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I am trying to add an outlet behind my tv by picking off the outlet below it. When I took off the outlet cover I noticed its in the middle of a run and the builder (house built in 2000) had used 14-3 Romex. I'm a bit confused since its not tied to any switches. There are two lines of Romex coming into holes in the box, so each twist is bundling three wires (two hots + pigtail) and (two neutrals + pigtail), same with the ground.

I want to run 14-2 Romex out the top of the box to my new tv outlet and I'm wondering:

A. Can I just attach the new new Romex to the sides of the duplex outlet? (Of course I'd have to bundle the grounds).

B. Or should I just get new twists (yellow? beige?) that accommodate 4 wires and attach the new Romex that way, instead of connecting to the outlet?

C. Is it even safe to have this much wire stuffed into a single box? Thanks for any advice.

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From your pictures, I don't see the third conductor. Is there a red wire that we aren't seeing? From what I can see it looks like he was daisy-chaining the outlets by creating a pigtail. Since he didn't use the second set of terminals (or the first for that matter, not the way I would have done it) You can just pull power directly off the screw terminals. Just remember to attach your ground. If I'm missing something, please update your post and I will as well.

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  • Thanks so much for the quick response. You are correct about only two conductors. I was misreading things initially. Upon closer inspection it is indeed 14-2 not 14-3. I'll just screw to the terminals as you recommend, and won't forget the ground. Thanks! – mattp Jul 6 at 0:27
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    @mattp Do yourself favor and remove the black and white wires from the backstabs on that outlet and hook them up to the screw terminals. The backstabs are known to cause failures. – JACK Jul 6 at 0:38
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    @JACK and mreff555, Ah shoot, I ran off to finish up the project (which turned out great BTW) before seeing these last two comments. I plan to go back later and swap out these dated outlets for newer ones at some point so I'll make sure to hook everything up at the screw terminals then. I appreciate you taking the time to share your advice. – mattp Jul 6 at 4:41
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    @mattp We’ve got a “tricks and traps” Q&A somewhere around here on what to watch out for when changing receps and switches. Definitely check it out. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 6 at 5:31
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    Sorry @mast, I was thinking this one here. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 6 at 19:45

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