I am replacing an electrical outlet in my house with a USB enabled one. The new outlet is a bit thicker than the old one, and the screws protrude a bit on either side. they seem to be touching metal box housing when I push it in.

The instructions say 2X3x2.5, which I measured and I fit this exactly, but a positive and negative live screws touching the metal housing seems wrong.

I looked on youtube, but might now have put in the correct search terms.

Are there bigger housing boxes now that are built to accept these newer receptacles?

Is this somehow correct the way it is? Thanks. Rob

  • What is the box made of, plastic or metal? With a metal box as soon as you turn on the breaker, if lucky the breaker will trip.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 20:23
  • It's a metal box. Is it possible to insulate it with electrical tape over the screws, or another product, or is this solution a danger in the future?
    – Rob
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 20:31
  • 1
    are the screws tightened?
    – jsotola
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 20:41
  • Tape is okay/good if a chance of touching. If touching I would go with a wider box to be safe,or keep the old(or new) outlet and use a wall wart for USB charging. Think another question on here, one of the comments mention USB is changing so fast that a long term USB outlet not a good idea.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use tape. I find tape very useful when it is a marginal problem. But if it is a really close fit where you know there is a problem, I don't think that's a great idea.

I had a couple of receptacles I replaced recently (to go from ungrounded receptacles to grounded - the ground wire was present but not used) where the original (previous homeowner installed, not professional, based on the hot/neutral reversed in some of the boxes...) boxes were so small that I couldn't even install a modern standard receptacle, let alone anything fancy such as USB or GFCI. Fortunately, they were in open walls so replacing with larger metal boxes was trivial. If these are in finished walls, then you may want to use extra-large faceplates so that you don't have to do drywall work to cover up the edges around the box.

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