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

In this article, I will teach you to remove the wire from push-in connectors.

I have been on a few contract jobs where someone had bungled removing wires from push-in connector; it’s not pretty. A loose connection can lead to a fire hazard, and a circuit breaker can’t detect it.

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

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

I will go into more detail below.

5 Step Guide to Remove Wire from Push in Connector

Step 1 – Cut Off the Power

man hand on the switch box
Video | MonkeySee

First, figure out the breaker that provides the power to the push-in receptacle. Then, turn off the breaker. Or turn off the main power. Either way, never start the process without cutting off the power.

Step 2 – Check and Confirm

Even though we cut off the power to the push-in receptacle, it is always better to check it one more time. So, take a voltage tester a check the push-in receptacle. After confirming the power is off, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3 – Separate the Cover Plate

Next, loosen the two screws that are holding the cover plate. Use a screwdriver for this. Then, pull out the cover plate from the wall.

Keep in mind: Most cover plates might have two screws, and some might have one.

Step 4 – Remove the Electrical Outlet

After successfully removing the cover plate, you can locate the electrical outlet. This outlet is attached to the wall through the electrical box.

So, remove any screws holding the electrical outlet and pull out the outlet from the wall.

Tip: If needed, check the power of the outlet one more time using the tester. (1)

Step 5 – Release the Slot and Separate the Wires

Now, it is 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. (2)

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 on your palm and use the same hand to press the flat screwdriver inside the releasing slot. You’ll get a better idea about that from the above image.

Next, pull out the wire using your other hand.

Repeat the same steps for other wires. 

If the Wires Will Not Come Out

Unless your push-in receptacle is too old, you won’t have much trouble removing wires from it. However, it could 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 in the receptacle. Then, strip wires and connect wires to the new receptacle.

Limitation of Push-in Connector

As I mentioned above, there are limitations to these push-in-style receptacles. Most push-in receptacles are capable of handling 15 amp. For 15 amp, the minimum wire gauge is 14. That means the receptacles won’t be a good fit for 12 gauge wires, given that you use 20 amp. So, depending on the situation, you might have to remove the old wires or replace the receptacle.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) power –
(2) locking mechanism –

Video References

Build Stuff with AJ



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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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