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Old 10-08-2008, 08:53 PM   #1
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


Hi experts,

I am currenty in the process of finishing renovating my laundry room. I did notice a receptacle stuck to a stud. I wanted to know if you are supposed to insulate around it and include a vapour barrier taped to/around the box. If so how would you go about properly taping the vb to the box? Does the same apply to a 4 prong dryer outlet?

Thanks a lot for assisting.

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Old 10-08-2008, 09:50 PM   #2
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


So you have a vapor barrier and you're wanting to seal the gaps created where you've cut out holes for receptacles, switches, etc? You can use any vapor barrier tape to secure the vapor barrier to the outside of the box. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it.

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Old 10-09-2008, 12:57 AM   #3
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


Agreed with KC. Common practice is just to cut the insulation/vapor barrier as close around the receptacle/switch boxes as possible.

Make sure you insulate behind the boxs though. If you're using fiber batts with the vapor barrier attached, it's tempting to cut the whole thing around the box; you should leave about half the thickness of insulation (or enough so that it fills the void w/o being compressed) behind the box. Compressed fiber insulation doesn't perform well. Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir.. Just wanted to put that out there.

Last edited by ScottR; 10-09-2008 at 12:59 AM. Reason: Missed part of OP's question..
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:06 AM   #4
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


Ok, thanks for the replies guys.

So you would stuff the insulation behind the box but not to the point of suffocating it (fits behind it with a gap). And when putting a vapour barrier around the receptacle, you suggest to only tape it to the outside of the box? I want to make sure that I get this right before I start the drywalling.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:51 AM   #5
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


I'd never go to the trouble to tape the vapor barrier to the electric box, personally. It is ridiculous overkill in my opinion. Insulating (as described) behind the box is much more critical. If you decide to tape, just don't put tape inside the electric box or over the face of the box.

If air infiltration is your concern, they sell nifty little foam gaskets that go under your cover plates. That would be easier and would do the same thing.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:07 PM   #6
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


So just insulating behind the receptacle is more than sufficient. Ok, no problem, that seems easy enough.

I was originally told that the receptacles could provide an avenue for cold air to come inside the house.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:30 PM   #7
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


Quote:
I was originally told that the receptacles could provide an avenue for cold air to come inside the house.
You were told correctly.. It will be more of an issue in an older home with board sheathing and older siding (and no house wrap). If you insulate behind and all around, that will stop most air.

It can't hurt to really tighten it up, but if you do use tape, like KC said, keep it out of the box, and use a long-lasting tape (NOT duct tape).

This brings up an interesting question -- the ideal tape to use would probably be foil tape (the "real" duct tape). But I wouldn't attach foil tape to a metal electrical box. If there's a fault and the box becomes hot, who knows what else may be connected? Maybe glue the poly to the outside of the box if you're intent on sealing it.. Dunno how you'd get in there tho..
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Receptacle and Vapor Barrier/Retardant?


Another "fix" would be to shoot great stuff in the wall behind the box...not in the box itself. I lived in a place that had no insulation behind the outlet box and the exterior wall...OMG was it cold. I did this on each one and it was better immediately.

BUT, BUT, BUT. Know that if there ever needs to be servicing of the wires going into or out of that box, they are effectively glued in place and that will have to be dealt with at that time. Depending on the volume of foam...it could be a real PITA. Does if seal the box? Sure. Can it create a heck of a mess? Yes.

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