Loose outlet boxes: options


I have several loose outlet boxes that I would like to repair (for obvious reasons). I would love to hear suggestions on correcting the problem.
By the way, the problem is with the outlet boxes themselves, not the outlets within the boxes.
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Are they metal boxes or plastic? Are they "old work" boxes or are they attached inside the walls, and if so, are the studs metal or wood?

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I had a friend who had loose boxes. She had a 150 year old house and apparently it was refit with "modern" wiring about 50 years ago; but they did a lousy job on the boxes. I fixed them with clips made for that purpose from HD. If that sounds anything like your problem, the fix is easy and cheap.
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If they are the original boxes held to the studs by nails, I've had good luck by; pulling the outlet out of box enough to slip an extended driver tip past it and tag it down with a 1 5/8 drywall screw. It will be at a pretty steep angle, but will suck it back just fine. Also a good practice for ceiling boxes when you want to hang a fan, assuming there is anything to screw into.
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De-energize the circuit at the panel. Remove the outlet cover and remove the outlet from the box and look arround in there. If the box is attached to the studs you can easily beef up the fastening, if the outlet is in the middle of nowhere and attached with Madison clips you got a larger chore ahead of you.
You can drive a nail through the side of a box by holding a flat bar against it and striking it with a hammer, it's clumsy but it works.
pjtclark wrote:

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On 10 Jan 2007 15:42:44 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com wrote:

I used a screw tip holder in an electric drill, with a magnetic phillips head tip and a sharp screw that fit tight to the tip even if it weren't magnetized. At an angle like you say, but it went in quick. But I only had to do one.

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By loose, do you mean immoral?
Maybe there is an electric preacher in town who can talk to them.

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I had to fix some loose boxes in a trailer house. They were not attached to anything except tint screws into the paneling. I tried some of those bend over clips sold for that purpose (they look like a large letter "F"). They sort of helped but when the paneling is the only thing to hold the box, it gets pretty flimsy (typical trailer home crap). I noticed there was a lot of air leaking around them too, so I shot some "Great Stuff" foam in a can around the boxes. Not only did the foam insulate, but it held the boxes in real tightly.
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I've got one that's only held in by the armored cable that's feeding it. I'm not sure how I'm going to fix it, but my thoughts include things like removing a porting of the wall tha's over the stud so I can use one of those nail in types, then patching (repainting the wall anyway, so that is an option). Or maybe using the above foam suggestion exept with patching plaster around the bo itself (sort of like cementing it in type of thing). In my case getting a screw or nail in at a steep angle isn't goint to work since I don't have enough room to work with.
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I have used the various methods of tightening the box: the "F clips," and the extra screw driven "sideways."
They can and usually do help.
BUT sometime you just gotta bit the bullet and removed the old box (sometimes a "saws all" help) and install a new ("old work") box. Old work boxes are attached to the plaster. That doesn't stop you from also driving a screw in sideways (Belt & Suspenders).
One box I removed was a double box made up by removing the side walls from two single boxes and connecting them together. The original installer didn't tighten the screw at the top and used some twisted wire at the bottom. Combine that with the nails into the stud working loose and you have a wiggling mess!

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| > I have several loose outlet boxes that I would like to repair (for | > obvious reasons). I would love to hear suggestions on correcting the | > problem. | > | > By the way, the problem is with the outlet boxes themselves, not the | > outlets within the boxes. | > | |
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Someone suggested F-clips to me for a similar problem. I inquired several places about such a thing and nobody had ever heard of them. Where does one get the clips?
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Everett M. Greene wrote:

I've been told that Home Depot carries them, but have never seen them there. Try Lowe's if you have one or an electrical supply house.
nate
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