Old Work Box for 5 lb Fixture

Jerramundi

Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Just a simple product question...

Is anyone aware of a relatively cheap "old work" box for use in between ceiling joists that is NOT a full on fan/fixture support box (e.g. Raco #936)?? Just trying to support a 5 lb. fixture without having to (1) spend $15+ on the box and/or (2) cut the ceiling.

Thanks
 

PaulMmn

Senior Member
Location
Union, KY, USA
But won't the homeowner look at that nice lamp location and say, "Gee-- I'll bet that would look better if it were a fan-light!"? A little spackle, and the box'll hold a ton!

I think there are some fan boxes that are designed to snake up through the hole for the box and screw into the joists without a lot of ceiling repairs! I remember one that had/has a hex rod that you turn to expand the ends into the joists. I think Arlington makes one...
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Old work round boxes are not designed for light fixtures. You need to use a fan style bar box that goes between the joist unless you get lucky and hit a ceiling joist.
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
Just a simple product question...

Is anyone aware of a relatively cheap "old work" box for use in between ceiling joists that is NOT a full on fan/fixture support box (e.g. Raco #936)?? Just trying to support a 5 lb. fixture without having to (1) spend $15+ on the box and/or (2) cut the ceiling.

Thanks
Still probably overkill for what you want but it's $9.98:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-15-3-cu-in-Remodel-Construction-Ceiling-Fan-Brace-with-1-1-2-in-Box-CMB150-OB/205383178?MERCH=REC-_-pipsem-_-206438925-_-205383178-_-N
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Rob there must be a caveat to the 20 lbs as there is no way that is rated 20 lbs on sheetrock. Around here the only thing we can use an old work box on is as a jb or to hang a smoke detector
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
This is the Raco 936 that the OP mentioned in his original post that he didn't want to use, for all of you who said 'Hey I know, use this!" :lol:

https://www.hubbell.com/raco/en/Products/Electrical-Electronic/Boxes/Ceiling-Boxes-Covers/936/p/1670452

Same thing, different manufacturers. :happyyes:

I actually don't see what the problem is with using any of those. They install through the 4" diameter hole so no patching. You can do chin-ups off them so you are safe with supporting any fixture. That's all I ever used.

I wouldn't use a cut-in or old work box for anything except a smoke alarm.

-Hal
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I have used them several times for light weight pendant lights over peninsulas where they never know where they want them until after the cabinets are installed. Says right on it listed for 20# fixture support (maybe that's on a wall). Not sure what the limitations are but I would not hesitate to use it on a 5# fixture.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
When I have jobs that require ceiling boxes, I make every hole, make a list of box types, then go shopping.

You never know whether you're under a joist, next to a joist, or between joists until you make your holes.
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Rob, where are you getting the 20lb rating? The UL limit of an old work box is 6lbs.

On the Legrand web site FAQ states the following:
The C118WAC is not rated for Luminaire support. It is Suitable for in-ceiling use for supporting weights up to up to 6 lbs.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Rob, where are you getting the 20lb rating? The UL limit of an old work box is 6lbs.

On the Legrand web site FAQ states the following:
The C118WAC is not rated for Luminaire support. It is Suitable for in-ceiling use for supporting weights up to up to 6 lbs.
Look at the photo on post #6, it clearly states inside the box that it's rated for fixture support up to 20 pounds.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
Look at the photo on post #6, it clearly states inside the box that it's rated for fixture support up to 20 pounds.
I saw that, but like some other old work boxes I assumed the rating was when the old work box was screwed and mounted into OSB or plywood with the predrilled holes.
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Look at the photo on post #6, it clearly states inside the box that it's rated for fixture support up to 20 pounds.
My eyes are not that good but after putting on my glasses I see what you are seeing.

The UL White Book and Legrand web site disagree with what is printed on the box.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
The UL White Book and Legrand web site disagree with what is printed on the box.
Suitable for in-ceiling use for supporting weights up to up to 6 lbs.

Perhaps it should say "For support of 20 lb fixture or product when installed in a suitable substrate." There is no mention at all about how the material it's mounted to affects the load capacity. Suppose you had a 3/8" sheetrock ceiling? Or maybe ceiling tile?

So I can only suspect that they are being very dishonest or, more likely, saying that only the box itself will support 20 lbs.

-Hal
 
Last edited:

MAC702

Senior Member
Location
Clark County, NV
Yes, the BOX will hold at least 20 pounds. When the sheetrock fails, the box will still be securely fastened to the fixture as it falls on your head. The substrate doesn't just need to hold the fixture weight. It also must be able to deal with normal handling like lamp replacement, and even a measure of mishandling, like being hit with a ladder, or kids playing with it. You can't plan for everything, but you can cover a much greater degree with not much more cost and time.

I'd call the point moot. For the extra $10, I'd install the old-work bracket/bar fan-rated box for all small ceiling jobs that didn't line up with a joist. Then, a pancake or saddle work fine.
 

Jerramundi

Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Old work round boxes are not designed for light fixtures. You need to use a fan style bar box that goes between the joist unless you get lucky and hit a ceiling joist.
Unfortunately that's what I was thinking Dennis - that I would have to use a fan style box unless I get lucky and hit a joist. I'm in between joists and am tempted to use a Raco #500 Gangable Box since it's an extremely light fixture... but the better part of me knows better. I was just wondering if maybe some more experienced fellers knew of a product I was unaware of.
 

Jerramundi

Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Still probably overkill for what you want but it's $9.98:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...-205383178-_-N
Thank you Synchro. This Commercial Electric product is actually $5.00 cheaper than the Raco version I was looking at.

I'm w/ you on feeling like a fan box is "overkill" for a 5 lb. fixture, which is precisely why I posted this question... but as far as I can tell, it's the ONLY appropriate option for a "fixture rated" box unless I get lucky and hit a joist... because then a simple square to round ring on a 1900 box or an 8b box is fixture rated as long as the fixture is under 50 lbs.

In between joists however, in which cutting the ceiling and/or installing a wood brace is impractical, it seems I'm stuck using a fan-rated box such as this.
 
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