Mounting towel ring under electrical outlet


Old 02-13-06, 10:53 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Mounting towel ring under electrical outlet

This may seem like a dumb question, but figured someone here might be kind enough to help me. I am trying to hang a towel ring in my bathroom- the only logical place to put it is to left of sink, and to make it the proper height, it would go directly under a GFI electrical outlet (squeezed between the medicine chest and the cabt. that hangs over the toilet.) I think the mounting screws would be about 1" max. The walls are drywall, painted.

How far back do the wires in the outlet sit from the wall? In other words, if I put these screws into the wall, directly below the outlet, am I going to have a SHOCKING experience? I have seen articles where they say to never mount anything below an outlet. I'd rather be safe than sorry, but wondered that if the outlet's wiring sat a couple inches back from the wall, I might be ok.

any help is appreciated!
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Old 02-14-06, 12:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I would like to know how the GFI outlet is oriented. Is it like the other outlets in your house or is it installed sideways? As a general rule the wires come out of the top and bottom of the box in whitch an outlet is mounted. unless the box were on its side, in this case I would expect the wires to go to the left and right. It is possable to remove the outlet to get a better idea of whare the wires are going.
Old 02-14-06, 05:26 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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You should be okay.

The cable may go out the top of the receptacle's junction box or out the bottom, or both. You can see by opening the box (removing the cover) and looking. You may need a flash light to do this.

If the cables are stapled to the studs, then they should be far enough back that the screws you have won't get near them. If the wires are loose in the wall then they should also not pose a problem.

To be safe you could get shorter screws or you could cut off the last quarter inch or so of the screws.
Old 02-14-06, 08:46 AM
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The box is mounted vertically, not horizontally. I will take the cover off and try to take a peek in there. Thanks!
Old 02-14-06, 09:16 AM
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If everything is properly installed, a 1" screw into a stud should never hit anything but wood. If you have standard 1/2" drywall, you should be able to go up to a 1.5" screw. It's when people start using longer screws (macho factor) that they start hitting wires and pipes, and that is never pretty.
Old 02-14-06, 07:13 PM
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Just so you know, I won't be drilling into the stud. I will probably be just drilling thru drywall (and then probably the old plaster) and then into "space unknown." If I were going into the stud, I wouldn't be worried.
Old 02-14-06, 08:29 PM
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Once you remove the cover, you can determine which side of the box the stud is located. If you can locate the ring 2" or more from the stud, you should be fine. Drill carefully, so that you break thru the dry wall but no deeper than necessary. I would then tap in a molly type screw anchor and tighten it down.
Old 02-15-06, 06:12 AM
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Rather than use a drill, if you are going to use drywall anchors you can make the hole by taking a phillips screwdriver with a shaft the proper diameter and use it like a "drill". Place tip on spot for anchor and carefully twist it back and forth until you penetrate the drywall. Very little danger of damaging wiring in wall even if you contact it, unlike with a drill bit.
Old 02-17-06, 08:43 PM
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Just for the record, the towel ring is installed, and I didn't get shocked in the process! I used the tip about using a phillips screwdriver to make the hole, and used shorter screws. Everything turned out great! Thanks again for all of your help! Nancy

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