Electrical boxes are enclosures that house wire connections that power various appliances and devices in your home. Generally, electrical boxes are designed for various applications and locations throughout the house. Remember that before you go ahead and purchase an electrical utility box, you need to research your local electrical codes and obtain any permits you may require. Local codes can have an impact on the type of electrical boxes that can be used for certain applications.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the top factors you need to pay attention to when buying an electrical box. Let’s get started!
- Installation type
One of the top factors you should pay attention to when buying an electrical box is how it will be installed. Generally, electrical boxes can be installed differently. The old work boxes are typically used for installation in old covered walls. There is no need to remove, replace or refinish a large part of the ceiling or wall to install a new box. An old work box can be installed easily with less effort. To install it, cut an opening that can fit the box, pull the cable into the box and connect it directly to the existing wall covering. You can do this through the special mounting tabs built into the box. The old work box installation is a perfect option where the framing members aren’t accessible.
On the other hand, there are new work boxes used for installations where walls or ceilings are not accessible from the back or aren’t covered. These kinds of boxes attach directly to the ceiling or wall framing members. If you are replacing or removing a large portion of the wall, the new work box is the best option.
- Volume & setback
The total volume of a box is the space inside the box meant for the conductors and wiring devices. It is usually listed in cubic inches. If you want to determine how big you want the box to be, you need to add the total volume for all the wires, connectors, and devices [switches, outlets, and dimmers] that will be installed into the box.
On the other hand, the setback of a box establishes how far back from the surface of the wall the face of the box will be placed. This is particularly important if you want to apply tile or any other thick wall covering. To ensure the correct setback, use an adjustable-depth box.
Another essential factor you need to pay attention to is the material used to make the electrical box. Electricals are typically made of various materials, such as PVC, steel, fiberglass, cat aluminum, etc. Your environment will hugely determine the material of the electrical box you choose. However, the best electrical box for outdoor applications is the waterproof box. On the other hand, PVC electrical boxes are more suitable for indoor applications.