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I have 4 outlets in my garage mounted in an exposed box where they do not seem to be centered. (This seems to be a 4-11/16" box.)

1

Removing the cover plate reveals that each pair of outlets is only mounted to the box by one corner, which seems pretty sketchy.

2

How should I fix this so that the outlets are mounted properly? It seems like I have a few different options:

  1. Replace the cover plate with a 4-11/16" cover with openings for 2 duplex outlets and mount the outlets to that.

    3

  2. Add a 4-11/16" 2-device mud ring, mount the outlets to that, and reuse the existing cover plate.

    4

  3. Replace the box with a smaller 2-gang 4" box, mount the outlets to that, and reuse the existing cover plate.

    5

  4. Replace the box with a smaller 4" junction box, replace the cover with a 4" cover with openings for 2 duplex outlets, and mount the outlets to that.

    67

Are all of these acceptable options? What are some reasons to prefer or avoid any of these approaches? I assume that replacing the box would be more work since I'd have to disconnect and reconnect the outlets. If it matters, each pair of outlets is on a separate breaker, and I am in the US.

6

Given that your box is surface mounted, #1 (domed cover) is the correct answer.

Converting to a 4x4 box is way too much work. Using a mud ring (even a flat one) with a cover plate will create sharp edges to snag things.

Noting that 4-11/16" boxes have plenty of room for GFCIs and such, if your garage is wanting for a GFCI on that circuit/those circuits, here's your opportunity!

While you're at it, fix the grounding defects. The installer has the grounds going to the receptacles. No. The grounds go to the metal box FIRST. Once that's done, the grounds get to the receptacles one of several ways. If you properly mount the receps in the domed cover, they will pick up ground via direct contact domed cover to box and direct contact yoke to domed cover. That takes care of it, and you don't need to run a ground wire to the receps.

4
  • Thanks, I did notice the box wasn't grounded with a wire and was planning to try to correct that. – kwc Apr 12 at 23:24
  • I picked up the first cover, but I'm reading that the bonding jumper can only be omitted if a cover has flat (crushed) corners (e.g. see this). So I'm thinking of using a wire nut to tie together both incoming grounds and three pigtails, one to the box and one to each receptacle. Does that sound reasonable? – kwc Apr 14 at 0:48
  • @kwc yeah. Did not know that one. There is plenty of metal-metal contact where the lid meets box. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 14 at 1:12
  • Fixed the grounds as well as a few other things that didn't seem right. I don't think the person who put in these receptacles knew what they were doing. I'm not sure I know what I'm doing either, but hopefully I made it better at least! – kwc Apr 15 at 5:42
12

All your listed options will work.

  1. Folded edge covers always fit a bit wonky, unfortunately they don't make a crushed corner version for 4-11/16" boxes
  2. Gap between faceplate and mud ring that looks incorrect, possible hazard
  3. A lot of work, 4.5" face plate will extend past edge of box, less hazard
  4. A lot of work, will look the best, possible damage to sheetrock that can be complicated to repair

5th option? Really option 2.1, maybe a flat device ring, a regular sized 4.5" faceplate will mount flush against device ring and be smaller than existing 4 11/16" box. Probably most expensive fix. enter image description here

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  • 1
    This plate is the correct answer. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 12 at 16:23
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    Can you elaborate on why option 5 (aka 2.1) is the most expensive option? – Katie Kilian Apr 12 at 19:28
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    Sorry, I thought the box was flush mounted for some reason. It's surface mounted. @Katie probably means all the other covers and mud rings are cheaper than $4. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 12 at 23:01
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    Shipping will likely raise the cost above other options. Although there are other brands theoretically available most sources don't carry them in stack and will also incur shipping charges. – NoSparksPlease Apr 12 at 23:30
5

Good thing you found this it was not correct.

The first 2 methods are both ok and would depend on what look you want. Code actually requires more than 1 screw for the receptacles.

If you use option 1 you can put all 3 screws in if you like but NEC 110.14.A requires more than 1 for each (to anchor the receptacle).

You can use the 4-0 box and covers your the last 2 options but you don’t have to change the boxes, proper covers will be easier and meet code.

0

Ideal way to fix that is a tailor cover, the first one you've shown. The bottom one is also a tailor cover, but for a 4x4 box from the look.

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