A RANT! - Electrical boxes

Installing the 3rd GE Z-Wave switch into a 4-way electrical box has finally done it. What a PITA!!!! With these new fancy switches we are all installing, we need at least another inch (if not more) of depth to the electrical boxes. It's even a PITA in a single box to get get all of the wiring pushed back to accommodate the Z-Wave switch. UGH!!!!!!!!

I understand that they need to be designed to fit within the width of a wall stud but it would be nice to have deeper ones when that's not an issue.

Ok, I feel better. Thanks for reading!!!


You should try an older mobile home. Most walls are 1 3/4 thick which demands very shallow boxes. Almost all of my devices are plug in. I have 1 z-wave wall switch on an interior wall that I had to cut out the original box and install a standard box. Only wall in the whole mobile home thick enough to accommodate this.

They do make extra deep boxes, but the other option is a double gang box with a mud ring to make it single gang. You can then push the wires off to the side so there is nothing behind the outlet.

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The newer GE switches are "supposed" to be smaller. No experience with them. My Insteon switches are much smaller than ANY Z-Wave switch and the same for Lutron switches they are tiny in comparison to Z-Wave switches

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You think you have it bad? Wait to you get to Europe. We have two sizes of boxes. 1. 68mm diameter x 35mm or 50mm depth. So if you're lucky you have 50mm of depth. If you're not lucky you can forget it because you can hardly fit the wiring in 35mm. Is the wiring in the US one solid core copper wire? Or is it multi-core (flexible)?

PS. Shouldn't the category for this post be the lounge? Not HSM?

Are you trying to say people shouldn't be safe around electricity? :wink:


Sorry I meant to post it on Lounge if Admins can move it please.

Where are you from? The only time you really see a 47mm deep box is for cookers and shower outlets. 35mm is also rare it's all I install now unless I can get a 47 in. But "most" UK homes are installed with 25mm or even 16mm if your really unlucky.

The Netherlands. But apparently there is even worse... :astonished:

And metal boxes make perfect radio wave blockers. At least in the US we have plastic boxes available. I have rewired most of my home and have replaced metal boxes with plastic and deep ones where I could. I always made sure the switches had screw terminals rather than attached wires. The attached wires and wire nuts take up a ton of room in any box.

Solid copper in North America - includes Canada

White -- Neutral
Black -- Hot/Load
Copper -- ground/earth

Single phase of course in North America

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I found using the push in wire connectors helped a lot when getting things back in the box. Because they are flatter than the twist on they fit easier behind the box without worrying about the connections becoming loose. One I started using them it wasn’t as bad.

There are also tools to help you push the wires back in as well and get them flat on the back of the box. It just makes the job that much easier.


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Well, how about older house with shallow box and NO neutral! Talking about limited option.

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That is what I was faced with along with brittle insulation. I rewired and added a bunch of new circuites. Many trips to the home center.

I feel your pain. Thankfully Caseta's helped in most scenarios...a beveled faceplate helped with one "not so shallow" boxes...some have Hue bulbs....the rest just have standard switches. Really wish I could have put Caseta everywhere.

When I built my house I spec'd double depth boxes everywhere along with mandatory neutral wire in every j-box. I've got more than enough room inside.

And red, to really bumfuzzle things!!!

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no PM available for unknown reasons. It's a lounge so more cosy than support.

Just to say that I miss the "hollandse nieuwe" eaten along the channel in Sluis.
I live in Canada since 20 years but still nostalgic of mijn vlakke land...

Red is used in 220v

Red is the second Hot/Load to give you the 220v.

Weird that a PM isn't possible. Just checked, but it is enabled.

Anyway, you did what I probably would do. I postpone going on holidays to Canada. I'm afraid i'll never go back :joy:
My parents go every year and I also have some family living in Ottawa. But I have never been there as of yet.