Hello I am changing out your standard electrical receptical Standard

with a USB one

However, the issue I am running into is that the USB receptacle has a body that is larger than the junction box in the wall that the wires feed into.

What options do I have to use my USB receptacle, but have it mount flush with the wall?

And if it matters, I am East Coast USA

  • Is having an extension on the box sticking out from the wall acceptable? Jul 4 '18 at 20:28
  • @ThreePhaseEel - if possible, I'd prefer to mount "flush" to the wall like a standard outlet. If I need to use an extension box I will tho. Jul 4 '18 at 20:29
  • I would just use a USB adapter rather than go to this much trouble. I have heard that the USB power supplies in these receptacles have a shorter service life than is realized necessitating changing the entire receptacle. I can't see the benefit is worth the trouble. I say return these USB receptacles to the seller. Jul 4 '18 at 23:41
  • @JimStewart there are cheap Chinese versions on the market, however if one buys the Leviton, P&S, GE, or Lutron (or other equivalent name brand) products there shouldn’t be issues. Size-wise they are equivalent to a GFCI, so in older construction there can be box size issues, but it no worse than a GFCI. I installed a couple of these because the other choice was a plug strip at that location. (Another purchase tip is make is to make certain each USB outlet is capable of at least 12w or 2.4a.. not total but EACH of the 2–the cheap stuff has undersized ports and that does lead to failure)
    – Tyson
    Jul 5 '18 at 1:08
  • Another advantage... no one walks off with the charger to use elsewhere, sure they could unplug the cable and walk off it, but they don’t because it’s no use without the charger.
    – Tyson
    Jul 5 '18 at 1:22

In my case (current house) I had some old metal boxes in the kitchen counters that I removed the single gang boxes with double gang old work boxes with a mud ring, it worked great but as I was cutting tile it was a bit tough after grout and an oversized cover plate you have to look close to see the slight color difference in the grout.

  • That is my predicament...I think other than an extension, i will have to replace the old metal box, but would prefer to not have to do any "sheet rock" work by cutting up the sheet rock to replace the old metal box Jul 4 '18 at 21:17
  • It is not that hard with "old work boxes" and sheetrock even quite easy because the mud ring single gang on a double gang gives a backer for the mud, much easier than on tile the only way I have had to do this as they are newer. Hopefully this will give you a path forward, or hire a pro that may do the same thing for several hundred.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 4 '18 at 21:52
  • 1
    I just realised I said mud ring, I meant no mud ring with an old work box (sheetrock is easy) breaking the old metal box out is the hard part.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 5 '18 at 1:58

In this situation I usually remove the existing boxes completely and replace them with blue plastic remodeler boxes. These mount to the drywall using wings that fly out when you run the screws in.

By taking out the receptacle and moving the wires aside you can see how the old boxes are mounted. Often there are there are nails passing through the inside of the box. Pry those out or cut them off and gently remove the box. Carefully trim the drywall to fit the new remodeler box, and secure it using the mounting wings. You'll want to pull the cable into the new box before you fit it into the drywall.

This type of remodeler box has limited space for the receptacle's mounting tabs, so you may need to trim the ends of the mounting tabs to fit in the available space. If you don't do this they can keep your trim plate from laying flat against the wall.

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