Sunday, March 15, 2009

Subject: outlet boxes

Name: Phil

Question: Hi thank you for taking my question. All outlets in my home are being upgraded to have a ground. Is it necessary to change out the outlet boxes during this process?All existing boxes are in great shape,(maybe a splash of hard coat or plaster here and there) The boxes are of the metal/aluminum type 2"Wx3"Hx2-1/4"D. The boxes will only have household duplex receptacles in them as they did for the last 52 years,but now with the addition of a ground wire via #12/2. Thank you

Answer: Hi Phil,in most situations I would up date the boxes as well. The reason I do this is two fold. I fell plastic boxes being non-conductive are less likely to short and since 12-2 insulation is plastic there is less of a chance that the wire can be damaged as it enters the box.

That being said there is no real reason to change the boxes if they are in good condition and not corroded. I recently rewired a home in Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia (19119) where it would have caused more damage to remove the original metal boxes out of the plaster then if I were to leave them in. For that reason the original boxes, which were still in good shape were reused.

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