How to Use Outlet Spacers for Improved Electrical Safety

How to Use Outlet Spacers?

Outlet spacers are used to move an outlet further out from the wall, typically when adding tile or panels around the outlet.

They can also be used to fix a loose or sunken electrical outlet.

There are two types of outlet spacers: bending prong and groove spacers, and tube spacers.

Bending prong spacers can be snapped together and excess can be torn off, while tube spacers can be cut to the desired thickness.

To install outlet spacers, you need to turn off the power, remove the outlet cover plate, unscrew the outlet from the wall, and determine the additional space needed.

Measure the thickness of the material around the outlet, and use prong or tube outlet spacers to add the necessary depth.

Slide the spacer over the screw on the outlet, reattach the outlet cover, and ensure the outlet is tight with the wall box.

Outlet spacers can also be used for light switches.

If you need visual guidance, you can watch a video tutorial for a demonstration of the installation process.

Key Points:

  • Outlet spacers are used to move an outlet further out from the wall, typically when adding tile or panels around the outlet.
  • They can also be used to fix a loose or sunken electrical outlet.
  • There are two types of outlet spacers: bending prong and groove spacers, and tube spacers.
  • Bending prong spacers can be snapped together and excess can be torn off, while tube spacers can be cut to the desired thickness.
  • To install outlet spacers, you need to turn off the power, remove the outlet cover plate, unscrew the outlet from the wall, and determine the additional space needed.
  • Outlet spacers can also be used for light switches and video tutorials are available for visual guidance.


Did You Know?

1. Outlet spacers were originally developed to prevent electrical shock hazards in older homes that had loose or improperly installed outlets.
2. In some countries, outlet spacers are known by different names, such as “socket stabilizers” or “plug extenders.”
3. Outlet spacers can be used not only for electrical devices but also for home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines that require a protruding plug or have a large power adaptor.
4. Some outlet spacers are designed with built-in surge protection capabilities, ensuring the safety of your sensitive electronic devices.
5. To maximize efficiency, outlet spacers should not remain plugged in permanently as they can cause electric energy leakage.

Purpose of Outlet Spacers

Outlet spacers are essential tools used to create additional space between an electrical outlet and the wall. This is particularly important when installing tile or panels around the outlet, as it guarantees that the outlet remains flush with the surface. Using outlet spacers improves the overall look and functionality of electrical installations, while enhancing electrical safety.

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Without a spacer, tiles or panels added around an outlet can cause it to become recessed into the wall, resulting in an unsightly gap. This not only affects the aesthetics but also poses a potential hazard, increasing the risk of electrical shock or short circuits. Outlet spacers serve as a barrier that prevents the outlet from sinking into the wall, ensuring a secure and safe connection.

To summarize:

  • Outlet spacers are handy tools used to create additional space between an electrical outlet and the wall.
  • They are especially useful when adding tile or panels around the outlet, as they ensure that the outlet remains flush with the surface.
  • Outlet spacers can also fix a loose or sunken electrical outlet, providing a more secure and safe connection.
  • Using outlet spacers improves the overall look and functionality of electrical installations, enhancing electrical safety.
  • Without a spacer, the outlet can become recessed into the wall, creating an unsightly gap and increasing the risk of electrical shock or short circuits.
  • Outlet spacers act as a barrier, preventing the outlet from sinking into the wall and ensuring that it remains securely in place.

Types of Outlet Spacers

There are two main types of outlet spacers: bending prong and groove spacers, and tube spacers.

Bending prong spacers are particularly convenient as they can be easily snapped together, allowing for customization based on the desired depth. Excess portions can also be torn off, ensuring a perfect fit for your specific installation.

On the other hand, tube spacers offer a different level of versatility. They can be easily cut to the desired thickness, accommodating various depths and dimensions. This makes them suitable for a wide range of projects and ensures a precise and secure fit.

Both types of outlet spacers serve the same purpose of creating space and preventing outlets from sinking into the wall. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific requirements of your project.

Installing Bending Prong Spacers

To install bending prong spacers, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power to the outlet at the circuit breaker. This is crucial for your safety during the installation process.
  2. Remove the outlet cover plate using a screwdriver.
  3. Unscrew the outlet from the wall and carefully pull it out, ensuring the wires remain connected.
  4. Measure the thickness of the material that will be added around the outlet to determine the additional space needed.
  5. Select the appropriate bending prong spacers based on this measurement.
  6. Snap the spacers together to achieve the desired depth, ensuring a secure fit.
  7. Slide the spacer over the screw on the outlet, positioning it correctly to add the necessary depth.
  8. For a neat and professional finish, ensure the spacer is evenly aligned with the outlet.
  9. Reattach the outlet cover plate.
  10. Carefully place the outlet back into the wall box.
  11. Tighten the screws to securely fasten the outlet in place.

Quote: “Turning off the power at the circuit breaker is a crucial step to ensure your safety during the installation process.”

Remember to exercise caution and follow proper safety measures while performing any electrical work.

  • Make sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before starting the installation.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the outlet cover plate.
  • Measure the thickness of the material to determine the additional space required.
  • Snap the bending prong spacers together to achieve the desired depth.
  • Slide the spacer over the screw on the outlet, ensuring correct positioning.
  • Align the spacer evenly with the outlet for a professional finish.
  • Reattach the outlet cover plate.
  • Carefully place the outlet back into the wall box.
  • Tighten the screws to securely hold the outlet in place.
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Installing Tube Spacers

The installation of tube spacers follows a similar process to bending prong spacers. Begin by turning off the power and removing the outlet cover plate. Unscrew the outlet and carefully pull it out while keeping the wires connected.

Measure the thickness of the material surrounding the outlet and select the appropriate tube spacer. Cut the tube spacer to the desired thickness using a sharp utility knife or a suitable cutting tool. It is essential to have a clean and precise cut to ensure a secure fit.

Slide the cut tube spacer over the screw on the outlet, making sure it is positioned correctly to provide the necessary depth. Ensure the spacer is aligned properly with the outlet for a clean and professional finish. Reattach the outlet cover plate and securely place the outlet back into the wall box, tightening the screws to ensure a tight fit against the spacer.

Using Outlet Spacers for Light Switches

Outlet spacers are not limited to electrical outlets alone, they can also be used for light switches. The process for using outlet spacers with light switches is similar to that of outlets:

  1. Turn off the power.
  2. Remove the cover plate.
  3. Unscrew the switch from the wall.
  4. Determine the additional space needed.

To install the outlet spacer with a light switch, follow these steps:

  1. Select the appropriate outlet spacer depending on the desired depth and material thickness.
  2. Install the spacer over the screw on the switch, ensuring a proper fit and alignment.
  3. Reattach the cover plate.
  4. Firmly place the switch back into the wall box, tightening the screws to secure it in place.

Note: It is important to ensure that the power is turned off and follow safety precautions when working with electrical components.

Video Tutorial for Installation Guidance

For a visual demonstration of how to use outlet spacers, it is highly recommended to watch a video tutorial. Many DIY websites and video-sharing platforms provide detailed step-by-step guides to help you understand the installation process better. Watching a video tutorial can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring that you properly use outlet spacers and achieve the desired result with ease.

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Outlet spacers offer a practical solution for moving outlets further out from the wall, fixing loose or sunken outlets, and enhancing electrical safety. Whether you choose bending prong or tube spacers, following the proper installation steps is crucial to ensure a secure and professional outcome. Additionally, outlet spacers can be used for light switches, expanding their functionality beyond just electrical outlets. By watching video tutorials, you can confidently use outlet spacers and achieve improved electrical safety in your home or workspace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many outlet spacers can you use?

There is no set limit to the number of outlet spacers that can be used. Since they come in 1/8″ increments and can be folded like an accordion, you can use as many as needed to achieve the desired spacing for your wall socket. The flexibility of these spacers allows for customization based on individual needs and preferences, making it a versatile solution for socket adjustments.

Do you need outlet spacers?

Outlet spacers can be quite useful in certain situations. If you are planning to install outlets on an accent wall or a tile backsplash, outlet spacers can ensure that the outlets are flush with the new surface. These spacers allow for a seamless and professional-looking installation, providing a neat finish to your project. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional electrician, outlet spacers can simplify the process and help you achieve the desired outcome with ease.

What are socket spacers for?

Socket spacers are an essential component used to create additional clearance for the installation wiring in cases where shallow mounting boxes are utilized. Serving as an alternative to fitting a deeper box, these spacers enable secure and efficient installation in instances when there is limited space. By providing the required clearance, socket spacers ensure that the wiring is properly accommodated and that the shallow mounting box remains suitable for the particular installation.

What are some tips for effectively using outlet spacers in a home electrical installation?

When using outlet spacers in a home electrical installation, there are a few tips to keep in mind for effective and safe use. Firstly, it’s crucial to ensure that the outlet spacer is the correct size and type for the specific outlet you are working with. This ensures a secure fit and minimizes the risk of electrical hazards. Additionally, always remember to turn off the power to the outlet before installing or adjusting the spacer. This precaution is essential to prevent electric shock. Finally, when installing the spacer, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and securely fasten it in place. This will help maintain a stable and reliable connection, ensuring a safe electrical system in your home.

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