I’m about to embark on an outlet-replacement spree.
We moved to a new place a few months ago, and I’ve been seeing some receptacle issues. Some are worn, and a few have faults I need to investigate. Thank you, Klein outlet tester!
I’m also strongly considering installing tamper resistant outlets in my son’s room. I don’t think it’s long until he learns how to defeat pop-in outlet covers, and I’m not sure sliding outlet covers are a good deterrent on their own.
Knowing that I have quite a few outlets to replace, I’ve started to do my homework about receptacles. Translation: I’ve spent too much time trying to get up to speed.
We’ve got some Hubbell outlets in the kitchen, and they’re fairly easy to use. I’m used to nightmarishly difficult tamper resistant outlets, but these seem decent.
Lowes online carries a 10-pack of BR15 outlets that look decent, for $35. $3.50 each is quite a bit more than the cheap residential outlets, and not much more than the slightly better residential ones.
I bought 2 Leviton Preferred outlets from Home Depot, and they seem decent. The tamper resistant mechanism is a little stiff, but feels like it’ll break in over time, at least a little bit.
I also bought a Legrand Pass & Seymour outlet from Lowes, spec-grade, 5262. The Leviton equivalent isn’t available locally, only online.
I’m interested in better outlets for 2 reasons. First, I want back and side wiring options. I don’t mean the quick-stab feature that seems to draw universal disdain, but where you can strip a wire and clamp it down beneath the screw.
Second, I just want better quality than the lowest price junk. Going with spec grade won’t break the bank, but should provide me with better quality and extended longevity. Better quality is important to me where tamper resistance is concerned. I don’t want to have to fight with outlets.
Of course I’m open to contrasting opinions.
$3 and change per outlet seems to be the floor at which you can get back wiring as a connection option.
Not that I can’t do a standard screw connection, but it seems a lot easier to 1) strip a wire to length, using the gauge on the back of an outlet, 2) insert under screw connection plate, 3) tighten screw.
Hooking a wire for side wiring only requires maybe an extra step, but I like back wiring better.
Right now I have the 3 mentioned outlets – 2 Leviton and a Pegrand P&S, and I’ll seek to pick up a Hubbell if I can find the time to go to an electrical supply house.
For non-tamper resistant outlets, I’ll likely go with the Leviton 5252 shown above. It’s $6 through Amazon, slightly more locally. Too bad I can’t find a good price on the tamper resistant version, 5262
But I also figured I could skip to the chase and ask for your opinions.
The only thing I know is that I don’t want “Decora” style outlets. But beyond that, flat front, or not?
Model numbers have been throwing me for a loop. Hubbell BR15 or 5262? Both look to have comparable specs, although the 5262 is $8 and change at Amazon, but the BR15 is $35 for 10. Looking at this Hubbell PDF, the BR15 tamper resistant version (Lowes model BR15WHITR10Z) is not spec-grade since it’s tamper resistant (“Commercial Tamper-Resistant Devices are not Fed Spec Listed”), and the 5262 is “heavy duty” specification grade. It also has a “Finder Face.”
It seems that the smooth face looks better, but not quite as decorative as, well, decorative and “Decora” outlets, but the finder face might be more practical. I guess it’s called a “Finder Face” since it helps guide outlet prongs.
Okay, so with all that in mind, I’ll be trying out a few outlets. Assuming they all install as easily, it’ll only be… maybe a couple of years, perhaps many, before I see any difference in performance. Unless of course one brand has superior tamper resistant shutters that are easier to work.
And yes, I know that an outlet has to be inserted from straight on, or at least with both prongs in contact with the shutters in order for the plug to be successfully inserted.
If you’ve ever formed an opinion about power receptacles, what are your recommendations? If you’re an electrician, I’m especially interested in your opinions and expertise.
If you’ve tried back wiring, what kind of wiring style do you prefer?
Smooth face, “Finder Face,” or full flat front “decorative” style?
Let’s hear what you have to say about power outlets! (Please/thank you.)
Why not “Decora” style?
Up here in Canada, the decora style is the upgrade choice when upgrading from regular builder style (the one you pictured above). I personally like them better than the standard ones in the picture.
Yes you can upgrade to even fancier but you can be paying lots of money per outlet. Even in the $100 range.
I have installed hundreds of outlets and switches (usually Leviton or Cooper). However I have never really noticed or payed attention to the difference in installing each type. I just adjusted my technique as needed.If needed at all.
Dont sweat about it too much. In a few months you wont know what the difference is or could have been between all the different model/makes.
As for Temper resistant (TR).
Why limit the TR to only your sons current room. If I was to replace (which I did last year when we moved it) I would replace the entire house. Up here in ontario, the Code requires all newly installed outlets to be TRs. (without getting into the specific exceptions).
They are all a little hard to use at first, but all need some time to get “worked in”
Find something that works with your budget and you like the best from an aesthetic point of view. The rest is a piece of cake.
I’m replacing his outlets with TR to start. Will probably do the rest, except on areas he’s not allowed, like the basement.
As for Decora, the ones on display at the store are all scratched up. Seems like they’ll start looking ugly pretty quickly. That’s most of my hesitation, aesthetics is a small part.
They are probably all scratched up because they are placed in individually into a bin.
Each one rubbing against the other.
If you buy a 10 pack than you will not have this problem.
The demos too. Generally, if something can’t hold up to the public, it might not hold up in heavy duty use elsewhere.
I still scratch my head on why they STILL use standard head screws as opposed to Phillips heads on outlet covers, just from a safety issue, most are #1 slotted/standard screwdriver size which will easily slip into most plug receptacles slots.
Sorry a bit of topic but it’s always made me wonder when most of the rest of the screw heads on an outlet/switch are either Phillips or combos.
Another head scratcher:
Why do they make a surge/power strips with oversized outlet spacing for wall warts, but rather than using a space saving flush mount plugs (90° plugs) they use a normal 1/2″ gauged sized cord that sticks out 9-12″ into the room or path, instead of near flush, they also stay plugged in better and don’t get pulled out as easily.
sorry for the OT rant.
We add adjustable right angle plugs to all of our power strips.
And if you’d like to avoid that Amazon must have a dozen that already come so equipped. And/or just look for horizontal cube tap-like sideways adapters. Like they also have for HDMI and DIN stipe plugs. All to keep stuff closer behind flat screens etc.
“I still scratch my head on why they STILL use standard head screws as opposed to Phillips heads on outlet covers”
It gives electricians an opportunity to waste time aligning the slots vertically. It then provides another opportunity to complain about ‘cheap’ cover plates when they crack after overtorquing the screws to get them aligned.
Why do they need to be aligned vertically? They just do. Besides, look at these examples of what happens without the proper alignment:
Notice the orientation of the cover screws!
Choosing Decora-Style is just a matter of your tastes.
When I rewired some rooms where I wanted to reuse some antique (looking anyway) solid brass switch plates and outlet plates – I chose to stay with the duplex style receptacles and toggle-switch dimmers.
In some other rooms – where I was adding outlets , adding recessed lighting etc. I needed new plates anyway – so I switched to Decora.
As far as grade and connector style – my wife selected the color – then it was a matter of seeing what was available at the local electrical supply house – usually buying the best grade available in the color my wife wanted.
In the past there were back-wired receptacles where the connection relied on a spring action clip. I never like this style – preferring the side terminal style with a screwed-down connection. I would typically make up the receptacle then add some electrical tape around the body to cover the exposed screw heads. Now there are receptacles where the back-wiring uses a screw and clamp to secure the wire. I like this style – think they are faster to make up – and good as long as you strip your wires correctly with the proper length of exposed conductor.
In my business – we’d just let our electricians work out the details with the homeowners – and let the customer know if any of their afterthought special requests were going to change our costs – and/or let them supply special items like switch plates themselves.
This comment sums up everything perfectly. If you want to go over budget, go for hospital grade receptacles 😀
Everytime I remember to grab a few TR outlets it seems that my local B&M stocks only the “ugly” ones. I mean I get that its nice to advertise they are tamper resistant, but come on, why did they have to go and embed “TR” on the face. I know I’m probably picky but it really does look ridiculous and distracting. I walk by the area and keep looking but they’re still there hoping they’re replaced by clean style updates.
Replacing outlets/switches is something I did when we bought our new house about 3 years back. Last step after repainting the room.
I used almost exclusively the Leviton “preferred” versious, largely for reasons of availability in 10 packs (Home Depot). I liked the heft of the preferred versions more than the “standard” versions. Also note that the preferred cover plates are slightly larger as well, which can help hide ragged edges or paint ridges from old cover plates. Only complaint about the quality of any of the Leviton stuff was that the cover plates had a fair bit of mold flash that I trimmed off with a utility knife.
We used the flat face tamper resistant outlets. The TR mechanism did seem a bit stiff at first, but we quickly stopped noticing it. Either it loosened up or we got used to it, or maybe both.
I’ve never wired an outlet/switch using the back wiring. It seems easy, but I got nervous when all of the old outlets I removed used that method and most of the wires were loose.
You’ve already spent way, way more time than it’s worth worrying about and researching this. What exactly is your objection to the cheapest level of outlets? You don’t like the way they look? They are *electrical outlets*. They’re not meant to look pretty.
Most people aren’t plugging and unplugging things into outlets enough to where durability becomes an issue until a decade or more after installation. I’m no electrician, but I’ve never had an outlet that I personally installed go bad from either mis-installation or lack of durability.
Also, I hate to sound like an insensitive jerk, but if your kid is old enough to defeat the little plastic plug-in outlet protectors, s/he’s old enough to follow a “don’t stick things in outlets” rule.
It’d what I do. 🙂
Cheaper outlets have smaller and less robust contacts. They’re built to be cheap.
Some outlets will be frequently used, others with higher amperage devices. I’d rather install better outlets elsewhere than pick and choose where good outlets go and cheap ones go.
Plus, TR outlets are finnicky sometimes as it is. I’ve tested some in-store, and the cheapest ones are a lot harder to insert plugs into. The cheapness extends to the shutter mechanism.
So no, it’s not about “looks”.
Agreed on the cheap TR outlets. Some previous owner swapped to TR in the bathroom, and only the bathroom, which kind of boggled my mind. They are an absolute pain in the ass to use. I was actually happy when a recent power surge burned out the GFCI in one, so I can replace them with something better.
Haters gonna hate. SMH… Electrical wiring components don’t seem like a prudent place to save a few pennies. Life’s too short to have to worry about things that may burn your house down. Or cheap drill bits, F**K cheap drill bits, lol!
As for telling a kid no. Come on, man. You ever been around a kid? I’m because of a 1yo grand baby that is fascinated with buttons, switches, and knobs. She has already defeated the cheap plug covers. She is so adorable when you tell her “no” and she smiles and looks you in the eye while she continues doing the forbidden activity.
BTW; you kind of sounded like an insensitive jerk, lol.
I don’t know what brand it was, but a buddy of mine picked up a GFCI outlet for me and bought the cheapest one to save me a few cents. The tamper resistant slider things were so tough to work with that within 10 uses one of the outlets permanently jammed in the closed position. Can’t use it anymore. The other still works, but it requires some careful technique of inserting prongs at an angle and wiggling side to side in an effort to outsmart the spring mechanism. Saving a little money on a cheap outlet didn’t save any money since I now need a replacement for what was a brand new outlet installation.
It’s hard to recommend a style of receptacle, I like the decora receptacles but sometimes they can be a real pain in the a$$ to get the plate and receptacle to sit flush with each other. As for the back vs side wiring, I always try to loop the wire around the screw, it’s a much sturdier connection, many times I have been trying to fit the receptacle into the box and with a twist here and there the wires come loose from the back wire clamps. I don’t fully trust them.
Cheaper outlets have “back stab” holes. The better ones have rear access to the screw terminals.
I’ve heard of the stab connection failing easily, but back wiring seems as sturdy as a hooked connection.
I’ve been an electrician for 15 years and have had countless back wire, not back stab receptacles fail. You have to remember as current flows the wires heat and cool, expand and contract and over time can cause a loose connection with the clamp.
Yikes, thanks! With that in mind I might focus on standard hook connections, unless I guess existing wiring doesn’t behave well with it.
Mike is exactly right. I have seen this myself as well. I always try to loop the wire around the screws. Also make sure you have self grounding receptacles. Not all are. In NYC we are required to ground every single receptacle and switch.
We had some remodeling work several years ago where houses had been wired with aluminum rather than copper conductor. I believe we had recommended rewiring – running new copper conductor or pigtailing copper to the aluminum with special connectors. My understanding was that aluminum conductors were especially prone to creep under terminal screws – worse yet performance in back-wired receptacles – and the implicated culprit in several house fires – where loosening connections had heated up receptacles to the point where combustion ensued.
Mike, curious why that would be an issue with receptacles but not at the panel, where wires are similarly installed to the breakers.
Ideally a breaker never moves it sits in its slot and trips from time to time, a receptacle is subjected to repeated movement of plugging and unplugging, also some people take them out to paint around them. Just my 2 cents but I have never seen a wire come out of a side wired receptacle but have seen many come out of a back wired one.
Breakers are cu/al rated standard receptacles are not by the way I just returned home from a service call for backstabbed recept in a bedroom that the neutral failed
I don’t have a personal preference. I do know, I installed a couple of TR outlets at my in laws house. A drill worked fine in it. A lamp did not. A surge protector strip did. So it’s hit or miss what’s being plugged into it.
As far as back connection, those are great. Personally if there is no screw down connector, I go the extra step with a fork connector on the screw and WAGO 221-413 as a pigtail.
I’m not a fan of the US style outlet, even the tamper resistant plugs don’t take care of what I think is a bigger problem: if the plug isn’t fully inserted, it exposes the live terminal.
I thought I’ve seen outlets that lock the plug in place, but I couldn’t find them searching this morning.
Also it seems that the standard is the ground pin down, as many things you can plug in are upside down if your outlets aren’t that way. I am an advocate of putting the ground up. As kids we used to drop razor blades onto partially removed plugs for fun. If the ground is up this doesn’t work as well — as least for three pronged plugs.
Finally don’t trust neutral wires to by dead when you cut the breaker. I just about bought the farm when I was checking for a fault in my basement. The outlets were wired with a multibranch (two circuits one neutral) circuit and the neutral wires were tired together with the outlet. So when I pulled the neutral wires off the outlet, one of them became a live wire.
Ground up vs. ground down is something I’ve thought about, but haven’t come to any conclusion about. For now, I plan to replace outlets ground down.
Thanks also for the safety check reminder!
Of course you also have the option (although code may require them for certain rooms) of replacing outlets with GFCI or AFCI protection – either at the outlet or at the breaker
My only recommendation is to buy USA made. My wife picked up some outlets for me to install in a bathroom we were upgrading. Put them in and neither one of them worked. Looked at the label and they were both made in China. Went to Home Depot and replaced both with USA made and reinstalled and they both worked fine.
Strangely, the better/pricier Leviton and Legrand P&S ones are made in Mexico. I haven’t checked out the Hubbell ones yet.
I do prefer USA-made if I can help it, but the Mexico-made ones seemed good.
I’ll keep that it mind for next time. Thanks
I like and use Leviton,they are made well and work well,and easy to find locally. I wouldnt skimp by using anything else. Currently have quite a few leviton TR’s installed. been several years since i installed them now,no issues.
As for back or side connection,im not really partial I get whichever ones are cheaper at the time.
Stuart, this topical for me since I work in a large group facilities to include dormitories.
The best quality receptacles I have used are Hubbell and P&S. This would be in their best quality commercial line but not the ‘industrial’ line they both seem to have. The quality is night and day between them and the ‘preferred’ line at home centers. Even in the same brand. I think they cost about four dollars each. Side wired too and no issues. Use the strip gauge on them and tighten securely. These are duplex and the Hubbell has flat faces which look better to me.
some of those brands I hadn’t heard of but I like your idea and I’m in a similar boat. I have a toddler and we are moving to a new house. I’ve put a few of the spring loaded receptacle covers in our house currently and I like them but I like the full TR plugs better.
I’ve not researched better plugs so I’m quite curious about findings. I also agree don’t buy cheap electrical parts – especially when they are going to be in a wall for years.
Also to the electrician that spoke out against the back connectors – thank you. I’ve been saying that for years too. I hate the stabs on principal and I hate the little clamps because the surface contact is less than tradition hook and screw.
anyway post up with whatever you end up buying. I’m curious myself. OH and I don’t like the decora crap either. unless you were going to also paint them to match maybe.
Our home took some damage from a storm requiring extensive repairs. Used 12/2 with ground romex and many hospital grade duplex outlets. Side wired them under the clamping screw and wrapped them with ele tape same a Fred. Have responded to many service requests where the problem stemmed from a push in type back wired duplex so I try to stay away from that type of connection where possible.
With the back-wiring, I don’t mean the push-in ones, but the clamp-down ones.
Underneath the screw there’s a conductor plate, often curved to provide greater surface area and clamping pressure.
This is the kind of connection you guys are seeing fail over time?
I’ll admit I’ve not seen a back clamp connection fail but I have seen the push in ones fail. most often the wire pops out – but in 2 instances the wire poped out and cross contacted damaging the outlet and popping the breaker. (thank god, but it wasn’t my house)
The back clamp design I have to admit I’ve also used once only because I couldn’t get enough wire to reach the side terminals and get a good connection – the house wire was just barely long enough to reach the box let alone the receptacle.
Nathan,the short wire issue is why we keep some of these around.
Stuart, I won’t speak to anyone elses experiences but I have never had a receptacle connection of this type ‘fail’. I have seen them installed poorly and have loose comnections. This was lazy install work. The same kind of guys leave loose comnections on the side wired terminals as well
OH one more thing – I’d also look toward a few outlets for home automation. There are a few outlets that are also Zwave compatible that I’ve considered. they fit in normal boxes with what looks like a little extra depth. some have power monitoring as well as on/off control. some are one always on, the other controlled. etc.
And another options I’ve considered is the bigger monitor and control relay that you wire in separately to standard outlets or light controls.
A lot of places that use updated codes are requiring tamper resistant devices throughout the house – code requirement in Massachusetts for residential.
I definitely recommend a higher quality – P&S, Hubbell spec or industrial grade – the couple of bucks is worth the quality!
AFCI and combo AFCI/GFCI protection is also becoming/is a code standard – substantially more expensive but may add a level of protection that you might want to invest in
Jim, another great reason to use high quality receptacles. The AFCI breakers are a bit notorious for nuisance tripping and any loose or dodgy terminations will add to the problem. Cheap receptacles terminals loosen up faster and if your cord plug moves around a bit in the socket it an fool the AFCI into thinking it has a fault. A bit rare but it happens. As always, good terminations are key.
If the outlets themselves work, you can get childproof outlet covers like these https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TBZB216/
Thanks, those have been in my cart for some time. I might add those on top of TR outlets for double protection.
Actually Stuart you might want to consider swapping those out of your cart for some outlet covers that encloses the whole plug. Tamper Resitant outlets only provide protection for unused outlets, for those outlets that have something plugged into them the danger is if your son partially pulls the plug out and exposes the connected prongs. In my children’s rooms I use some of these box style outlet covers on the outlets where there are things permanently plugged in – lamps, baby monitor, etc.
I used the Levitrons in their rooms… but I used the back stab connection; now you guys have me freaked out. I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend
Thanks, that’s something to think about.
You mean like this Safety 1st cover?
Yup, that’s the one I use. It fully replaces the outlet plate; so it has a plate which the outer cover slides onto and locks/clicks into place. They also have a safety cover with power bars, which I use in tandem with that to handle wallwart style plugs:
Hi Stuart, I just finished a whole house remodel and had to use TR receptacles (Code). Although I do like recessed faced style, I chose these Cooper branded ones and the online vendor had great pricing and service. Order almost all my electrical through them. The receptacles may be a little stiff when inserting plugs (although it could be that I’m not use to TR, but the do hold really well.
Finder face behind furniture and/or 20″ off the floor, but flat face above the countertop. When you’re trying to plug something into an outlet hiding behind a heavy piece of furniture, you’re wearing nicer clothes and don’t want to lie down on the floor, and it’s dark, anything that will help you get that plug into the socket is going to help.
Above the countertop, the flat face looks nicer and it’s usually pretty within line of sight.
For what it’s worth, it seems like Hubbell has a different type of mechanism for their TR that is supposedly easier to insert.
I’ve homes and commercial buildings for decades. Each time tried to be purpose driven.
And color driven and switch plate driven and even period correct (like mid century toggled only) driven.
And have zero regrets buying the night spec grade components. Back and side wire if possible. And now with so many triple use (incandescent/CFL/LED) dimmers needed even that becomes a style choice.
And don’t fitget to consider Surge protection recepticals everywhere you might expect that need. I even put them behind all our wall mount TVs now.
My two favorite switch and receptical colors are white and grey. For whole installations. Sometimes just white in the bathrooms. Grey everywhere else.
And I’m partial to Stainless Steel switch plates but never mid size or the giant size versions commonly available in plastic and nylon.
And what brand do you prefer the “look” of their dimmers and timers? For me Leviton.
I even love to install lit versions of some switches. And colored industrial toggles for just a different look.
The Leviton Decora series are actually knockoff of the earlier and extinct Sierra brand and while I’ve used them and have now complaints you do the spec grade (in bulk or individual boxed packages!) if you like them.
This is an endless tirade. Sorry.
When we bought our house 4 years ago I went through and replaced every outlet in the living areas with Leviton Tamper-Resistant outlets bought in 10 packs at Home Depot. Outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms were replaced with GFCIs or chained in after a GFCI. I also replaced all the switches with matching hardware. At a few dollars an outlet cost was not really a concern, but this project did take a lot of time.
We now have a 10 month old scooting around the house and its good to know that the outlets are all safe.
Living in California means that we have earthquakes from time to time, and I wanted to make sure that the wiring would not loosen due to shaking or heat fluctuation so I took the small amount of extra time to install the wire using loops around the screw terminals. I also wrapped a layer of electrical tape around the outlets to keep anything from shorting to the screw terminals. People have very mixed opinions about doing this, some think it is a waste of time and makes future work a sticky mess, others think it is a good idea.
Cant speak for them just yet, but after an extensive first floor and kitchen renovation, we’re usingP&S/ legrand adorne outlets, switches and dimmers throughout. I’ll let you know how it goes. The impetus for using them was their pop out outlet that my wife really liked for the kitchen.
Using them at the end of an islandd and in the backpslash. Using standard outlets in other areas.
We looked at those last year for a loft buildout and I asked a few friends to try some of the sensor equipped units and got a big “WTF?” for a response.
As for the pop outs and their similar USB charger ports I dunno. And no Surge Protectors then.
Plus they literally cost 4 to 5 times what P&S or my fav Leviton cost and they’re hard to gang in 3s, 4s and up. Space hogs. Something we’re prone to doing.
Let us all know how they hold up! Please.
I looked at the link and have a lingering WTF too. Adding (a lot of) cost & complexity for what?
I saw the Legrand Adorn at a HD Super Store. They look interesting, but are a lot of money. I also couldn’t find a lot of user feedback. And that price is for just the outlet. Wall plates start at like $9 each.
If my wife expressed interest, I’d give it a try too.
Some of their light switches look fantastic too, including one you just wave your hand past.
Little off topic, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of wiring, I recommend the Klein 1012 strippers. These little things are fantastic. I added 4 circuits with 15 or 16 boxes to the garage when we bought our house, and this stripper was a lifesaver. Klein updated to a newer design that I haven’t tried, but the lock and springs don’t look quite as robust. A nice part is the holes spaced perfectly to bend the hook for screw terminals.
I found one place still selling the old 1012’s.
I recently bought a Klein K1412 stripper from Amazon, hope to do a review soon. Is this the updated model you’re referring to?
Please be careful with outlet testers, they may not always be giving you accurate information..
This video will demonstrate the issues that could occur…
I’m not sure if this has been mentioned. But on larger commercial projects, such as Universities, most of the time they spec “plugtail” type receptacles. Pass and Seymour is one brand I know sells them. Quick work of changing them in the future, and foolproof, as no wires are on back out devices.
Backstab outlets are a dream to install but a nightmare to replace. I invariably just cut the wires flush with the outlet and throw it away.
Most of the renovation work we did – would have us replacing everything anyway to bring everything up to code. Lots of older construction still has ungrounded receptacles, an inadequate number of receptacles and/or receptacles spaced too far apart, no GFCI or AFCI protection where required by code etc. On some jobs the client wanted to maintain the look of the old so we might go with mid-century style (but modern) push button switches or Despard style receptacles and switches.
FWIW, all I ever use @ home is com. spec outlets. Not hospital rated like some in the post….for starters, it has the visible green ~dot~ and if you are in BX/Steel box land, you will need to install a seperate ground wire to it.
I went ballz to wallz with my 1st one. Removed all the lower outlets in his room, put blank plates, ran some wire mold vertical for a outlet up top to his baby book shelf, etc….
Strangely, the little critter never or subsequent have never messed with the outlets at all. They do learn to not touch certain things.
Before the baby, all I ever installed were com. spec ones at home anyhow so it was no change in routine.
Both my 2yr and 1yr old sons can remove the plug in outlet covers. Dont think I have the time or could justify the cost of tamper resistant outlets.
Basic recommendations follow, so ignore if you like.
-Torque screwdriver needed – use it on every terminal screw, set to the proper torque by the manufacturer. Many thermal cycle loosening issues are because the installer can over or under torque the screws, both being a bad option.
-Strip wire carefully, any nicks in the copper are areas for failure in the future. Don’t go trying to make it better, and make it worse by accident. This requires care with many of the cheaper strippers.
I personally prefer the back wire with the plate clamp as these don’t require bending of the wire, and allow for a solid connection without too much trouble.
As a previous poster said, use the ‘finder’ front ones in areas where you may be reaching around blind. Flat fronts will get scratched up easily if anyone ‘misses’ when plugging things in – if you find that to be an issue, as I have, just make them all finder fronts.
Check out your local codes – but many places are recommending / requiring AFCI & GFCI in many parts of the home now. If you’re going through the trouble (especially in a bedroom) I’d recommend replacing the upstream breaker as well, to get the AFCI and GFCI protection there (unless the lighting is on the same circuit, then put the AFCI / GFCI receptacle on the first outlet for the room, after the lights).
I’ve put hospital grade receptacles in one place. My workbench where I’m repeatedly swapping things in and out. Most anywhere else there’s limited need for anything more than a quality graded receptacle.
Also note – the terminal screws on many receptacles are not best driven by a Phillips or a flat driver. https://toolguyd.com/klein-combo-tip-screwdrivers-bits/ – I prefer the CK Modulo 2 style insert bits as these drop easily into my torque screwdriver handle and make quick work of the screws without danger of a strip.
Any specific examples of a connection failing from being overtorqued? I’ve never seen it happen. Aside from obvious extreme examples with physical damage which should be obvious to someone paying attention to what they’re doing. At the end of day were talking about 15-20 amps max which you’ll likely never see unless using the terminals as a splice.
Joe, Sorry I’m not able to find the test results I remember seeing a year ago or so. My understanding is that overtorque (besides stripping the screw causing less clamping pressure) also flattens the wire cross section, especially over time / heating cycles. Work hardening of the copper would make it more brittle and prone to break, as I’ve seen on some receptacles I’ve removed – the wire was more than twice as wide, and half as thick under the screw, and as I pulled the receptacle from the box the wires broke off, right at the transition point under the screw head.
It’s a RECEPTACLE, not an outlet. A couple of definitions from the NEC:
“Outlet. A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.”
“Receptacle. A receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug. A single receptacle is a single contact device with no other contact device on the same yoke. A multiple receptacle is two or more contact devices on the same yoke.”
An outlet is not a physical thing. It’s an abstract concept, the point where the premise wiring ends and the utilization equipment begins. Can you see it, feel it, touch it? If so, then it is not an outlet.
Sorry to preach on this but it’s without a doubt the #1 misused term in the electrical field. It’s the kind of thing that makes electricians and electrical engineers shriek with rage. Or should, at least. A bit disappointing to see 65 comments without one mention of the difference between the two terms.
What outlet/recepticle did you end up using? I am in the process of building my own house and don’t want the cheepies that the local box store has. I like the Leviton-5262-SGW, but at $18 apiece it seems like a waste of money. I guess I am wondering what you used and if you liked your choice?
I haven’t had the time yet. I had wiring done in the garage recently. I’ve found that the Hubbell GFCI’s have great tamper-proof mechanisms. The regular outlets, not so much.
I think I’ll go with Leviton Preferred for most places, Hubbell or Legrande back-wire ones at frequent use locations, the ones that are $4 to $5 each.
$18 each for the 5262-SGW? I think that’s a bit much except for mission-critical applications.
Stuart, Hubbell redesigned all of their TR products and the outlets are also GREAT now. You might have gotten older ones, but the new ones are phased in now. They’re even giving out free samples to prove it! No strings and you can pick whether you want Industrial, Commercial, or Residential grade
I did sign up for 2 samples a few months ago. I also tried to get in touch with Hubbell’s marketing contact. Nobody ever got back to me, and eventually a beige outlet of different specs than I remember signing up for showed up.
We had Hubbell outlets installed in renovation work in October and before that May. The bulk of the outlets were in contractor packs, and they’re no better and in some cases worse than the home improvement store Leviton’s. The GFCIs seem to be decent so far.
I’d be open to requesting more samples, but don’t have much faith in ever seeing them.
Did that 1 sample materialize because of my request, or because of my unanswered attempt to reach someone at Hubbell who might be able to answer technical questions about how/why their products might be better?
I’ve been meaning to get to the electrical supply house to pick up some more samples to complement the ones I found at the home centers, but I can never find the time to drive over there during their business hours.