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I’m having my countertops replaced and having my backsplash replaced with the same quartz as the counters, so my outlets will need to be extended for the thicker material. The installer said I needed to pull the outlets from the box so they can install around them (basically just having them hang free from the box). My question is, once I pull the faceplate and screws that attach it to the box, so I need to leave the power off until they are done? Or can the power be turned back on. My lighting and outlets are on some of the same breakers so they won’t have overhead light if I need to leave power off. Obviously I’ll cut power to pull them free from the box, I’m just not sure Id it’s safe to restore power why they are not secured in the box.

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    With them out of the boxes, you have live power that people(you and workers) are not protected from. A miss place hand or a slip and sparks will fly, into someone.
    – crip659
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:00
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    Power off. Warn them they'll need site lights because [for some unimaginable reason] your lighting is on the same circuit.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:00
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    @Tetsujin Agreed, like the completely unimaginable and unrealistic situation of living in a house which was not freshly constructed.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:40
  • @MonkeyZeus - I'l choose to read that as not sarcastic, but where I live lighting is on 5-10A, sockets are on 30A & ne'er the twain shall meet.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:45
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    @Tetsujin In general it's assumed that posts on this site are U.S.-based unless explicitly noted or revealed in the question details. My 1940's home has the entire upstairs on a single 15A circuit: 3 bed+1 bath worth of lights and outlets. Having the luxury of lights on a separate circuit is a fairly recent practice.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 7, 2022 at 20:27

3 Answers 3

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The outlets need to be pulled away from the wall and ideally box extenders should be installed as well. If your boxes are plastic they make rings for this purpose. For metal boxes you can use mud rings of various thickness. While you are at it, might be a good time to replace the outlets with new ones, for example swapping the color or for decora style. While the power is off you can unhook the outlets and cap them with wire nuts so you can turn the power back on, then rewire them after the tiling is done

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    This is actually practical advice especially since the OP notes that the lights are on the same breaker as the outlets. However, it is important to take pictures of the wiring of each outlet before removing any single wire! We've had far too many "help, I pulled the old fixture and now I don't know how to wire it back up" questions where someone didn't bother taking pics first. Of note, though, is that it's possible that the switches & lighting come after outlets, so disconnecting them may disconnect the lights, too. Caution must be used if the outlets are to be removed.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:23
  • Thanks for those additional comments, I thought I was going crazy when my answer had multiple downvotes. I didn't provide additional context for the wiring since there wasn't more detail in the original post but good points about what else may be involved.
    – redlude97
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:31
  • Only one DV, but I'm not sure why. TBH, it would take more time, but I'd suggest 1) turn off breaker, 2) pull outlet, 3) take pics, 4) remove wiring, 5) cap all wires, 6) turn on breaker, 7) make sure everything else works as expected. That way if the answer to 7) is "no", you know exactly where the problem is and can reconnect things.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:34
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    @Tetsujin "unhook the outlets and cap them with wire nuts so you can turn the power back on," (emphasis added). If your wire nuts still allow power to flow to where someone can get bit, then you don't have good wire nuts and/or have done a very poor job of installing them.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:36
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    @Tetsujin fair, I should have included pushing the capped wires back into the box. If you are cutting back splash it should be done off the wall prior to install. Most tile installers don't even turn off the power and just let the plugs dangle.
    – redlude97
    Jan 7, 2022 at 19:40
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Leave the power off, or you risk having to explain the dead quartz countertop fitters.

If you just remove the faceplates, then you will be leaving bare live wires exposed in the back boxes. Anyone could touch them without realizing that they are live.

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If you are pulling the outlets themselves out of the box any distance, then you should leave the power off (or at least off while work is being performed). Most all outlets have side terminals/screws to connect the wiring . Once the outlets are pulled most any distance out of the box, those screws will be exposed. Workers will have any number of metal tools, and perhaps cleaning agents (liquids) that you won't want them to come into contact with a hot wire.

Now if you are only removing faceplates, and not pulling outlets from their boxes, its a slightly different situation, but bear in mind, if tools are being used, you have an open path to those terminals.

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  • Thank you both. That was my assumption, but I wasn’t sure. It just seemed intuitive that if I needed to cut power to perform the action that I would be necessary why it was displaced, but wanted to make sure. Jan 7, 2022 at 21:29

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