Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Solutions for Oddly Spaced Electrical Switches

You may have a light switch and outlet that are close together, but mounted in separate electrical boxes, making the spacing between them odd.

Learn how to cover oddly spaced electrical devices below.

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Problem #1: Adjacent Electrical Boxes

Solution A:

If your devices are in separate boxes that butt up against one another, you'll find that the spacing between them is odd.

A standard multi-gang cover plate won't be spaced properly to cover devices mounted like this:

And two separate single cover plates will be too wide to sit this close together.

Sometimes, desperate homeowners will cut a side off of two (or more) plastic switch plates to make a custom piecemeal cover. But the results are often quite unattractive.

A better solution is to pair together two narrow cover plates.

Solution B:

Another solution for the example shown above is to update the duplex outlet to a block outlet, and get a cover with widely spaced rocker openings.

Swapping out a duplex outlet for a modern block outlet is simple.

This cover plate's 2 rocker cutouts are spaced farther apart than on a standard double cover. The perfect solution for side by side electrical boxes with two switches or a switch and electrical plug socket.

Solution C:

You may have the same issue, but with multi-gang boxes. We have plates that are narrow on a single side to fix this problem:

Problem #2: Electrical Boxes in Close Proximity

It can look a little odd to have a bunch of single cover plates in close proximity with a small wall gap between them, like this:

You can order switch plates that have a section with no device opening.

You'll see that updating duplex outlets to block style outlets (shown above) not only gives you a modern look, but also gives you more options when selecting cover plates.

Problem #3: Electrical Boxes In Tight Spots

You can order an assortment of narrow, half narrow and other unique switch plates to fit within constraints such as door jambs that sit too close to your electrical devices.

For example, this homeowner was forced to cut the edges off several plastic switch plates to fit this tight spot next to the door:

A better solution is to get a plate that's trimmed on one edge. Cutout options for narrower plates are limited, so the devices will need to be updated as follows:

  • swap out the 2 rotary dimmers with rocker dimmers
  • update the toggle switch to a modern rocker switch
  • trade the horizontal toggles for a stacked rocker switch

A much cleaner look, don't you think?

Take careful measurements to determine what will work in your situation. At Kyle Switch Plates, we want you to find the solution that makes you happy. You can always order a variety of our specialized covers, then return the ones that don't work out.

Note: Device Position is NOT Fixed

An important thing to note is that your devices can be moved by simply loosening the 2 screws that mount them into the electrical box, pushing them toward the left or right, then tightening the screws to hold them back into the position you need them in.

This is a great way to get devices further from a door jamb, cabinet or other structure that sits too close to your device for a cover plate to fit.