How to Remove a Wire from a Push-in Connector (Expert Guide)

Removing a wire from a push-in connector can seem challenging. A loose connection can lead to a fire hazard, and what’s worse is that a circuit breaker can’t detect it.

In general, to remove a wire from a push-in connector safely:

  1. First, cut off the power.
  2. Separate the cover plate from the wall by removing the screws.
  3. Loosen the screws and pull out the electrical outlet.
  4. Insert the flat screwdriver into the releasing slot and pull out the wire.
  5. Repeat the same process for the other connections.

I will go into more detail below to show you how to remove a wire from a push-in connector safely.

5-Step Guide to Remove a Wire from a Push-In Connector

Step 1: Cut Off the Power

man hand on the switch box
Video | MonkeySee

First, identify the breaker that powers the push-in receptacle from which you’re trying to remove the wire.

Then, turn off that breaker or turn off the entire main power.

Don’t start this procedure without cutting off the power.

Even though we‘ve cut off the power to the push-in receptacle, it’s a good idea to check it again. So, insert a voltage tester or voltmeter into the push-in receptacle to check the voltage. After confirming the power is off, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Separate the Cover Plate

Next, loosen the two screws that hold the cover plate.

Use a screwdriver for this. Then, pull out the cover plate from the wall.

Remember: Most cover plates have two screws, but some might have only one.

Step 3: Remove the Electrical Outlet

After successfully removing the cover plate, you will get access to the inner part of the electrical outlet. You will see that the outlet is attached to the wall through an electrical box.

Remove any screws holding the electrical outlet and pull out the outlet from the wall.

Tip: If you suspect there is still power inside, check the outlet’s power one more time using the tester or voltmeter.

Step 4: Release the Slot and Separate the Wires

Now, it’s time to remove the wires.

Unlike regular receptacles, push-in receptacles have a locking mechanism that tightly grips the wires. Releasing the locking mechanism is straightforward, and here’s how you can do that:

locking mechanism of an outlet
Video | Joseph-Israel

First, locate the releasing slot.

Then, take the flat screwdriver and insert it into releasing slot.

While doing this, hold the outlet with your palm and use the same hand to press the flat screwdriver inside the releasing slot. See the image above.

Next, pull out the stuck wire with your other hand.

Step 5: Repeat the Process

Repeat the same steps for the other wires.

If the Wires Still Don’t Come Out

You shouldn’t have much trouble removing the wires from the push-in receptacle unless it’s old or rusty.

But it can happen. Sometimes, the wire won’t come out easily.

If that is the case, cut off the wires from the receptacle and leave the stuck wire pieces inside the receptacle. Then, strip the wires and connect them to a new receptacle.

Limitation of Push-in Connectors

As I mentioned earlier, there are limitations to the push-in-style receptacles.

Most of them are capable of handling 15 amps. For 15 amps, the minimum wire gauge is 14. It means the receptacles won’t be a good fit for 12 gauge wires, so you may need to use a 20-amp receptacle instead.

So, depending on the situation, you might have to remove the old wires or replace the receptacle.


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About Alex Robertson

c3c9d43f1f0d14c4b73cb686f2c81c4e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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