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Old 01-26-2010, 08:05 AM   #1
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Is there any codes or even just "best practices" on how to use these green wire nuts for ground wires?

I understand the basic concept of you put the pigtail from your switch/outlet ground through the hole and twist it onto the other ground wiires. But I have already seen a few minor issues.

The main thing I'm encountering is if the wire is too long, it sticks out the other end of the nut where you have a sharp point inside your box. While this might not violate code, as an amature, I prefer to NOT have any sharp pieces of wire to poke and scratch things as I try to stuff everything back in the box. But if you cut it to short, you can quickly get into a situation where the wire nut tightens down so far that almost nothing of your pigtail is still inside the nut when you are done.

So far, the best thing I've been able to come up with on my own is to fold the wire back on itself so that the end of the wire is back under the wire nut with the rest of the grounds. But doing that seems to defeat the reason for having a hole in the top of the nut, and it essentually adds another wire count for your nut... and I've seen instructions on the package of some of these nuts that say a max wire count at 14AWG of 4 (though 5 seems more typical).

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Old 01-26-2010, 08:09 AM   #2
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Here is a photo. The long tail out of the top of the wirenut goes to the ground screw on the device.


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Old 01-26-2010, 08:10 AM   #3
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Use the hole in the small end only when one of the bare ground wires entering the box is long enough to go through the hole with a few inches protruding; you use that wire end as if it were a pigtail. If you don't need any pigtails or if no incoming bare wire is long enough, then arrange the wires so nothing comes through the small end after the wire nut is screwed on.

Regular pigtails should come out the large end with all the other wires.

Bending a wire back on itself usually does not go well with wire nuts because the U-bend is a little fatter than two wire ends and may keep the wire nut from screwing on tight.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-26-2010 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Ok, so while I might not like it, the proper use is to have the end of the pittail to stick out beyond the wire nut.

"...so nothing comes through the small end after the wire nut is screwed on..."
Maybe I'm putting my wire nuts on too tight, but when I'm using #14 wire, it's so far been pretty common for the longest ground wire to protrude back up through the hole, even when a pigtail is already through the hole.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


You need to cut all the grounds the same length, except the pigtail part, then you only have the one wire coming out.
Another way is to use crimp sleeves and not use the greenies.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Actually no harm is done if a wire protruded through the hole in the small end by a quarter inch or so, but nothing useful is had either.

The hole in the small end just lets you use one (or maybe two) of the ground wires (if long enough) to continue on and hook onto a receptacle or the box or another green wire nut after being wire nutted, instead of having to cut a separate piece of wire as a pigtail and wrestle that into the wire nut.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
You need to cut all the grounds the same length, except the pigtail part, then you only have the one wire coming out.
Another way is to use crimp sleeves and not use the greenies.
It's not that I'm trying to get any wire to prodrude (the 'wrong way') through the hole. It's just that when you start shoving a bunch of wires in a wire nut and start twisting tight, the ends of the wires are not going to stay exactly the same length. But when I say I have a wire prodruding, I'm talking by 1/8" or less.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Another trick with these wire nuts. Say you need two pigtails and none of the entering wires are long enough. Cut one 12 inch length and pass it straight through the wire nut halfway and then add the other ground wires. Now you have a pigtail sticking out of each end of the wire nut that is less likely to fall out and you only added one to the wire count.

If one incoming wire is long enough to act like a pigtail but I need two, I would prefer to cut one new six inch pigtail instead of trim off the long incoming wire.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
You need to cut all the grounds the same length, except the pigtail part, then you only have the one wire coming out.
Another way is to use crimp sleeves and not use the greenies.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:37 PM   #10
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Nothing wrong with going the extra mile and twisting your grounds together with linemans pliers prior to installing the wire nut...pre twisting and cutting them to length with the pigtail hanging the end out will ensure that you don't have one longer than the other.

Hard to beat the Ideal crimp sleeves and a C24 criming tool, although the crimper isn't cheap.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:39 PM   #11
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Nothing wrong with going the extra mile and twisting your grounds together with linemans pliers prior to installing the wire nut...pre twisting and cutting them to length with the pigtail hanging the end out will ensure that you don't have one longer than the other.

Hard to beat the Ideal crimp sleeves and a C24 criming tool, although the crimper isn't cheap.
I'm only finishing in 3 rooms in a basement (plus some modifications to the existing garage circuit). Is it even worth investigating crimp sleeves and criming tool for such a small job (after all, $$$ is the reason this is being done as a DIY job).
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:48 AM   #12
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Most electricians just crimp the sleeves with pliers, although technically that probably violates the product listing. The crimpers make a much more secure connection and look very professional. Most people that use crimps are pre-twisting the wires together and the crimp is just the required "insurance" that the bundle won't come undone.

If I were you and these couple rooms is all you're doing I'd figure out how to do those wire nuts neatly.

Also bear in mind that there is no requirement to use the green wire nuts on your grounds. Any properly sized wire nut will do.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:45 PM   #13
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Bumping this instead of making a new thread.

Anything wrong with pigtailing the ground just like the hot and neutral? I was thinking of using the yellow nuts and adding a short section of ground wire. Is that ok? I can get the green nuts, but I don't see them as being a necessity, maybe more of a convenience thing. Maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:23 PM   #14
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


Making a splice using regular wire nuts is fine also.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:12 PM   #15
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Proper Use of Green Wire Nuts


I would suggest using Ideal tan wire nuts rather than yellow wire nuts. Just my preference unless larger red wire nuts are needed.

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