Common questions

Can I Shim an electrical outlet?

Can I Shim an electrical outlet?

In the past the solution was to remove the screws holding the electrical outlet or switch, replace them with longer screws, and use washers or nuts to shim out the gap between the old wall and new. A safer and better solution today is to add an electrical box extender – available at home centers – to the existing box.

How do you fill a gap around an electrical box?

If the gap between the electrical box and the drywall is less than 1/4 in., fill it with acrylic latex caulk. If the gap is bigger and lopsided, use foam sealant that’s formulated for use around doors and window framing. The minimally expanding foam won’t drip down your walls.

Why is my outlet so loose?

Outlets usually loosen because they’re attached to an electrical box that’s installed too far back into the wall. Electrical boxes that are too far back aren’t secure enough, which affects the stability of the entire fixture. That instability could bump or jostle wires loose, creating even more major problems.

How do you secure a loose outlet?

The trick to fixing the outlet is to put some support pieces behind the wall for the clamp on the outlet to snug-up too. Wooden shims work good for support pieces. Notice the layout of the shims in the picture. This is the layout you want, but the shims will be behind the wall.

Why won’t my plugs stay in the outlet?

When plugs won’t stay put in an outlet, the problem could be the prongs or the receptacle. Try multiple devices to make sure you have a loose outlet. Damaged contact points are the main cause of loose outlets, which typically happens over time. However, heat and sparks from bad wiring can also cause damage.

Why wont my plugs stay in the outlet?

Do electrical boxes have to be flush with drywall?

The front edge of the box must be flush with the finished wall surface, usually 1/2-inch-thick drywall. Some boxes have depth gauges. You can use a scrap of drywall to position the box.

How do you seal an outlet box?

Another simple step for better outlet insulation is to apply foam or caulk into the gap around the flush-mounted box, behind electrical cover plates. After foam hardens, you can slice off the excess with a serrated knife. To seal wall boxes, first seal the cable intrusions and then the gap around the box.

How do you fix a protruding outlet box?

For an electrical box that protrudes slightly, covering switches with a deep switch plate can correct the problem. These covers have added depth. The edge bevel is twice as deep as on a standard plate. Deep plates sit 5/16″ off the wall.

What’s the best way to tighten an electrical outlet?

A scrap of 12- or 14-gauge electrical wire and a few common tools are all you’ll need to lock that outlet down tight. Start by shutting off the power to the outlet (Photo 1). Photos 2 and 3 show how to convert scrap electrical wire into a coiled spacer, which will bridge the gap between the outlet and the electrical box.

How do you fix a recessed electrical outlet?

Recessed Outlet. Take off the outer outlet plate. Unscrew the screws connecting the outlet plugs(s) to the box and pull out. Leave all of the wires attached. Take the electrical box extender or shimming plate and slide it back behind the outlet plugs. Screw the outlet plug(s) to the extender/shimming plate and electrical box. Or,…

Where to put the shims on an electrical box?

This is the layout you want, but the shims will be behind the wall. Stick the shims thru the opening and position on the top and bottom edge of the opening. To make them stay until you can get the electrical box repositioned and tightened, I like to tape the bottom shim in place.

What to do if your outlet box comes loose?

There may be screws or nails that have come loose; if they are inside the box then you will have to unscrew the outlets to get at those screws, then reattach the outlets to the box (this is probably the extent of electrical work, and even this won’t require even detaching any wires).