My ceiling fan box is recessed and the canopy screws don't fit

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Old 09-10-12, 02:33 PM
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My ceiling fan box is recessed and the canopy screws don't fit

I live in a brand new construction apartment community. The leasing office told me that the electricians who wired the building "pre-wired" the bedroom and living room with ceiling fan outlets. Happier then could be, I ran to Lowes and got me a beautiful Allen & Roth fan. I came home, removed the plastic cover and begin the installation process. The first thing I noticed is that the mounting bracket that came with the fan was pushing up against drywall, NOT against the outlet box. The installation instructions say that's a big no no, and it needs to be screwed tightly directly against the outlet box. So, with a little carpet knife, I cut out just the right shape for the bracket, and low and behold, it screwed in perfectly to the outlet box. I wired everything up, and got to the next step, screwing the canopy cover on. The 2 screws that were attached to the mounting bracket are supposed to be loosened down until the canopy cover can snap into them with a twist.

Unfortunately, the screws, with the recessed install, are NOT long enough and so I can't screw the cover back on. I called Allen & Roth and they said "Sorry we don't make longer screws". I went the Lowes and they were clueless. So, here I sit trying to figure out how to make this work.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm posting photos of the one in the living room (which I haven't tried to install a fan on yet) so you can see how recessed it is and what I'm up against.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 03:01 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

The outlet box in your picture does not appear to be fan-rated. In addition, electrical boxes must be installed essentially flush with the finished surface of the wall or ceiling they are in. (Generally within 1/8" of the surface, and never more than 1/4" recessed.)

The cure for these errors is not to carve the wall or ceiling surface. That destroys it's fire rating. The cure is to replace the box with one that mounts flush and, in the case of a ceiling fan, is rated for supporting the weight and movement of the fan.

If the leasing office gave you permission to do this work, you can ask them to have it redone to meet code. If not, you can ask your new neighbors who their most trusted electrician and drywall mechanic are.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 03:55 PM
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Why would they have recessed it? Did they make a mistake, or is that recessed installation for something else like CAN/Recessed lighting?

Doesn't make sense that they would have done that. So even if I installed track lighting or some other fixture, it would be wrong?

Crossing my fingers that since their intended purpose of that was for residents to install their own fan/lighting fixtures in the unit, they will call their contractor back in to fix it - after all if they did that in all 300 units, that contractor has a lot of fixing/explaining to do.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 04:11 PM
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Why would they have recessed it? Did they make a mistake, or is that recessed installation for something else like CAN/Recessed lighting?
That isn't a standard installation of any kind that I'm familiar with. Looking at your picture, it looks like the electrical box was/is installed flush with the drywall, and with the correct amount of space around it, and that an additional layer of some material was later added over the drywall. If so, the electrical contractor may still be the one to fix it.

Calling the owner's agent seems like the right next move.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 04:31 PM
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It looks as if they double up on the drywall on the ceiling. They need to make accommodations for that to bring it to code. If it weren't a ceiling fan, I would suggest a plaster ring to bring it flush to the additional layer of sheetrock. Just what is that plastic thingy going to support, anyway? Surely not the ceiling fan
 
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Old 09-10-12, 05:54 PM
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The plastic thingie is a strap that the blank cover snaps on to cover the hole until someone installs a lamp or fan.
 
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Old 09-11-12, 11:06 AM
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Right, the plastic thing is just a temporary piece to hold the round plastic cover that goes over the outlet box. This is common practice in most new construction today, they put the outlet there, and let the home owner (or renter) decide what kind of fixture they put.

You're right, it does look like the electrician maybe came in and did his thing correctly and then someone else decided "oops we need more drywall" or something. My guess... In between each floor there is a concrete sub floor, but since I live on the top floor, there is no floor above me, thus no concrete. Someone probably made a boo boo and put thinner drywall to go with the concrete sub floor, but then realized it's not the right size when all the finishing was done... but who knows. Contractors never cease to amaze me. It's nice to know I've got some extra thickness in drywall to help keep the place cooled and heated well, as well as keeping some of the neighborly noises out, but this definitely is not good for the electrical situation.

BTW, I did get the ceiling fan to install by purchasing longer M4 screws at the hardware store to screw the canopy cover on. Everything is working great, I went with a very light ceiling fan, not a big heavy one, so hopefully it will hold.

I'm still going to talk to the manager and see if she knows anything about this, I'm sure she was around during the construction of my building so she was probably made aware of some of the "construction issues" LOL.

Basically I'm just going to tell her that my friend is an electrician and he looked at it and told me it's not "up to code" and that should get her attention. Hopefully.
 
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Old 09-11-12, 12:08 PM
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I did get the ceiling fan to install by purchasing longer M4 screws at the hardware store
What is an M4 screw? And what size are the screws that screw into the electrical box? If those are not 10-24 machine screws, then the box is not rated to hold a fan, and needs to be replaced asap.
 
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Old 09-11-12, 03:26 PM
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Nash, M4 is a metric screw. I believe it is 4mm, I don't know. It ain't American, anyway.
 
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Old 09-11-12, 03:46 PM
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Nash, M4 is a metric screw. I believe it is 4mm, I don't know. It ain't American, anyway.
10-4, good buddy. Du'oh!
 
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Old 09-12-12, 05:24 AM
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If you look to the right of the strap in the first pic you can catch a glimpse of the square screw boss for the fan mounting right next to ground wire.

I too think a second layer of drywall was added. A box extension like a BE-1R could have been used to bring the box flush. Longer 10-24 screws or all-thread would have then been used to thread into the boss.
 
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