Real estate issue in light switch box


Old 01-04-18, 03:08 PM
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Question Real estate issue in light switch box

I kinda know there is no good answer to this but I thought I'd still ask in case a pro can chime in.

So I have this problem in our upstairs bathroom (level 3) where today I spent literally 2 hours trying to stuff the sensor in with no success.

It's a standard size light switch box but the problem is, there is too much going on in there. There is a LINE and LOAD and as a result the sensor just wont go in deep enough. Basically it needs to go in maybe 2mm more for the screw threads to grab.

Now keep in mind, because of the tiles PLUS the drywall, the box is way deep inside. So there is a probably 1 or 1 1/4" thick tile+drywall then the box. Is it okay if I just grab some very long screws and the sensor isn't flush with the tiles? What does the code say in this case?

What's strange (and the real problem) is there is a blue plastic thing screwed to the backplate where the LOAD wires are going out. I dont know if this is by code or anything. So this is how it is wired:

- LINE is a BX cable, metal casing is visible and comes from the TOP of the standard hole.
- LOAD is only 2 conductor wires, white wire and black wire. These are newer wire and I dont see an actual NM type outer insulation (like yellow/white jacket). Furthermore, LOAD is leaving the box from a blue cube like raised structure, perpendicular to the LINE. So when you open the switch, LOAD is facing towards you whereas LINE is at the top.

It's because of that blue thing that nothing will bend and move forward. It's taking too much space. But I'm thinking maybe it was put there to prevent shorting since the other wire is BX cable. There has to be a reason.
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Old 01-04-18, 03:20 PM
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The box should be setback no more than 1/4" from a non-combustible surface like drywall or tile. If the setback is more you need a box extended like the Arlington BE-1 or similar. Longer screws may be needed.

Can you post a picture?
Old 01-04-18, 03:45 PM
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Sure please see attached. I just checked and the box is exactly 1 1/4" below the surface of the tiles.

When a plumber was doing work in this bathroom a year ago, he had told me there was double the regular amount of material they use behind tiles (cement or whatever it is). On top of this is the fact that back in 1950s, they used a very thick drywall that was reinforced with mesh steal inside (I know this first hand as I did some work in our ceilings before or walls). As a result, the walls in the bathroom is very thick.

Not sure how this extension would work though because the sensor barely fits in from the edges as is (why do they make these so big because I dont think even the largest size of single switch box is wider than the one I have).
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