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Old 11-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
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If there's one comment that I've read in this forum that appears more often than all the rest combined, it's a universal hatred of backstabbed outlets.

So I took a look at the outlets in my house, and, yep, they're backstabbed. (FYI, house was built in 1979, no additions or remodels since, all branch wiring is Cu.)

Should I bother to change all the outlets over to the screw terminals? This would be a rainy day, nothing better to do, a few at a time, long term project.

Also, for whatever reason, all the outlets were installed with the ground pin up, the two blades below it. Does it matter, is there any reason (other than eccentricity) that this was done, should I turn all the outlets "right side up" while I'm un-backstabbing?

Thanks much. I originally started reading the forum to learn about generators, but have learned much more about a wide range of topics.


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Old 11-14-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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I wouldn't bother to change either, I backstab all my switches and even will do receptacles every so often.


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Old 11-14-2012, 05:10 PM   #3
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I would, it could save an expensive service call later.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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Wait, those little push-in things on the back of outlets / switches are bad? I'm new here, hadn't heard that..... off to search...
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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Personally, I don't like and I don't do backstabbing.

My opinion, Don't make a project out of it unless the receptacles are giving you problems. If you need to repair a receptacle, then go ahead and change it out. But I would not just go throughout the house changing them just because they are back-stabbed.

As for ground pin up. My understanding is that it was believed to be a safer way of mounting a receptacle.
Think of this scenario. You have a 3-wire cord plugged into a receptacle. the receptacle is getting old and does not hold the cord plug very well and it's half hanging out of the socket so you can see the pins of the plug. Now, something metal just happens to slip down and touches those pins. Something metal like a metal receptacle face plate that has come loose. With the ground up, the metal touches ground first and if it slips further and touches hot, then there is a direct short and it trips the breaker.

If the ground was down, and the metal touched the hot and nothing else, then that metal would become energized making for a potential hazard to someone that comes in contact with the metal.

For awhile, some engineers started to get all googly eyed over the ground up issue. This comes into play mostly on large commercial projects that are heavily engineered and the plans call for this requirement.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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If you have a good connection now....unlikely that will change unless you pull the outlet out.

If you do have to pull one....fix it at that point.

A few years ago I made a little test setup to make sure all my outlets had a good connection....

I made a short pig tail that I could attach my meter leads to....one end male...other female.

On the female end I connected an iron.

With meter on and measuring the no load voltage....I would turn on the iron....typicall 1500w job...If I got more than about a 5 v drop...I pulled the outlet out....average drop was about 2 volts or less...

Only found one bad one....the outlet was just old and tired....all of mine were wired to the screws....


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