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The Importance of Electrical Cover Plates


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Prevent Electrical Hazards by Covering Switches and Outlets – One great safety measure is to simply replace an switch or outlet cover to avoid the exposure of electrical wiring and to keep fingers from coming into contact with energized parts.

Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Electricity

Electrical Safety Question: There is no switch plate over the light switch in bathroom and screws are removed from actual switch. Last night I tried to turn the switch on and  it sparked and power in bathroom, the hallway, and half of bedroom went out. My husband attempted to flip the switch back over in circuit box, but it remained in the middle position, he then proceeded to switch off EVERY Switch within the Circuit box, and apparently he forced over the THROWN switch, he heard a hum and or buzz sound.
Now we have no power within the house, EXCEPT for, Central Heating and Cooling, Stove, Washer and dryer all 240 volt.
What is the issue? How do rectify?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your Electrical Safety Question MEL.
Background: MEL, a Homeowner from Spartanburg, SC

Prevent Electrical Hazards by Covering Switches and Outlets
I believe you have described the problem in your question, as follows:

The Following  will assist you with your Electrical Safety Question:

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2 Responses to “The Importance of Electrical Cover Plates”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Generally a little paint or sheet rock texture is not going to hurt the electrical wiring. However it helps to either cover the opening with masking tape or insert some wadded up newspaper to keep the sheet rock texture out of the box. If the room will be totally re-textured and painted then you may consider turning off the circuit and removing the switches and outlets and filling the electrical boxes with the wadded up newspaper to cover the wiring. This way a wide sheet rock trowel can create a smooth flat surface where the cover plates will be installed, which will allow the cover plates to fit nicely against the wall. Allow the sheet rock compound to dry then gently break away any excess compound. Remove the newspaper after painting then reinstall the switches, outlets and cover plates.
    I hope this helps!
    Dave

  2. Sandi says:

    I have recently removed switch cover plates to remove wallpaper and in my kitchen. Do I need to clean around wiring before replacing the covers after we have textured and painted the room? If so, how do I need to do this? I do realize I need to cut off the power first.