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There’s a lot of electrical work that goes on in our ceilings. Light fixtures, fans, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – all of these devices often find a home above our heads. The trick for electrical contractors can lie in how to mount these products, given the broad array of ceiling conditions they can encounter.

Have a Tricky Fixture Installation? There’s a Box for That.

Chuck Ross
There’s a lot of electrical work that goes on in our ceilings. Light fixtures, fans, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – all of these devices often find a home above our heads. The trick for electrical contractors can lie in how to mount these products, given the broad array of ceiling conditions they can encounter. Fortunately, manufacturers have gotten creative with the range of fan and fixture boxes they’re now producing. Look closely, and there’s likely a box to suit any challenge a project can pose.

Here are just a few of the unique application conundrums contractors can face – and the boxes available to meet them:
  • Suspended ceilings are common to almost all commercial spaces. They offer plenty of room for wiring in the plenums above their ceiling panels, but how can fixtures get mounted without destroying panels in the process? Slotted T-box designs mount onto the metal ceiling grid, either at a cross point or along a straightaway, suspended with a drop wire from a structural member for added strength. Boxes also are available for mid-panel installations, again with drop-wire support, featuring room-side flanges for a neat appearance.
  • Cathedral and sloped ceilings provide a dramatic look but mounting fans and light fixtures in their peaks can be challenging. Angled boxes are available for both applications, with larger mounting surfaces to handle large-canopy fans.
  • Unknown final ceiling thicknesses can be an issue when fixtures are going to be installed before final ceiling design takes place. These units can be mounted to ceiling joists before the ceiling, itself, is installed. Easily accessible adjustment screws allow contractors to shift the box depth after ceiling installation – in some cases from ½-in. up to 1-1/2-in.
  • Outdoor locations, like porches and canopies, can leave equipment vulnerable to rain intrusion. Box manufacturers have met this challenge with raintight boxes that are completely sealed, with larger medallions to fit larger fan canopies. These products are useful anywhere a wet- or damp-rated fan might be used, including pool enclosures, outdoor kitchens and greenhouses and barns.

Photo courtesy of Arlington Industries, Inc.
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