Home Repair Tips – Wire Splices

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Most home wiring can be joined with splices. A splice is made by twisting two or more pieces of wire together. All wire splices must be made in an electrical box. The three splices most often used in home repair are:

• Pigtail splice

• Tap splice

• Western Union splice

The pigtail splice is a quick and easy way to connect two wires. Twist the ends of the wires together. Then tape the end or attach a solderless connector. The pigtail splice is weak. Use it only where the wires will not be pulled.

The tap splice joins a cut wire to a continuous wire. Remove about an inch of insulation from a midpoint in the continuous wire. Then wind the tap (cut) wire around the exposed portion of the continuous wire. Insulate the splice with tape.

The Western Union splice is the strongest splice. It conducts electricity well and withstands strain. The secret is to wrap the end of each wire around the body of the other wire. Use tape to insulate it.

A fire from bad wiring usually starts at a splice or outlet connection. When splicing wires, scrape the wires clean and twist them snugly. If you don’t, the splice will get hot. Soon it may arc and you will have a bigger problem to solve than bad wiring—a major fire in your home.

Other methods of joining wires are:

• Mechanical connectors such as electrical clamps

• Soldering

These methods are not used in most home repairs. However, soldering strengthens the joint and helps prevent corrosion.

Be careful when removing insulation. Cut at a 30° angle so you do not nick or cut the wire. A damaged wire will not conduct electricity well and may break.

In a tap splice the free end of one wire may be connected to the middle of another wire.

The Western Union splice is the strongest. It is used where the connection may be pulled. First twist the wires for 1 to-2 inches at the center. Then tightly wrap one end five or six times around the other wire. Do the same with the other end.

Tape a Western Union splice in this way. Keep the tape tight as you wind it around the wire.

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