Removed ceiling fixture, now what?

We have a house built in the late 60s/early 70s that was clearly renovated (in about 2004) by an idiot who had no concern for safety or building codes or anything else.
We removed a heavy glass chandelier with the intention of putting in a ceiling fan, and found that the box was clearly a plastic one designed for lightweight lighting fixtures and not anything heavy, and furthermore, was not secured to anything but instead was just sort of floating in the celing. In fact, it seemed so flimsy we didn't want to put the chandelier back up.
So we thought fine, we'll just stick in a lightweight fixture for now until we can get a pro out to re-do the box, since we eventually want to replace all the ceiling fixtures anyway.
However, for a few reasons related to how flimsy and badly-installed the box is, we don't think it's really safe to put anything back on it--the holes to screw a mounting strip onto are stripped, for one thing, so they don't really hold securely.
How can we safely cap off the wires (power, neutral, and ground) and put a cover on the hole in the ceiling until we can get an electrician out to look at it and fix it? Obviously we don't want to have live wires there but there's no way we can leave the breaker off indefinitely.
BTW we have aluminum wiring.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Electrical tape on the ends will work. There are retrofit heavy fixture/ fan boxes, like Westinghouse 1100 that will install through the existing hole and expand inside the ceiling, joist to joist, to hang your chandelier or fan from

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What I did was to use a standard metal box and I used a 2X4 to span the ceiling joists above the hole and I cut two lengths of 1/2" copper pipe to fit between the top of the box and the bottom of my 2X4. I used washers on both sides of the pipe sections and drilled the bottom of the box to 1/4".
I mounted 2 Tee nuts on the 2X4 and used 1/4 bolts to hold everything together with a little locktite on the bolts. That sucker is going nowhere. I looked at the ceiling fan boxes and I liked my way better.
--

__
Roger Shoaf

Important factors in selecting a mate:
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was installing the box where none was before so I had to be in the attic anyway. I can make 8-32 tapped holes become 10-32 tapped holes really quick.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't do that, you'd weaken the screw tabs. They do make four inch round fan boxes though

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

When I measure a #8 screw I find it to be .160 inches, and when I measure the #10 I find it to be .185 inches.
That means that I would be enlarging the hole .025 inches.
If you are not familiar with decimal divisions on an inch, 1/8" =.125"
.025" is 1/5 of 1/8"
If the box is that cheesy that the tabs could not safely withstand enlarging them that little tiny bit, then I would certainly not use them.
I would be willing to bet that I could support my weight (almost 300# on the box I installed. I would not bet on the cheap boxes that were being sold with the tin bridge to hold up as well.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
They build the metal fan boxes a little different than the standard boxes, some actually enlarge the threaded holes and run a long screw right through the hole and tap the threads in the back of the box

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18 Mar 2007 15:17:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have heard of electricians using these, but I have never tried one. They are supposed to be able to be installed using only the opening hole for the box.
Installs without going into attic Maximum load rating for ceiling fans is up to 70 lbs Maximum load rating for light fixtures is up to 150 lbs
http://www.csnceilingfans.com/Westinghouse-Lighting-01100-WL2277.html#ProdDetails
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 18 Mar 2007 15:17:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have a related question. We use a semi-public building with 20 or 24 foot ceilings, and my friend just found out that the recessed lighting fixtures (they use flood lights, I guess) were just sitting on the drop ceiling tiles, which are about 3 feet by 6 feet. You know, white stuff, about a half inch thick. They weren't suspended from the trusses or the roof, only the tiles and electric cable.
My friend is rather bothered by this, and I don't know what code is, or normal building practice.
But the building was built 40 years ago, and the lights have given no problems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I don't know what the code is, but I do know it's not what you described. The lights may not have caused problems, but I can easily imagine a situation where they would, and probably all at once.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You pretty much answered your own question. But I'm a little curious, the box wasn't attached to ANYTHING? How was it kept from falling out of the ceiling?
As for the strength of the box, it only has to meet code, the box can be as flimsy as paper, the fixture is pulling on the walls of the box and I'm sure even paper thin plastic can sustain 100+ lbs of tensile loading. As for a ceiling fan, that's another story.
Personally I'd just cap the wires and go buy a box made for ceiling fans and then crawl into the attic and start swapping. It's not that tough, before this year I'd never done anything like that, but having done a few around the house I find that it's nothing major.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.