I am replacing some receptacles in my Master Bedroom. I have replaced 7 so far and they all have the same setup: 4 wires and 1 ground. They are straight forward to replace.

When I opened the last receptacle, I found out that it had 9 wires: 8 wires and 1 ground (see attached picture)I couldn't understand how this work and how I could replace it and closed it back. That receptacle is not connected to any switch.

Why do I have 9 wires for that receptacle? How can I replace it?

enter image description here

  • Is it a split circuit? (Are the tabs on the side of the outlet twisted off?)
    – isherwood
    Mar 15 '18 at 20:08
  • Good question. I will have to open the receptacle again to figure that out. Why would this be on a split circuit? The house was built in 2007.
    – Martin
    Mar 15 '18 at 20:10
  • @Martin Split circuits are either for separate control of receptacles (e.g. switched), or to provision them to separate circuits or breakers. Mar 16 '18 at 4:34

Assuming that they aren't a split circuit, just bundle them all by color and add a pigtail to each bundle for the outlet. You'll need red wire nuts to handle that many wires, assuming #14. Some brands will accept five #12. Make sure you do a clean job of combining and twisting the bundle to ensure good contact.

enter image description here

  • Thank you @isherwood! Why this would not have been done by the electrician who wired the house back in 2007?
    – Martin
    Mar 15 '18 at 20:11
  • Because (s)he had an outlet with all those nifty connectors. That's not a common style, but I can see where it would come in handy. Some of our resident pros consider them poor quality connections, though. Pigtailing is more reliable.
    – isherwood
    Mar 15 '18 at 20:31
  • 1
    If you get a "back and side" outlet they are a bit more expensive but the 2 screws on each side will securely clamp 2 wires under each screw, I use these if the box is tight and there is not enough room to pig tail.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 15 '18 at 21:05
  • Ed means a screw-and-clamp type outlet, like Leviton's $3 receptacles. Note that all the current connections are backstabs, which are not reliable. If you want to use those, add an AFCI breaker. @martin they probably chose that specific receptacle model because it had all those splice points... in residential construction, time is money and they use wiring methods that are fastest, such as backstabs. Mar 15 '18 at 22:14

It's not just a receptacle. It's a combo device.

It's a receptacle. And it's a splice block too.

Receptacles are rather clever devices. They need two screws for other reasons (breaking off tabs for separate control). But if you don't break off tabs, they also double as splice blocks for multiple taps. Most 2-screw receptacles allow you to attach three things, so it's the equivalent of two 3-terminal splice bars:

  • One hot-neutral pair (presumably the supply wires)
  • Another hot-neutral pair (presumably, more downstream outlets)
  • the receptacle itself

Some receptacles are built with 4 attachment points per side, making it the equivalent of two five-terminal splice bars.

That is exactly what's happening here. Supply is being branched off to other locations for other purposes.

  • Wow. That's interesting. So do I need a special receptacle to replace this one or any will do?
    – Martin
    Mar 16 '18 at 3:59
  • @Martin You can either use a receptacle equipped to accommodate four wires, or you can use an external splice device equipped to accommodate five, and pigtail the receptacle. You must do the latter with the ground wires, regardless. Mar 16 '18 at 4:26
  • Thank you for the link @Harper. It looks like I am not going to be able to use the Lutron SCRS-15-TR-SW receptacle... :(
    – Martin
    Mar 16 '18 at 19:32
  • @Martin Why would you want to? It's stupid overpriced. White Decora receptacles are a commodity item that everyone makes and you should find an intersection with the Leviton ProGrade line or competitors who also offer screw-and-clamp. If you just can't use any of them, try "lever-nuts", they make them in 5's... or pigtail them carefully under an Ideal brand wirenut, red or large tan. This is really maxing out a wirenut, so don't mess with non-Ideal brands and check your work carefully. Mar 16 '18 at 19:47
  • I agree Lutron is way over-priced. I wanted all the screw less wall plates, dimmers and receptacles to match color and style. I couldn't get a perfect match with Leviton. Only Lutron was able to give me the same style/color.
    – Martin
    Mar 16 '18 at 21:01

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