Electrical Wiring Methods: Screw Terminals or Quick Connect
Is it true that the older method of wiring switches and outlets is to attach the wiring to the screw terminals? How to Connect Wires to a Switch or Outlet: Best Practices for Electrical Wires for Outlets and Switches and Factors Relating to Electrical Connections.
Outlet Wire Connections
Electrical Question: Is it true that the older method of wiring switches and outlets is to attach the wiring to the screw terminals?
- The newer method is to simply “strip” and remove the exterior covering of the wire, and the end of the wire and push it into a hole provided in the back of the switch or outlet.
- It has been said that with the “strip” method, while stripping the wire, oils from your hands can get on the wire and when pushed into the hold provided on the switch or outlet the brass tab in the plug or outlet will start to corrode and cause an arc and possibly a fire. It can take years for the corrosion to occur.
- Have you ever heard of this issue with stripping wires?
- Apparently it can cause you to lose electrical power or have lights flickering, meaning it is the beginning of the problem.
Thank you for your answer, in advance.
This electrical wiring question came from: Gary, a Homeowner from Grand Blanc, Michigan.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Gary.
How to Connect Wires to a Switch or Outlet
Application: Wiring Receptacle Outlets and Switches.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be added and the access to the location for the new outlets.
Precaution: Identify the existing outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done through the local building authority, installed according to applicable local and national electrical codes, with a permit, and have the required inspections.
Best Practices for Connecting Wires to Outlets and Switches
- Factors Relating to Electrical Connections
- I have never seen that the oil from our hands can cause corrosion, although I guess that over time I may have an effect.
- Connections for Electrical Wires
- Screw terminal wiring is always best when it is done right, and quick connect works fine except when there is a heavy amperage load which may cause the contacts to break down due to heat, expansion and contraction of the metal.
- Series and Parallel Wiring
- This condition is also accelerated when series wiring is used instead of parallel. Parallel wiring is best especially when using spliced wires and connecting a single pig tailed wire from the spice to the outlet or switch which prevents the circuit load from passing through the device.
- Sensitive Electrical Parts
- It is true that when installing quartz lamps that you should not touch the glass because the oil from your skin will create a hot spot that will cause the lamp to burn out sooner.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.