I bought some receptacle extenders in 1/4 and 3/8 to bring outlets more flush to drywall. The outlets have push-in connectors on the back.

Is there any harm in screwing down the terminals screws on the socket sides as well? There is a flange on the back of the extenders and I thought more clearance is a good thing as the side screws are close, even thought not used. Thanks!


As far as snuggling the screws down there will be no problem in doing this. I would put the wire under the screw or clamp and a couple of wraps of electrical tape. Back stabs are the #1 failure point in wiring in the US. I would say failing Back stabs cause over 90% of the wiring failures since you are doing this save yourself some time and use the screw terminals or you may end up like so many others that ask why are 1/2 of outlets in my room not working.

  • 1
    I'd like to to add that you"should" screw down any terminals used or not. And yes backstabs are garbage. – Joe Fala Feb 18 at 22:16
  • I agree and should have said this + – Ed Beal Feb 18 at 22:42
  • However there are backwire holes in more expensive receptacles that use the side screws for clamping. AFIK using these is just as good as looping the wires around the side screws. However, be sure you understand where you are supposed to insert the wires for those--you are supposed to insert the wires so that tightening the screw pulls a tab onto the wires. – Jim Stewart Feb 18 at 23:24
  • I did mention clamps and think the clamp is the best method they work well with stranded wire also. – Ed Beal Feb 18 at 23:55

Yes, you need to screw them down or the wires will fall off!

If that doesn't apply, you are using a "backstab" connection, and that will bite you later. While they make for faster assembly, they also have a high failure rate, including serious arc faults that will burn up receptacles and blow holes in plastic boxes. These things are basically the reason AFCI breakers are now required.

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