break up the walls or not

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DIY, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. DIY

    DIY New Member

    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Florida
    When a rewire is done to all outlets in a house (small 2/1 house 16 outlets total) Do the outlet boxes need to be changed? If so why? Right now there are metal/aluminum type boxes that are 2"Wx3"Hx2-1/4"D that have been in here since built 52 years ago.These outlet boxes will only have household duplex receptacles 15 or 20v in them as they did before with an addition of a ground wire.

    Thanks all!!

    p.s. can anyone tell me of a good wiring book to get that addresses questions like above and more? Much appreciated!
  2. jaxbldginspector

    jaxbldginspector New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Black & Decker "Home Wiring" sold at Books A Million.
  3. rgsgww

    rgsgww New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Ia
    You don't necessarily have to break up the walls, with enough patience and time, you may be able to fish and install new boxes.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I use the NEC and it is the only book that will give you the correct answers
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Those boxes are very shallow!

    A problem occurs with the addition of a ground wire to these old boxes, especially when there are two ROMEX® cables going into the box.

    I would use a "pig tail" with a screw on it and screw this into the metal box, then connect this to the ground wires from the two ROMEX® cables and a length of ground wire to secure to the outlet ground connection.

    So you have all these ground wires and two ROMEX® cables to "cram" into that small space!

    Then if you are running 12 gauge wire, this would be even more fun! (Harder to bend back into the box).

    On the other hand you could use a plastic deeper box. Then not need the ground pigtail plus have more room.

    Sort of like packing a trunk for vacation and the car is a VW bug as opposed to a large car.

    Here is more on this depending on what size wires and how many wires...
    (Google search: NEC Box Fill)
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=nec box fill&btnG=Google Search&aq=f&oq=
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2011
  6. rgsgww

    rgsgww New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Ia
    One of those black and decker books said to mark the red wire as ground for an isolated ground circuit.
  7. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    When I rewired my 1930's vintage house, I broke out the existing small metal boxes, prying apart with a big screwdriver. Replaced most with "old work" boxes, but also mounted some new metal boxes to studs with screws.

    The opening, big enough to get my hand in, made fishing the new cable a lot easier. Also gave me appropriate clamps in the new boxes.
  8. DIY

    DIY New Member

    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Florida
    break up walls or not

    Thanks for the replys all.

    Billy bob the outlet box size was a concern issue with me to. Of the 16 outlets total there are about 4 or 5 that have two 12-2 cables coming in,and the GFCI'S being added will both definately get changed to deeper and probably wider plastic boxes ( "old work" carlon boxes) all the other boxes have a single cable coming into them,and were ok'd to stay in place i was told. If anyone knows different let me know.Much appreciated!
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,059
    Location:
    New England
    I don't know this for sure, but a rewire probably also means a LOT more outlets. I don't think they will let you get away with just replacing the existing ones...you'll need to do the gfci for the bathroom/outside/garage/basement, maybe afci for the bedrooms, and come up to code on spacing for the outlets in the room as well. While you are at it, a/c powered (with battery backup) smoke detectors.
  10. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    Your count of boxes with "home run" supplies does not add up if your service is the 60 amp total with 4 glass fuses.

    But you could have 20 circuit breakers, and it would make sense.
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