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Code Cite re. Recessed Boxes & Loose Covers


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What's the reference for outlets and switches that designates the minimum distance for how far the device extends *beyond* the face of the cover plate?

I got a place where all the switches and outlets are sunk too far in the wall, or too far inside the box. Some of them don't even extend out to the cover plate.

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From the 06' IRC

E3902.5 Position of receptacle faces. After installation, receptacle faces shall be flush with or project from face plates of insulating material and shall project a minimum of 0.015 inch (0.381 mm) from metal face plates. Faceplates shall be installed so as to completely cover the opening and seat against the mounting surface.

Exceptions:

1. Listed kits or assemblies encompassing receptacles and nonmetallic faceplates that cover the receptacle face, where the plate cannot be installed on any other receptacle, shall be permitted.

2. Listed nonmetallic faceplates that cover the receptacle face to a maximum thickness of 0.040 inches (1 mm) shall be permitted.

Marc

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Article 406.4 (A) 2005 NEC where boxes are set back as per Article 314.20, the yoke of the receptacle shall be flush with the wall surface.

Chris, Oregon

I've always assumed that to do this legally one must use box extensions and isn't allowed to simply leave the screws loose and let the wire tension hold the thing against the back of the cover. Is that the way you all understand that?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike, you are correct that the plate cannot hold the device to the face of the surface. Box extenders need to be used. Some have tried spacers like nuts over the screws to hold the device tight to the box and allow the device to be flush with the surface, but this is not acceptacle as the box would still be too far recessed.

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I've always assumed that to do this legally one must use box extensions and isn't allowed to simply leave the screws loose and let the wire tension hold the thing against the back of the cover. Is that the way you all understand that?

I don't know. 314.20 says for non-combustible facings the box can be up to 1/4" recessed from the surface, but for combustible facings, it can't be recessed at all.

If it can be recessed, why would you need an extender? An extender should be required for a box recessed more than a 1/4" in drywall for example.

406.4 (A) says ... shall be installed such that the mounting yoke or strap of the receptacle is held rigidly at the finished surface. Perhaps it's the AHJ call as to what he considers rigidly held. Perhaps Jim Katen can help us out.

Chris, Oregon

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I've always assumed that to do this legally one must use box extensions and isn't allowed to simply leave the screws loose and let the wire tension hold the thing against the back of the cover. Is that the way you all understand that?

I don't know. 314.20 says for non-combustible facings the box can be up to 1/4" recessed from the surface, but for combustible facings, it can't be recessed at all.

If it can be recessed, why would you need an extender? An extender should be required for a box recessed more than a 1/4" in drywall for example.

406.4 (A) says ... shall be installed such that the mounting yoke or strap of the receptacle is held rigidly at the finished surface. Perhaps it's the AHJ call as to what he considers rigidly held. Perhaps Jim Katen can help us out.

Chris, Oregon

I don't know of any box extenders that are less than 1/4" deep.

I don't know if they're still available, but you used to be able to buy plastic shims that would pad out a yolk to the proper distance if there was less than 1/4" of setback. They were strips of plastic that were folded like an accordian and that had little holes molded into them. You tore off the length that you needed folded them up accordian fashion, and threaded them onto the yolk's mounting screw. This way you'd have firm backing.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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