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Poorly Installed Electrical Recepticle Quick Fix

I'm not prone to posting "how to" videos, but I am commonly searching them out and have been helped tremendously through the years by those willing to post them, so I thought as I do things that others may find helpful, I should document what I am doing to help them out when they go searching the Internet for help.

This is a fix for those wall outlets that are too far back to properly put a wall plate on.  This also fixes wall outlets that move around when you go to plug something into them.  The root problem is the same: the electrical box was installed too deep in the wall.  A properly installed box will take into account the thickness of the drywall to be hung so that once the drywall is hung the box will be flush with the surface of the finished wall.

This outlet had a box that was way too far back and I couldn't even put a wall plate on it with the screw that came with it.  I had to find a longer screw to attach it but it still looked terrible with the outlet so deep.

To be safe, flip the breaker to the off position for the circuit that you will be working on.  Confirm that there is no power in the outlet by testing it with something.

Remove the wall plate.  Then, remove the outlet by taking the top and bottom screws completely out.

Reinstall the outlet but add some washers to the backside of the screw so that the outlet will stand further out.  I used two nuts for a larger sized screw in place of washers since I had so much distance to make up.

Add back the wall plate.  Add more washers or take some away as needed to acquire a perfect fit.  The wall plate should be snug to the wall on all four sides and the outlet should be flush to the surface of the wall plate.  If your wall plate starts to bend into a convex shape as you are attaching it, the outlet likely needs to be further out so add more washers.


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