Metal Electrical Box loose

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-14-15, 08:14 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 11
Metal Electrical Box loose

I bought an apt in a building built in the 60s. It has the old two pronged electrical outlets. In the outlet near the kitchen sink I need to replace the old receptacle with a GFCI receptacle. Upon removing the cover, I realized to my displeasure that whoever cut the original hole in the drywall made the cut too big, so that the metal box BARELY catches on the wall and it is (not surprisingly) loose. The box is not nailed to any studs so as you can imagine itís a precarious situation.

The drywall itself in the area is covered by a piece of plywood, which appears to have been put on top of the drywall when the kitchen sink was renovated.

Can anyone suggest any method that I can use to better secure the metal box before I put in the new GFCI receptacle? Could I pull the box out and secure it against the plywood somehow? Please see photos.

Thank you.
 
Attached Images   
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-14-15, 08:25 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,296
Yes the face of the box needs to come out flush with the plywood -- electrical code does not permit any distance recessed into flammable building material. You'll need to carefully cut the plywood a little wider with a jigsaw or sawzall to allow that. You may be able to reuse the existing box by hanging it from the plywood using metal "F" straps. It would probably be easier however to remove the existing box entirely and replace it with an "old work" style plastic box, which is a little larger than the metal box and has tabs that extend out to grab the plywood.
 
  #3  
Old 09-14-15, 09:41 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,674
City Staten Island
Do you have conduit? Is conduit required on Staten Island? It usually is in NYC. That could complicate your problem along with you not being allowed to do the work.
 
  #4  
Old 09-14-15, 11:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 11
The current box definitely does not have a conduit. In order for me to install it I imagine I would need to take the whole wall apart.

Also, PVC boxes are not allowed in NYC so I am stuck with metal.

In regards to the current metal box, I am thinking of pulling out the box beyond the plywood after I slightly widen the hole (hopefully it won't be a problem with the wires not moving, I have not tried) and installing one small flat metal bar at the top of the cut and one at the bottom. (The current size of the hole in the plywood is too long to support the box.)

Secure these bars on both sides of the cut, and then using them to secure against the top and bottom of the metal box, and utilize the F clips (same as Madison clips?). These bars would function as the top and bottom of the drywall against which the box would rest--had the original electrician not cut the hole too big.

Does this sound reasonable? Would the metal bars I mentioned present any danger? They would be behind the cover once everything's done.
 
  #5  
Old 09-14-15, 11:32 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,674
F clips (same as Madison clips?)
Yes.
PVC boxes are not allowed in NYC so I am stuck with metal.
Name:  6638761.jpg
Views: 1080
Size:  3.9 KB

Name:  old_work_mtl.jpg
Views: 1120
Size:  37.9 KB
.
 
  #6  
Old 09-14-15, 12:29 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,674
and installing one small flat metal bar at the top of the cut and one at the bottom.
I'd try using construction adhesive to clue a strip of wood on one side of the opening. Even with an oops plate it might be hard to cover up the metal bars. (I'm guessing at least 50% chance the glue would hold it.)
 
  #7  
Old 09-14-15, 01:06 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,510
Since you have BX cable there you have to stay with a metal box anyway.

Not a bad idea with gluing a piece of wood in. I'd get the box out of the wall and then try gluing a piece of wood at the top or the bottom. You need some support for the box ears to sit on.

Then when you reinstall the box you can use madison bars or the box Ray suggested.
 
  #8  
Old 09-14-15, 01:53 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,365
If you get the wood strip glued in, you can reverse the bracket and screw the box to the wood. Spackle over the strip.
 
  #9  
Old 09-21-15, 12:00 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 11
I have purchased two U Bolts to use the plates (these actually cost less than just the plates) to use in the manner suggested.

I just want to make sure that it's ok to use metal plates instead of wood. Would using metal to "sandwich" the wall box create electrocution or fire risk?

Thank you.
 
Attached Images  
  #10  
Old 09-21-15, 12:47 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,674
Not sure how you would use the metal plate. It's way too thin. We said glue a wood block to make the box narrower.

Name:  x.jpg
Views: 410
Size:  13.4 KB
 
  #11  
Old 10-04-15, 10:01 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 11
I finally managed to get the box out of the wall. But after all that, I find that there's no power!

The wires were too short, I could not make the J hook shape and hook them on the 4 screws, so I ended up putting all 4 wires (there's no ground wire) into the holes at the back and tightened the screws. I thought this is an ok alternate way of hooking up the outlet?

Now there's no power to the fridge and no power in the adjacent outlet which powers the stove. I still have gas but no spark to light the stove. They went out after I cut the wires to the old outlet, but now that I put the GFCI in, still nothing.

Before I call the electrician, is there anything I can try to troubleshoot? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am sorry for the poor pic quality. My cellphone broke. I had to use an old cellphone to take the pics.

PS, although the top neutral wire in the second pic looks like it is not all the way in, it actually is all the way in, I stripped away too much insulation.
 
Attached Images   
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'