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Replacing an outlet

I'm replacing an existing outlet and there is an extra hot wire. There are 2 white (neutral), 1 ground, 2 black (hot), and 1 red. The red is wired into the outlet on the hot side. My new outlet only has two screws for hot wires. What do I do with the red wire. Can I just disconnect and shove back in the box, not connected to anything?
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Posted 2015-03-20T00:30:57+0000  by toddster toddster
First off you want to avoid using that little hole.  It's called "backstabbing" and while approved by code for 14 ga. wire only, many professionals believe such connections can be problematic.  Instead you would twist the two black wires together with a third short piece of wire (in your case 12 ga.) to form a "pigtail."  This picture shows the white (neutral) wires but the concept is the same:

The other thing you need to do is break off the small brass tab that's on the hot side of the receptacle.  That's the side with the BRASS colored screws.  Use a small screwdriver or pliers and gently wiggle it back and forth. 

Then connect the red wire to one screw and the black pigtailed wire to the other.  The two neutral wires can be connected to the silver screws (don't break that tab).  A your ground wire to the ground screw.

Obviously make sure the power is off when you do this.  Carefully push your wires back into the box, secure the receptacle, replace the cover, turn the power back on, and test.

Best Answer

Posted 2015-03-21T13:14:37+0000  by Adam444
The extra wire would make me think that this was a switched receptacle.  It's fairly common for half a receptacle to be controlled from a wall switch in rooms that don't have overhead lighting.  How was the old receptacle wired?

If this is the case, you can just cap off the red wire with a wire nut and push it to the back of the box.
Posted 2015-03-20T12:00:13+0000  by Adam444

It is a switched receptacle now that you mention it. It was wired that the top receptacle had one white and the red. The bottom receptacle had one white and two black.

How would you wire it to keep it switched? Being the new receptacle has only one screw for the hot and the gauge is bigger than the hole to push in the wire.

Posted 2015-03-21T00:27:06+0000  by toddster
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