Outlet and Switch Repair

Unfortunately due to my incompetent electricians who put the electrical boxes in crooked and at any depth they chose, and perhaps some of the drywall shimming, the outlets and switches almost all have to be shimmed out to install the covers.

At first I purchased the blue outlet extenders from Home Depot and tried to cut them to size to fix the worst offset boxes. I also used tile shims and washers on some of the boxes. But these extenders are meant for boxes that were installed square and and an exact distance behind the surface. And they are heavy plastic so I was cutting them at angles with the multitool.

Blue box extender

Blue box extender


I decided to check Amazon for a different kind of box extender but was not too successful. Then I tried ebay and found these.
Arlington electric box extenders

Arlington electric box extenders


Since I couldn’t really tell if they would work, I ordered just 5 for about $3.50 a piece. These are meant to slip inside of the box at the drywall surface. If the drywall is cut exactly around the box they work great, if not some finagling is required but not too much.
The power can stay on when using these boxes. But be sure not to let your fingers slip and hit the screw connections. Tingle and ouch is the result.
Hot electric connections

Hot electric connections


This is an example of a crooked and too deep electrical box.

I guess you could just use really long screws and leave it like that! But it seems pretty dangerous and ugly.
Some of the boxes are metal because the electricians were required to use conduit in the ceiling. A metal box means this wire was run through the ceiling.
Crooked metal box

Crooked metal box


As an additional issue, some wires in this box were poking in from the side of the box where the extender has to slide into the box.
Wires inserted from side of box

Wires inserted from side of box


So in this case, I had to cut a wire chase in the extender box. But for the plastic boxes I didn’t have to do this. The box itself slips over the outlet and the wires behind it when the wires are bent down away from the box.
Box extender cut for wires

Box extender cut for wires


The box extender is then slid into the electrical box and it should stop at the drywall, unless there is too large a hole!
Outlet and wires pushed back

Outlet and wires pushed back


This one ended up just a little crooked but certainly much better than without the adjustment.

I used all five boxes and ordered another 25 even though I probably need only 14 more, the box of 25 cost only $1.60 each and fewer cost up to $5 each. I may go back and add these to some of the boxes where I just used washers.

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