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Question DetailsAsked on 6/25/2014

I have electrical plugs that are loose in the wall. Who should repair them, an electrician or a drywall repair per

Plugs still work. It appears that when they were installed that the plugs were attached to the drywall, not to the studs. So who should repair this? An electrician or a drywall repair person?

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2 Answers


If these outlets were installed as add on's truly mounted to the drywall with what are sometimes called Madison Bars an electrician would be your best bet. It is posssible you will need a drywall person or possibly a handyman to patch the sheetrock after work is done. I don't know if you took the plates off the outlets to see if it is just that the outlets were not fastened tightly enough to the box or not but that is a possible cause for this.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Electrician - or DIY.

Electrician should be minimum service call charge of typically $75-150 for 1-2 boxes - maybe up to 4-5 if just loose and need tightening rather than replacement.

For DIY there are two possibilities here -

1) Original Box is loose and conventional behindthe drywall metal or plastic box: if correct depth to wall (face plate does not stick out in front of drywall), then you might be able to tighten up yourself, if you are the least electrical handy. Turn off breaker for the outlet (and test to be sure off using a device you have just tested and KNOW works), remove faceplate (usually one center screw), remove outlet screws (two, at top and bottom holding outlet to the electrical box), and gently pull the outlet out of the box, straightening the wires as you do so to extent needed, till outlet is out of the way. Then find the small (usually #8 screw size) gangbox mounting screw holes in the side of the box on the side toward the stud (usually 2 or 4), and put a couple of 1/2-1" wood or sheet metal screws in the holes to tighten it up to the stud. If plastic box or metal studs you will need to predrill or use self-tapping sheet metal screws. Tuck outlet back into box folding the wires out of the way as they were before and checking wires are still connected to outlet, put outlet mounting screws back in, and put faceplate back on, turn breaker on, and test.

2) new installation was with a "remodel" or "old work" box like these:

Since you say looks like plugs were attached to drywall, this is probably what you have, assuming the guy was not an idiot and just screwed plugs to the drywall with no electrical box, which I have seen done by drywallers and handymen - if this is your case, you need electrician.

If a remodel or old work box, turn off breaker and test outlet with something you know works to be sure is off, the remove coverplate (one center screw typically). Underneath you will see the outlet, with screws at each end holding it onto the box. If you do not see other mounting screws for the box to the wall, outlet has to be pulled out as above to get at them. The box itself will then have typically 2 screws - one top and one bottom if standard single outlet box (typically 4 around rim if round or octagonal box) - that mount it to the drywall. If box has a full diameter flange around it against the drywall, push box up flush with drywall and tighten screws. If box has flange or tabs on the face of the drywall only at top and bottom, which is your likely case, then the two boxmounting screws hook into a cam or lobe behind the drywall thatflips up behindthe drywall when you turn the screw, so the box is slipped into the opening, then snugged up to the wall by tightening the screws, engaging the cam or lobe behindthe drywall and "pinching" the drwall between the cam or lobe in bak and the mounting flange or tab in front. Gently but snugly tighten the screws and it will pull the backer cam or lobe up tight against the drywall. To NOT overtighten - will break cam or pull right through drywall. Then reassemble usinprocedure in 1) above.

If cams have pulled through drywall, or hole in drywall was made too big so fasteners will not hold, then call an electrician - there are backer plates made for this case that get put behind the wall so right kind of box can be screwed into them - or if right by a stud he can put in a standard box with blind romex connectors and screw the box to the stud per above case 1).

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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