We've discovered that part of our 30+ year old house has no boxes
behind the electrical outlets. The switches and outlets are just held
in position by the stiffness of the wires. Is there a straightforward
way to add boxes "after the fact" without tearing out wallboard?
Thanks for your suggestions.
Sure, they are available at any home center. Just look for boxes labelled "old
work" as opposed to "new work". Since the wires are no doubt pretty short, you
will need to completely remove the springy 'clamps' on the plastic boxes. Just
bend them out and twist them off so you can easily shove the wires through as
the box goes into the hole in the drywall.
On Wed, 02 Aug 2006 08:39:54 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT)
DT is talking about the all-pastic clamps that are meant to hold the
electric cable in place where it goes into the box. Not the metal
arms that rotate out and then clamp down as the screws in the box,
where the arms pivot, are tightened.
I only say this because I didn't understand at first.
I'm not sure how building inspectors are where you live, but where I live
(in Westchester County, NY), they do everything by the book. Around here,
something like this would be evidence of unlicensed electrical work -
possibly done by a previous owner with no electrical training. Even if you
are not worried about the effects of improperly done electrical work (fire,
shock), you still need to be worried about what will happen when you try to
sell the house. Banks are constantly getting more and more picky. Whereas a
few years ago, a bank might only have been concerned about the buyer's
credit rating and whether the house was in a flood zone, they now
investigate whether there is any evidence of work done without a permit -
even decades ago. If they see something like this, they'll refuse to approve
a mortgage until everything is approved by the building/electrical
inspector. The inspector is likely to tell you to remove all the sheetrock
in suspect areas so he/she can do a full inspection. Sometimes, if it looks
like a reasonably professional job, you might be able to get a local
electrician to certify it and then the building inspector will approve. But
if there are no boxes, this is a sign that there was work done by someone
who was unqualified. In addition to the headaches you might have when you
try to sell the house, you might also run into problems if you decide to
have some renovations done (with proper permits) and in the course of that
work, this old work is discovered.
I would recommend trying to find an electrician who is a friend (or friend
of a friend, etc.) or someone reasonably qualified with electrical work,
have them take a look at it in an unofficial capacity, and see what they
have to say about it. No one here has seen the work, nor do they know how
code enforcement is done in your town - and you don't really know anything
about their qualifications.
Good friends had a house fire with little insurance. Fire was caused by
cat knocking over a lamp:(
Anyhow during Demo found previous owner was HORRIBLE electrician!
Including 2 lengths of romex tied together in a knot with no box
hanging inside a wall:(
They ended up rewiring the entire home........
Bad work with ZIP common sense is way too common..........
Lots of other problems the electrical system was a complete waste.
I can't see what you actually have, but from what you asked. You can
get electrical boxes that can be used after finish is installed. They
go by names like: Old-work boxes, remodel boxes, etc.
Some have wings that hold the box against the finished surface. You
will find these in big package stores. Some have internal screwss
that attach to studs, like the "one-box".
Before you start, I would first have you whole how checked by a
qualified electrician. if the previous work was done without boxes,
you might have other underlying problems.
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
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