How to Tell If an Existing Outlet Box Will Support a Ceiling Fan
A square electrical box, also known as a “double-gang box,” houses two devices. They'll have a combination outlet/switch or a pair of outlets/switches inside. The round or octagonal box houses lightweight fixtures or safety devices in the ceiling. These are used for lights or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Outlet Boxes Article of the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) covers the installation and use of boxes. The article includes table references that guide the electrician in the selection of the proper size box necessary to safely accommodate electrical service requirements. The box capacity table is.
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Access Box Valve Only for PEX
Not the outlet box, but the wire running through the joists. Justin Sheppard. Reply: minimum heights for electrical receptacles is not specified in the electrical code NEC. No, Justin. But if there is the slightest danger that wires will be nicked by someone driving a nail into a stud though which the wires are run be sure to use steel plates. A. Standard outlet boxes are simply a box installed between the wall studs to keep valves out of the way yet accessible. These are not rated for use in areas that require fire retardant materials. Fire retardant gas outlet boxes are designed to be used in conjunction with fire retardant building materials to maintain the performance of the fire retardant construction. Remodeling boxes, also called old-work boxes, are electrical boxes designed to be installed after drywall has been hung. For example, you would install a remodeling box if you need an additional outlet for a home office or theater. In contrast to new-work boxes, which are screwed to the wall studs before drywall is hung, old-work boxes hang on the drywall with clamps built in to the box.
Supporting a ceiling fan properly is important to avoid personal injury and damage to your house. There are several acceptable ways to support a ceiling fan, including special boxes designed with straps or fastening the box to wood blocking. A visual inspection from above is always recommended to confirm that the previous work is sufficient. If there is no attic space available to use for inspection, other options are available.
The National Electric Code requires that all fans 35 pounds and over must be supported with an outlet box or outlet box system that is listed for ceiling fan support. The manufacturer must have marked the outlet box system to indicate that it is acceptable for ceiling fan installations. If the original box is not listed for this purpose, it must be retrofitted and attached securely to the building structure.
Specially designed outlet boxes for ceiling fan support have special braces that extend to contact adjacent ceiling joists. These braces are then nailed or screwed into the joists themselves. A threaded set-nipple is mounted in the middle of the box, which allows the box to travel laterally along the brace. Inspecting the brace-joist connection is the best way to make sure that the box was installed properly. Ceiling boxes in older homes may not have special fan boxes.
Instead, the carpenters who framed the ceiling may have added a block between the ceiling joists upon which the box is mounted. The box should have been fastened with screws to the bottom of the block.
If the box is mounted on only one side or with nails it should not be used as is. The best way to confirm that a box is securely attached is to inspect from above. Crawling through the attic to locate the box allows you to confirm that all supports are adequate. However, if you are installing a fan between stories where there is no attic space, you will have to determine from below. Look for the attachment points of the box. Is it screwed to wood from the sides, or do the screws go through the top of the box?
Is there a threaded nipple visible from below? If you cannot discern how the box is supported, hire an electrician to inspect the box for you. Charles W. Clair has been writing professionally since He lives in Oakland, Calif. By Charles W. Clair Updated December 14, Related Articles.