I was checking some electrical work done because the previous owners of our house had done some shady and incorrect electrical work. I wanted to check to see if both of these situation were OK.

  1. Is this setup correct to have both terminals used and the quick wire too?

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  1. This box is being used as a junction box, which are the yellow wire nuts. Is this acceptable.

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  • Can you get us a photo of the switch location where the stuff attached to the switch isn't in shadow? – ThreePhaseEel Feb 20 '18 at 3:14
  • on the plug ... is there a link between the two hot screws? ... is there one between the two neutral screws? ... are the black and white wires from one cable connected to the same plug? – jsotola Feb 20 '18 at 4:08
  • jsotola - Do you mean if the tab is broken between the screws? If so, the tab is not broken. I am not sure what you mean about the cable connected to the same plug. One wire is coming in from the outlet down the wall, one wire heads out to the next outlet and I am not sure where the third wire heads to. – junta Feb 20 '18 at 4:24

I don't believe it is correct to use both backstabs and screws. If it's legal, it's not a good idea, partly because backstabs are notoriously unreliable.

Also the socket in question is a 50 cent builder grade special, all the more reason not to use backstabs or the socket itself. A much better choice would be a $3 screw-and-clamp type such as Leviton, which allow 2 wire connections per screw, easily handling those 3 wires each side.

It's fine to use any box as a junction box. I do it all the time, a switch or outlet box is a good place to do it since they have to be accessible. Just watch your cubic inches. For instance, in that box I see

  • 1 count for all the grounds combined
  • 8 counts for the 8 conductors present
  • 2 counts for the yoke (not caring if it's a thin little switch or GFCI)

Total 11. Given their fondness for backstabs (well in fairness they are using screws wherever possible), this had better be 14 AWG wire. (Backstabs won't fit 12AWG). That requires 2 cubic inches per count, so 22 cubic inches. You'll have to look in the box for a cubic inch count stamped into it.

  • I would think it should not be legal to use back stabs and screws but it is legal because the UL listing allows it. I have never seen anything in the NEC that would prohibit both screws and stabs being used at the same time but I think stabs should be outlawed that's why I looked it up a while back. – Ed Beal Feb 20 '18 at 15:05
  • So, I just want to make sure with the outlet question. I should either upgrade the outlet to one that can handle more than 1 wire on a screw or I could pigtail the wires so I would just have two wires coming into the outlet? Thanks – junta Feb 22 '18 at 15:34
  • Yes, Sounds right to me @junta ... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '18 at 17:46

I happen to despise the poke in quick wire terminals because I have seen too many of them fail or become intermittent.

I would suggest to join the wires with wire nuts and run single pigtails to the outlet. This process makes it much easier to push the wire bundles into the back of the electrical box. Then having a single wire set going to the outlet makes it much easier to position the outlet and screw it into position.

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