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I've searched around, and I can't pinpoint this exact issue on Stack Exchange (sorry if this is a repeat question). I'm not certain if this qualifies as a middle-of-run outlet, or a half-switch, or what the purpose of this setup is.

Anyway, my house I just bought was built in the late 60s, so I've been replacing all of the outlets. However, I uncovered one that has three combined neutral wires pigtailed out to the top half of the neutral side of the outlet, and three hot wires pigtailed to the lower half of the hot side of the outlet.

Why was this done? Is it ok to replace the outlet using the same setup, or should I remove the pigtail? Why are there three neutrals and three hots instead of two?

Here are some photos:

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There is no reason to question these connections. Four hots in the same wire nut and four neutrals in another wire nut is perfectly acceptable. All this means is the the incoming line feed (one black hot and its accompanying white neutral) is connected to two other outlets besides the receptacle in this box.

The old red ScotchLoks I have are rated for 2 to 4 #12 wires.

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I'm not seeing a problem. One White in, one White out (to complete the ring main) and one white pigtailed off to the socket. Same for Black. But that socket looks well dodgy, so good job on replacing it.

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  • Thanks.Why didn't the previous electrician wire both white and both black to either side of the receptacle? What is the advantage or a possible reasoning for this particular outlet vs the wiring in the rest of the house that followed the more conventional method (at least from experience, which isn't a lot)? I'm not just generally curious in order to learn.
    – Aaron
    Apr 16 '18 at 20:13
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    Too many wires. Without the pigtails and wire nuts, he would have had to wrap two wires under one screw terminal (in two places). Apr 16 '18 at 20:43

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