Tips for getting outlets to sit flat with the wall?

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Old 08-18-18, 07:48 AM
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Tips for getting outlets to sit flat with the wall?

I have trouble getting outlets to sit straight and "flush"/even so the outlet cover fits nicely. I know that much of this is experience, but does anyone have any tips to help? This one looks worse in person than in the picture: it seems like it's almost twisted so the top left side is recessed. I've adjusted it numerous times and can't figure out what direction it should be moving. The right side is even with the plate, which makes me think the wiring behind the outlet isn't the problem? The box itself does not seem twisted and is level with the drywall.

Thank you for any suggestions!
 
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Old 08-18-18, 07:55 AM
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Hard to see any fitment issues with that pic. If you were to replace those painted over covers with new ones I'd expect any fitment issue to be less noticeable.
 
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Old 08-18-18, 08:28 AM
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One trick I have used is to buy some of those blue sleeve type anchors... The straight ones not the tapered ones... and then cut off a couple pieces about 1/8" - 1/4" long and put them behind the two outlet screws like a shim.
 
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Old 08-18-18, 08:43 AM
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The wires in the box are crowded on the left side and causing the receptacle to twist. Re-arrange the wires to remove the pressure on the left side of the receptacle.
 
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Old 08-18-18, 09:18 AM
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If the junction box is sitting too deep and the wall opening is larger than the receptacle use this spacer to push receptacle out.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-Sp...2453/202937113

If the receptacle is twisted to one side, put a flat blade screw driver on the side of the receptacle and push from back side to correct. You need to cut power before doing this.

If your junction box itself is loose, then you will have to open the wall and secure the junction box.
 
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Old 08-19-18, 11:26 AM
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I know that much of this is experience, but does anyone have any tips to help?

Lowes sells these Hubbell device levelers, but B-Line is the brand I used to buy and keep in stock for service trucks.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hubbell-3-P...ers/1000049853
 
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Old 08-19-18, 12:18 PM
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The box is not the problem, you need to get the switch/outlet flush with the wall then the plate will pull everything together nice and flush.

If the box is plastic and the screws are too short or stripped a 1 5/8 drywall screw is perfect to get everything back in place,.

BTW, get rid of painted covers, get the metal plates from an electrical store, they are so much easier to keep clean and look a hell of a lot better!
 
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Old 08-20-18, 11:08 AM
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(not the OP, but...)
@CasualJoe - thanks for sharing those plate spacers. I've never seen ones like that - and they look like they would work quite well! I will definitely be trying them out soon!
 
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Old 08-21-18, 10:59 AM
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@CasualJoe - thanks for sharing those plate spacers. I've never seen ones like that - and they look like they would work quite well! I will definitely be trying them out soon!

I have never used the ones by Hubbell that Lowes sells, but I know the B-Line version is what professional electricians use all around my area. I suspect Hubbell copied the B-Line design. I also suspect Caddy has a similar version of their own too.

I think you'll like them.
 
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Old 08-22-18, 09:58 AM
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Those spacers look like a good and easy fix for that kind of problem.

But there is a reason the "ears" on the outlet are there. They can level the outlet with the wall if the box cutout is not too large and the depth not too deep. If it is deeper then the "ears" can be snapped off and they become washers to install on the mounting screw between the yoke and the box and bring the outlet further out. The thickness of two washers is just about the allowable 1/4 inch depth that code allows a box to be recessed below the surface. if the screws are left a turn or two loose then the wall plate will bring the outlet forward. The outlet plate alone should not be relied upon since pushing into the outlet could bend the yoke causing a gap between outlet and plate. (A plastic plate will break.) With washers in place any pressure on the outlet is carried by the yoke to the washers and to the box.
 
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Old 08-22-18, 10:04 AM
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FYI, spacers are not needed, just get the ears flush with the wall, using drywall screw or longer screw and plate will hold switch/plug in place.

Just trying to save you from buying something not needed!
 
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