I removed a 1-gang box that had two 14-2 cables entering it with all wires connected to a single duplex outlet. Strange I thought. I need to install a 2-gang box with two duplex outlets in it. I had purchased 14-2 Romex prior to today because I thought I would find one sheath of 14-2 behind the 1-gang box. Based on the picture, I am assuming I lucked out and can just wire each cable to one duplex outlet. No need for pigtails. Am I right?

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Update: I connected the two 14-2 Romex sheaths and two sets of pigtails (2 x black, 2 x neutral, 2 x ground) together with wire nuts, and then connected the other ends of the pigtails to the outlets. Everything is working perfectly. Thank you for the education and recommendations. Made this project easy.

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    The second set is likely for other outlets on the circuit meaning it's not live, and is dependent on the first. The outlet was probably just acting as a way to connect them in parallel.
    – Steve
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:30
  • Why do you want a 2-gang receptacle here? How many plugs do you want to connect? If more than 2, you can use a short extension cord to a plug strip. You will not be able to draw more current than the wire and breaker allows just by putting in another receptacle. See amazon.com/GE-54947-Grounded-6-Outlet-Tap/dp/B00006IBFA Feb 6, 2017 at 17:41
  • @JimStewart—My home security company requires the home security radio device to be on a “separate [duplex] outlet” than that which the motherboard and gateway are plugged into, and it cannot be on a plug strip (since it would be on the same duplex outlet). The radio does not draw much current; I understand where you are coming from.
    – user56530
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:46
  • Are you sure they do not mean on a separate circuit? I am not up on security systems but I cannot see any advantage to the two loads being on separate duplex receptacles in the same box on the same circuit, i.e., protected by the same breaker. But hey it's done and should cause no problems. Feb 6, 2017 at 20:15
  • @JimStewart—That is what I was thinking when the tech initially told me, but plugging into a receptacle on a different circuit seems impractical, although it makes more sense to you and I both. As I was explaining to him what I was planning on doing to add another outlet, he did not voice any dissent, as though the radio had to be on a different circuit. shrugs
    – user56530
    Feb 6, 2017 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


No. You have an upstream cable (source power) and a downstream cable (which feeds something else--more outlets or lights), and they need to be connected in order to maintain continuity throughout the circuit.

You'll need either pigtails (best practice, but a bit messy), or jumpers connecting the two receptacles (simpler, relies on the outlet hardware more).

Your fundamental misunderstanding was that you'd have two source cables connected to one outlet. That would result in an odd (and potentially dangerous) situation. An exception would be when half of the outlet is switched, and fed from a second cable. The telltale sign would be removed tabs on the sides of the outlet.

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    +1 But there are times when you might want two source cables (on separate breakers) attached to a single duplex outlet, such as setting it up for use of two high amperage devices at one time, but that would require separating the top and bottom of the duplex by removing both tabs.
    – bib
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:54
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    @bib It's something I would do, but it would also be unusual. OP can find out by a couple wraps of electrical tape on the loose wires to keep them from shorting, turn power back on, and search for other switches, receptacles or other things that now don't work. Feb 6, 2017 at 18:07
  • Thank you. I definitely appreciated your prompt advice and education. I used pigtails. Everything is working perfectly. :)
    – user56530
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:49
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    Just for posterity, one case where there would legitimately be two source cables is when one outlet is switched and the other is not. This is common when you want the switch by the door to turn on a standing floor lamp instead of a built in fixture.
    – Ukko
    Feb 6, 2017 at 19:35

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