I am trying to change my 21 year old outlet to a new USB paired outlet. There are 3 hot, 3 neutral, and one ground on the existing outlet. The new outlet does not have spring holes, and only has the 3 standard screw connections. What do I do with the extra wires? enter image description here

  • 2
    Sense you did not mention it we will not assume you know it. TURN OFF THE BREAKER SO NO POWER IS BEING SENT TO ANY OF THE BLACK WIRES, TEST WITH A TESTER.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 7 '18 at 21:09
  • related issue.. would it be legal to put two wires on each of those screw terminals?
    – agentp
    Mar 7 '18 at 23:28
  • @agentp yes, on on each side of the little tab as long as the wires are put under the plate that gets pressed down by the screw. Mar 7 '18 at 23:50
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    Depends on if there is two circuits going to the old outlet. I can see the tab still intact on the neutral side, so I'd assume it's a single circuit.
    – Mazura
    Mar 8 '18 at 0:12
  • @agentp One wire per screw is required by NEC 110.14(A). A typical side-wire receptacle has two screws per side bonded by a removable metal tab. Each screw can take one wire. There are industrial grade back-wired receptacles that take 4 wires per side. These have a metal plate that is screwed down across all 4 wires. These connections are very secure and not the same as the more common "backstab" connectors that depend on a spring which can wear down and lose it's grip on the wires. handymanhowto.com/electrical-outlets-side-wire-versus-back-wire
    – Stanwood
    Mar 8 '18 at 14:15

Twist the three white wires together, along with a short (about 6") length of the same gauge white wire (often called a pigtail), and cap with a wire nut. Or use one of the new push connectors.

Similarly twist the black together with a short black.

Attach the new short wires to their respective terminals, and reattach the ground wire.

All should be well.

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    Be aware that if your wire nut is either too big or too small when using a pigtail, the wires will not make good connection and that outlet will sporadically fail. After applying the wire nut give each wire a firm pull to ensure it is engaged in the wire nut threads. If one keeps pulling out, try a different size wire nut.
    – Arluin
    Mar 7 '18 at 22:41
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    @Arluin That's why I lean toward push connectors, especially for more than three wires.
    – bib
    Mar 7 '18 at 23:02
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    For four wires, use red Ideal brand wire nuts and crank em down gorilla-tight... their extra-large beige ones will also work. Given that OP's electrician filled all the backstabs before resorting to screws, I would say OP's house is already "backstab happy" and this is likely to bring problems in the future. Consider AFCI breakers. Adding more backstabs would not be my plan. ("Backstabs" are the less flattering name for "push connectors", which make contact in this tiny little sliver of metal, rather than the broad surface area of a screw and plate.) Mar 8 '18 at 19:36

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