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Thread: New receptacle question

  1. #1

    New receptacle question

    I have a large chest freezer (14 cu ft) in an awkward place in the basement. I would like to move it about 8 feet and just run a new line and receptacle off the old one. All of my electrical wiring books were lost 6 years ago. So I checked on line and every "how to" indicates that a pigtail must be installed before both the old and new receptacles are connected. I could sear that in the past, I saw an instruction that just hooked the new wires to the terminals on the sides of the receptacle. I will do what all the advice says, but still wonder why is the pigtail necessary. Seems like a lot of extra wires and wire nuts. etc. in the receptacle box.

    Can anyone explain why it is done that way instead of attaching the new wires to the receptacle?

  2. #2
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    I did exactly the same thing two months ago, only it was an upright freezer. Since the old outlet was no long accessible, I took it out and used it as a junction box. Has I wanted to keep it, I would have attached the new wires directly to the outlet. I am looking forward to hearing why that is not acceptable.

  3. #3
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    I use pigtails when a box can support the extra wire. There are multiple reasons it's a better solution than daisy-chaining off an outlet. But sometimes it's most practical to use the alternative screws on a receptacle...above all you really need to make sure that things are fastened securely and correctly whichever method you use. And Wade makes a good point...if the original outlet isn't needed, just use the box as a junction and eliminate the outlet. A blank cover closes things up.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    +1 tie it to the outlet - this is exactly how houses are wired. The only time a pig tail might be needed is if both sets of screws were in use. And agree with both Wade and Jim that if old plug is not needed, it is perfectly acceptable to remove it and turn the box into a junction box with a solid cover.
    Last edited by Doug Colombo; 11-09-2021 at 8:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    I don't use pigtails unless there's some oddball reason why they're needed.

  6. #6
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    When doing the wiring in my greenhouse the person helping me told me it was required by code. He may have been wrong.

    Asking Dr. Google > why pigtail outlets < this came back:

    There are two reasons for this. First, connecting the wires leading to downstream outlets with wire connectors creates a more secure connection. And second, it's easier to press the outlet back into the box if fewer of its screws are connected to wires.
    With expansion and contraction from heat it is possible for a screw to come loose.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
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    Where I live code requires pigtailing for new work.

    One of the arguments for pigtailing was to reduce the incidence of open neutrals in multi-wire and three phase circuits.

    Regards, Rod.

  8. #8
    I've never liked chaining off outlets unless absolutely necessary like where there isn't enough volume to legally add pigtails to the box. For anything new, I always allow for pigtails in the wire volume count and I
    normally add room for a few extra wires. I have a particular dislike of boxes crammed to or above the volume limit.

    If I was going to chain off an outlet, the only type I would feel comfortable using are those ones where the wire goes in the back and is clamped internally by the side screw. I definitely would not want to use fish hooks under the side screws of those cheap $0.79 outlets from the Big Box to feed something downstream. Those screws always seem like they are about to strip out.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 11-09-2021 at 9:21 PM.

  9. #9
    Thanks every one. I discussed the situation with the Mrs. She responded that since I have wanted to get two new lines back to service my work shop, I should just go ahead and call an electrician. I have installed new lines to new breakers in boxes, even 240 lines for baseboard heat, but I had a color coded book that showed it dead simple for me to follow. As it was, I was not all that comfortable doing it and I double and triple checked everything. This makes it easy. Besides it will be easier for the electrician to run off the main to a second breaker box in the shop.

  10. #10
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    I no longer use wire nuts, I use Wagos instead.
    Color coded wiring book? Wiring only has 3 or maybe four colors. White, green or bare, and any other color.
    Bill D

  11. #11
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    I here that wiring through the switch is not ideal because if the outlet goes bad you lose both. I wouldnt think this is a problem as I would change it anyway and have plenty of spares in the house. I guess the idea is if its being done for someone who isnt comfortable with electric.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I no longer use wire nuts, I use Wagos instead.
    Color coded wiring book? Wiring only has 3 or maybe four colors. White, green or bare, and any other color.
    Bill D
    Little stick figures to indicate motion, Bill...

    Seriously, there are quite a few books available that have representative wiring diagrams which emphasize correct connections via color...and yes, those colors are typically the same as the wire that would normally be used for the geography the book is marketed to. (North America's normal colors may not be the same as in other geographies) These books are very helpful to folks who want to DIY simple to moderate things and feel comfortable doing so.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I did exactly the same thing two months ago, only it was an upright freezer. Since the old outlet was no long accessible, I took it out and used it as a junction box. Has I wanted to keep it, I would have attached the new wires directly to the outlet. I am looking forward to hearing why that is not acceptable.
    What is not acceptable is to have a junction box that is inaccessible.

  14. #14
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    Either way is fine, including the suggestion to remove the receptacle from the original box and just turn it into a junction box (if by doing so you don't violate the required receptacle spacing). My bigger concern is that you seem to lack a basic understanding, or more likely the confidence to do even the simplest wiring. You can do it! You have done it before. White to white (silver terminals) black to black (brass terminals) and all grounds pigtailed to the green terminal and to the box if it steel. A little plug in tester is your friend. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...102R/206029151
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 11-10-2021 at 10:40 AM.
    NOW you tell me...

  15. #15
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    if the Romex or 12ga wire in the old box is directly connected to a receptacle, then I would not stack the new 12 ga wire on top of the old wires in the receptacle and torque down the screws for two reasons: (1) You're essentially using the receptacle as large un-insulated wire nut; (2) I'm not sure the screw in the receptacle will back off enough to allow two sets of 12ga wire underneath it. It is designed to accommodate only one set of wires, not two.

    Better to add a set of the short 3" pig tails to the connection for the old receptacle connected by wire nuts. Then make the connection for the new Romex or 12 ga wire to those wire nuts. The connection is more secure and insulated.
    Regards,

    Tom

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