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Old 12-11-2016, 11:59 AM   #1
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Old junction boxes


I am renovating an apartment in a high rise building built the 1970s. Electrical wires are passed from one location to another thru channels embedded in concrete. The wires come to the surface at several points throughout the apartment, where there are junction boxes that double up as outlets. These junction boxes / outlets are supported on 2 solid metal pipes that rise from the floor and are embedded in concrete.

The original construction is kinda shoddy, and these junction boxes are not aligned to the same height. Using a laser level, I can see they are off by more than an inch in some places, much more than can be compensated by moving the faceplates.

Any advice on how to adjust these junction boxes / outlets to the same height? Can they be replaced with something more modern? For example, is it possible to use regular electrical boxes mounted against a stud, and run the cables from the floor to the box in flexible electrical conduit?

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Old 12-11-2016, 12:26 PM   #2
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Re: Old junction boxes


A pic of typical box would help. Surface mounted or in wall?

You may have an issue posting a pic since it's your first time. Welcome!

Just reply 'ok, I will' to get another post. Then try a pic if you can.

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Last edited by diyorpay; 12-11-2016 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 12-11-2016, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: Old junction boxes


Is that "one inch" really important enough to justify all this work
to make them all the same level ?
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Old 12-11-2016, 04:12 PM   #4
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Re: Old junction boxes


ok, I will
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Old 12-11-2016, 04:13 PM   #5
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Re: Old junction boxes


Leave them alone. Conduit embedded in concrete is not something you want to be moving.
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Old 12-11-2016, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: Old junction boxes


@dmxtothemax : Different people have different ideas what "quality construction" means. To each his own.
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Old 12-11-2016, 04:23 PM   #7
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Re: Old junction boxes


@joed : It's about adjusting the height of the pipes that stick out above the concrete. The location stays the same.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: Old junction boxes


You said
Quote:
thru channels embedded in concrete.
Now you are implying that the conduit may be surface mounted and not embedded. Surface mounted should be easy to adjust after you pull out the wires.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:57 PM   #9
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Re: Old junction boxes


This appears to be one of those " A picture is worth a thousand words". subjects.

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Old 12-11-2016, 09:10 PM   #10
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Re: Old junction boxes


I don't have a clear image, but here is what I can show you:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0...DRwV1prT0piWGc

As you can see, there are 3 pipes sticking out of the concrete and ending in a junction box / electrical box..

The question is about changing the height of the top box.
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Old 12-11-2016, 11:19 PM   #11
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Re: Old junction boxes


By how much do you want to move the outlets ?
If it is only a small distance ?
Then some sort of spacer or coupling can be used.

Last edited by dmxtothemax; 12-11-2016 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:44 AM   #12
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Re: Old junction boxes


If the conduit itself is threaded then you're dealing with rigid and there is no way you'll be able to cut them back and re-thread them when they're so close together. The only option I see is to add a coupling and a chase nipple or close nipple to extend the short ones and then they may be longer than the long ones so you'd have to extend all of them to get them the same height. You don't have a lot of leeway (because the threads are tapered), unless you 'cheat'. Just a real pain.

If it's EMT (there will be a separate connector at the box) then it's easy peasy.

Last edited by Dog5; 12-12-2016 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:58 PM   #13
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Re: Old junction boxes


What you have described and what the picture shows is this apartment is on a concrete slab and the conduits are run in the slab and stubbed up for boxes.
This is very common in high rise construction.
The picture looks a lot older than 70's.

The only way to lower or raise one of these boxes is to open the wall.
Disconnect all the wires.
Loosen the set screws on the conduit connectors and remove the box.
Then very carefully using a pipe cutting tool remove as much as you need. Careful not to nick the wires.
Re-assemble.
Someone mentioned ridged conduit above. While its possible, its not likely in this type of construction.
Should it be ridged conduit, you can cut this too. The same way and buy threadless ridged conduit connectors.

IMO I would leave it as is. This is not an easy job unless the walls are down and you have full access to the boxes and the conduits.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:20 PM   #14
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Re: Old junction boxes


You have to be careful about those visitors that comment on electrical boxes. Especially those that bring a lazer level with them.
:-)
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: Old junction boxes


Yes, you would be able to use flex to obtain the height you want, as long as you don't splice the wires within the conduits.

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