Electrical outlet boxes at wrong depth

Old 02-06-04, 05:33 AM
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Electrical outlet boxes at wrong depth

I am trying to help a neighbor sell her house and she asked me to replace all her electrical outlets as some were missing and others appear loose. When I looked more closely, it turns out many of the boxes were set incorrectly and stick out from the wall 1/8" to 3/16" leaving a gap between the wall and the outlet plate. Is there a product or a technique to fix this other than actually cutting the box out and replacing them with an old work box? All the boxes are metal and nailed on between the 2x4 stud and the drywall so they can't be pushed back and reset without causing damage to the drywall.
Old 02-06-04, 07:47 AM
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I can't help with the question you posed, but there are lots of easy ways you can make the problem worse. Here's some stuff to watch out for:
  • Look out for switched receptacles. They are often wired differently, especially if a switch loop is involved. Matching all wires by color is not a reliable algorhitm.
  • Look out for half-switched receptacles. These require breaking out the tab on the brass screw side.
  • Look out for split-wired receptacles. Depending on whether a multiwre circuit is involved, these require breaking out the tab on both sides, or on just the hot side.
  • Be aware of where GFCI is required. Although the code does not mandate retrofits, most home inspectors will recommend to their clients that they insist on it as a condition of purchase. GFCI is currently required in garages, unfinished basements, all kitchen counter receptacles, bathrooms and outdoors.
  • Don't just blindly replace 2-hole receptacles with 3-hole receptacles. Good home inspectors will flag this code violation.
  • Take steps to control your personal liability.
  • Use an $8 receptacle tester to verify your work at each receptacle. The home inpector will be using the same device.

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