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Thread: Electric box behind shower wall

  1. #1

    Default Electric box behind shower wall

    We are replacing the tile and backerboard around our shower. . .when we pulled the old gypsum board down, we realized that the back side of the outlet in one of the bedrooms is right behind the shower wall.

    I figure we have 3 options:

    1) leave it -- things were dry back there and will remain dry; we are also putting a vapor barrier over the studs to keep moisture from getting into the wall.
    2) remove the outlet and route the wires up over the top edge of the shower
    3) put a different type of box over the outlet; some type of waterproof box or maybe change it to a GFCI outlet?

    Thanks for any help or suggestions!

    There is a photo of it here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithx3/1395352032/

  2. #2
    G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states) Old Dog's Avatar
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    Smile Electric box...

    Looks like the plumber beat the electrician to the "punch" on rough in...(plumbers are quicker than most humans!LOL)
    Can't tell from the picture.Is the horizontal wire going to a box in the bathroom?If it is I would reroute it over the shower area.It's not agood idea to have it wrapped around the plumbing like that.
    I've seen boxes backing up into bathrooms like that from other rooms in most houses...

  3. #3
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    DO NOT do anything. You are assuming there is a problem where NONE exists.

    Why would you even think this area would get wet??? It is NO more likely to get wet than ANY part of an unfinished basement with plumbing pipes all over the place.

    Also, that wire around that pipe is fine too. It is obviously 1.5" back from the finish due to that nailer the tub is secured to.

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    You should get nailer plates over all the cables and pipes passing through studs.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default outlet

    The plumber is supposed to go in before the electrician for two reasons.
    1. The electrician can route his wires around the plumbing easier than the plumber can relocate vents around the wiring.
    2. Electricians ALWAYS install their wires so NO ONE else can put anything else in the wall. The must take a special course in Taking Up Space, otherwise they would not always run their lateral lines in the middle of the wall, or string overhead wires so they take up the maximum amount of space in the attics.

    If you do not have a leak in the shower, there is no problem with that outlet, and if you do have a leak, then the outlet will be the least of your problems.

  6. #6
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Jimbo, WHY? If they are the proper distance back from the edge why should he install nail plates?

    On HJ's comments:

    1) I totally agree.

    2) BULL SH*T! Find better electricians. Stop lambasting all electricians because of the few bozo you encounter.

  7. #7
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
    Jimbo, WHY? If they are the proper distance back from the edge why should he install nail plates?

    On HJ's comments:

    1) I totally agree.

    2) BULL SH*T! Find better electricians. Stop lambasting all electricians because of the few bozo you encounter.

    Absolutely brother!!!

  8. #8
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    1) leave it -- things were dry back there and will remain dry;

    DO NOT do anything. You are assuming there is a problem where NONE exists.

    I agree with these two statements

  9. #9

    Default Thanks for the advice!

    Ok, so I guess this isn't a big deal like I thought it might be; it just looked odd to see an electrical box behind a shower wall. . .but of course this is the first shower wall that I have ever opened up.

    Old Dog, you are correct, the horizontal wire is going to a box in the bathroom; it is an outlet that is just outside of the photo. Sounds like it is ok to leave the wire across the pipe as long as there is enough clearance behind the shower wall.

    Jimbo, what is the purpose of the nailer plates? Are you talking about something like the metal plate that is on the stud over on the right hand of the photo? Does it reinforce the stud?


    I appreciate all of the input (and humor); hopefully we will have the tile up this weekend.



    P.S. Speedy. . .yes, I think that it might get wet behind there. . .something about our first do-it-yourself tile job is making me a little bit nervous.
    Last edited by smithx3; 09-17-2007 at 09:19 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Nail plates

    My husband just explained to me what the nail plates are for. . .and he says "now they all will know that you are a CHICK!"


    And I may as well fess up that he said the electrical box was fine how it was. . .I was just second-guessing him. My apologies to him and all you husbands out there!

  11. #11
    G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states) Old Dog's Avatar
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    Default getting old ...

    I guess i'm just getting old...that wire by the plumbing is just sloppy "I DGAF" work and shouldn't be tolerated by anybody.I'm not picking on the sparky's because I see that work in all the trades.
    Just a sad commentary on our profession...
    Still think the remark I made about plumbers was funny as H***!

  12. #12
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dog
    I guess i'm just getting old...that wire by the plumbing is just sloppy
    How would you recommend the next receptacle be fed?

    Now matter whether you think of it sloppy or not it is compliant and in my opinion neat and workmanship like.

    Once a distance of one and a quater inch is mantained from the edge of the stud the cable can touch the wall board.
    The protection of the cable is for the fasteners that will be holding the wall board not for the protection of someone hanging something on the wall.

  13. #13
    G.C. 22+ years(in 3 states) Old Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric
    How would you recommend the next receptacle be fed?

    Now matter whether you think of it sloppy or not it is compliant and in my opinion neat and workmanship like.

    Once a distance of one and a quater inch is mantained from the edge of the stud the cable can touch the wall board.
    The protection of the cable is for the fasteners that will be holding the wall board not for the protection of someone hanging something on the wall.
    Thats why I asked where the wire was going.It wasn't feeding another receptacle in the other room.It was in the bathroom.I didn't say it was illegal,it just looks like a sloppy afterthought.BTW,unless that floor in the other room is 10" higher than the bathroom that receptacle is about 26" off the floor...

  14. #14

    Default I was wondering if anyone would notice something odd. . .

    You have a good eye, Old Dog! The bathtub is actually dropped into the floor; the lip of the tub is about 4" off of the ground, so that outlet is at normal height in the room next door. . .but if the tub were at normal height; yes that outlet would be awfully high!

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