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How to Fix a Loose Electrical Wall Outlet
Wed 02/06/08 09:58:23 am
by Mark Bower


When you plug something in and pull it back out, does it feel like the whole outlet box is going to come with you? Most likely the outlet boxes are loose because the 'thin' sheetrock has cracked or broken away. Here's how to snug-up those outlet boxes for good.




Your box may look a bit different than this box, but most of them have the same concept. First, shut off the electricity and remove the cover. The cover will either have a screw or just snap off. Then completely loosen the box from the wall by unscrewing the top right and bottom left screws. Only turn these screws about 5 to 6 turns.




Carefully pull the outlet box out of the wall. Hopefully you shouldn't have to disconnect any wiring. Notice the little blue tab on the upper right. This is a built-in clamp that holds the box to the wall when the screw is tightened. You also have a clamp on the lower left. The sheetrock has probably broken away from this tab, so it has nothing to grab therefore making the box loose. Continue reversing the screw until the tab is situated at the very back of the screw. Do not unscrew so much that the tab falls off.


The trick to fixing the outlet is to put some support pieces behind the wall for the clamp on the outlet to snug-up too. Wooden shims work good for support pieces. Notice the layout of the shims in the picture. This is the layout you want, but the shims will be behind the wall.

Stick the shims thru the opening and position on the top and bottom edge of the opening. To make them stay until you can get the electrical box repositioned and tightened, I like to tape the bottom shim in place. The top shim is a bit more tricky. One trick is to put a dab of caulk on each end of the shim and stick up in place. If your electrical box has several wires coming in and out, positioning the shims may prove difficult. You may have to disconnect some of the wiring to get the shims in place.


Once the shims are in place, carefully put the electrical box back into the wall. Using a screwdriver, tighten the clamps back up, snugging them up against the shims.


Once snug and tight (don't over tighten), screw or snap the cover back on. Notice on this picture that you can still see where the sheetrock was broken. To hide that, purchase an oversize outlet cover.


The Manual for
Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade

"Every winter my roof leaked...   We even had a couple manufactured home repairmen out to seal it.    Nothing worked and this went on for 5 years," said Maureen of Elko, Nevada.     "Then last summer I ordered The Manual and it suggested I use neoprene to seal the leak.    Since then I've had no leaks at all!"

Maureen is referring to The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade by Mark Bower.    Most just dub it The Manual.    Bower owns and operates Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair in Aberdeen, South Dakota.   

Maureen isn't alone.    Hundreds of others have written to Bower sharing similar stories of how The Manual has solved their problems.    Esther of St.   Louis, Missouri, writes,  "We had squeaky floors in the living room and without The Manual, I would have had my husband tear out the floors and put in new ones.    What a lifesaver!"

Bower enjoys the letters he receives regarding his manual.   "I wrote this manual from experience," says Bower.   "I'm not just some guy with his feet up on the desk - I'm out in the field every day doing what I write.  "

Tom of Lansing, Michigan, followed the simple instructions on installing a shut-off valve and saved $75 on a service call.    Mary of Churdan, Iowa, writes to say she uses the manual to keep the repair guys she hires honest, "When I had my home releveled, I sent two different contractors packing because I knew they weren't doing the job right.    This manual has literally saved me hundreds of dollars!" 

Bower has updated his manual for 2004.    More information was added regarding additions and porches.    "We added details on attaching porches so they don't leak even if they shift with the seasons.  " says Bower.    With high energy prices now upon us, Bower says he's also included a section on building a solar heating panel.    "Find an old sliding glass door and you can build one for under $100," says Bower who built two panels for his own 1800 square foot manufactured home.    "You'd be surprised at how much heat they create when the sun is shining.  "

David of Lake McConaughy, Nebraska, says The Manual should be called, The Mobile Home Bible.   Dave writes, "I wish I had your manual when we had our 1965 Star.    It would have saved me WEEKS of work!" 

Vicki of Ocala, Florida, bought Bower's manual because it had instructions for installing a metal roofover.    "My son and husband had the roof up in 2 days from start to finish," says Vicki.   "The 4 inch overhang is awesome - no more water running down the siding.   Great roof, great instructions, I love it!"

The Manual also helped Pam from Duluth, Minnesota, replace her skirting and repair her underbelly.   "It gave me the courage to tackle these projects," writes Pam.   " I saved a lot of money by being able to do it myself.  "

Bower says many manufactured home owners are do-it-yourselfers, and he's glad to be able to provide them a tool, The Manual, to help them do more.  

,
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The Guide to
Manufactured Housing Repair On-Line

The MH Parts Store On-Line   MH Parts may not be very pretty... but when you need them you just can't do with out them. Don't run all over town to assemble the things you need for that home renovation or repair. Order from our on-line parts store. Everything you need is here from doors, windows, screens, plumbing and electric parts, bath and kitchen fixtures, roof and ceiling components, and more.... even set-up materials, The Part Store's Owner/Managers, keep it simple, they just provide you with the best possible products available.

The Manual for Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade   If your looking for a book that covers all facets of manufactured home repair, you've found it! This is the only book of its type, available to the public, that we have been able to find. As you would expect from the title, The repair and upgrade techniques described in this manual are specific to manufactured homes. This book will answer almost every question on manufactured home repair that we have ever heard. Not only does this book show you how to repair and maintain your home, but also great methods for upgrading it.

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Finance Your MH Renovation/Repair   There are many loan programs available to MH Owners. Secure the money you need to renovate, upgrade, or even expand your MH. One stop shopping. select your loan preferences and we will forward your request for loan information to as many as a dozen participating manufactured housing finance offices.

Skirting For The 21 Century Manufactured Home   System-1 is what skirting should be- 100% solid concrete. System-1 is not an imitation or a look alike – it is the original concrete skirting system that resists the elements from the summer heat of Texas to the harsh winters of Minnesota. System-1 is built to last and is designed to stay put for years of dependable service. Stop chasing your skirting down the street and look at just some of the benefits System-1 concrete skirting provides you.  

Manufactured Housing Yellow Pages / SERVICE COMPANIES   The Yellow Pages is an ever expanding data base that is growing into one of the richest resources in the world for locating and contacting companies that participate in, or offer services to, the manufactured housing industry.

The Mobile Home Expert   The business of installing and servicing manufactured homes is rapidly moving away from the world of the one pick-up, one jack, local set up and repair guys and into the world of certified tradesmen, and licensed contractors. The modern manufactured home is greeted with stiff compliance codes regulating construction, warranty and installation. As more and more local agencies get involved in the inspection of installations it gets more and more difficult to know what the rules of the game are, especially if your operating in more than one jurisdiction. Consult with R.T. Bonney, who has participated in all phases of the industry over the past 30 Years He can provide solutions for the modern problems of operating most types of manufactured housing business.

Floor Repair Info Kit   includes a 25 minute VHS video about repairing the floor in your manufactured home, and a booklet on floor repair. Price:$25.95 - Shipping & Handling:$3.90

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