using scrap of romex sheath as a spacer

Hi, The other day I was working in a house about 5 years old and I saw something I thought was neat, wondering how prevalent it is. To fill the gap between the front of the electrical box and the surface of the sheet rock, the electrician threaded the outlet/switch mounting screw through a short scrap of romex sheath that could squish down and keep the switch/outlet forced out away from the box, flush with the wall. Is that common? new? good idea? bad idea?
Whenever I've had that problem in the past I would just put a bunch of small washers on the screw. I didn't know if I should switch to doing this instead.
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I have used the romex scrap, washers, toothpicks, matchsticks or whatever ever did the job. Next time I do one I will do whatever fits.
Colbyt
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Doesn't code require a non-combustible box extender when the box is too deep in the wall? So that in theory any sparking from the device won't get lodged in combustible material in the crevice behind the wall surface?
aem sends...
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Good point. The situation I was referring to was where the box was less than 1/2 inch behind the face of the wall so there really wasn't a gap with an opening into the wall cavity, but the face of the sheetrock was not square enough against the edge of the box to cleanly hold the metal ears on the outlet.
Thanks for all the great input on this topic!
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I would refrain from using anything that can burn.
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Caddy makes something that will support a wiring device and compensate for large openings: http://www.erico.com/products/CADDYcfcDvcLvlrRetnr.asp They are probably only available at an electrical supply house.

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Strip a piece of copper wire. Wrap it tightly around a Phillips screwdriver. Pull it off. Cut the appropriate number of coils to space the switch/recep out the proper distance. Materials and tools that you always have when doing plugging and switching. Economical, solid, fireproof, professional.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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