fix all your past work. Here's some docs on wire nuts idealind.com/media/pdfs/catalog/… – Harper Feb 15 at 4:02

You are possibly using the wrong size wirenut for the number and size of wires you are connecting, or simply installing them incorrectly.

"Saving money" is a dubious justification for tackling electrical work if you are not up to the task - the money you "save" can easily cost you a good deal more when your work fails in a more dramatic fashion and burns the house down or injures/kills someone. You could hire an electrician to go over your self-installed wiring and make sure it was correct, and odds are excellent that no more wirenuts would fall off after that.

There are "push-in" wire connector blocks made and listed now. I'm not personally a fan of them, but they are made and listed.

i.e. See this image from Ideal Industries (not endorsing or associated, just using the image as an example)
push-in wire connectors

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I am a fan of Ideal's push-ins. You can easily verify that the conductor is in far enough, and if, for some reason a wire is shorter than you might like, you can still get the block on easily. – Aloysius Defenestrate Feb 14 at 18:51
I'm also a fan of the push-ins for DIY usage. They have a strip gauge, can easily be verified, and the wire can twist a bit within the hole without breaking the connection, making it much easier to wire things in gang boxes. They also allow you to re-do everything without cutting the wires if you screw up, and they don't strain the copper conductors. Cost is about 2-3x a wirenut, but that's irrelevant for a DIYer doing a one-off project. – gbronner Feb 14 at 20:31

Wire nuts work correctly when used correctly, period. I have installed hundreds of them. The package will indicate the number of various sizes that each type of wire nut may is rated for.

Most importantly, do NOT simply poke the wires into the nut and then twist it. You must twist the wires together first, with your lineman's pliers or similar tool. If your wires are "slipping out" I suspect you have missed this step.

Soldering (after twisting the wires together!) then wrapping with electrical tape is also acceptable for most codes, and is arguably a superior connection method, but is more trouble than is justified unless using wire nuts would cause you to exceed your allowed box fill (number of wires, connectors, and devices for the volume of the device box in question).

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When you have a lot of wires and Marr type coonecter just aren't doing it, you can always try split bolts. They are a brass bolt with the center cut out in the form of a slot, different sizes. The only hasstle is they have to be taped up good but extremely good when playing with larger wires where marr style connecters are useless to tighten properly.

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Heatshrink of the proper size can also be used instead of tape. – hildred Feb 15 at 2:46
I haven't seen any real heat shrinks desiened for this purpose but I suppose even straight ones would work by simple folding over the end before heating I guess. Interesting idea to try though. – Richard Feb 16 at 3:01
Indeed, Straight sections work fine, although I like to use two sizes, a smaller section that will not fit over the marr will help hold the wires and will add thickness allowing a firmer fit from the larger section, for which I like to cut about three times the length needed, warm one end so it starts to shrink, then fold it in forming a pseudo cup, slide it over the tightened marr and shrink. Works great. – hildred Feb 16 at 3:25
It sure sounds better than tape, especially the smaller piece before the Marr style connecter to hold all the wries in one place first. This I feel is the hardest part when trying to connect a bunch of wires together with Marr style connecters, keeping them all at the same length to get a tight grip on each. I believe it's Ideal that makes the connecters with the thumb tabs on them to help tighten them properly, one good idea too. – Richard Feb 16 at 17:12

Binding posts have been used for years, terminal strips are a good choice in many cases as you can get listed ones, but from your brief description, I would use hydraulically applied crimps as they do not fail if done right except in some very esoteric situations like high tension with vibration or moisture with salt (but I have the crimping tool which is not cheap). I have also seen solder, cadweld, brazing and arc welding used successfully. Do not spot weld as it is high resistance and may melt and catch fire. Conductive glue is iffy for any significant current, If you use it you must double check your math for any circuit over half an amp.

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Thanks everyone. Looks like I have some more studying to do on my end. Thanks for taking the time to help! – Carlin Feb 15 at 19:27
In the end if you use the proper sized wire nut, your problem should be solved at the cheapest price. When trying to stuff too many wires into an undersized one, there's never enough room to get a proper grip on all conductors or have them put the right pressure on the center conducters. Try up sizing for safety. – Richard Feb 16 at 17:22

I agree with Isherwood's comment in that your wirenuts are probably the wrong size. There are multiple types and sizes. Spend a little more money and get the better nuts.

Next, it's insane that this has happened more than once to you. That should be the sign that it all needs to be fixed up.

It's odd that it hasn't been mentioned yet, but just get wire nuts large enough for the application and then wrap it multiple times round with electrical tape. This will create a better hold.

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Electrical tape will NOT fix a bad job of installing the wirenut. Nor will it help a properly installed one in any way. It's odd that you would think otherwise. – Ecnerwal Feb 15 at 4:46
I didn't say it would. It's not a cure-all, nor a solution, but it will hold the wires better than nothing. – TFK Feb 15 at 5:07
I think arguing over tape has lost site of the issue here, Marr style connecters are very hard to tighten properly when you have an abundance of wires to hold together. I've been prompted to use chanel lock pliers in an effort to make sure they are tight enough to make sure there is a really tight grip on all conductors and no chances of arching within the wire nut. I've seen tape used just to make sure an extra layer of security exists so the Marr style connecter doesn't loosen off! – Richard Feb 16 at 16:44

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