Round junction box but needs to be rectangle? Now what...

catnip76November 24, 2009

Not sure if there is any way around this but I have a round junction box that we wired in the wires for 2 electric baseboard heaters and then a thermostat wire too. Now I come to find out that all line voltage thermostats are the small rectangular ones - not the old fashion round ones. Now what can I do??

I have been searching the internet high and low for a thermostat that is large enough to cover the round box (need 5 inches by 5 inches at least). I am even willing to buy those wall plates or cover plates that go behind your thermostats but I can't seem to find the right ones.

My electrician told me I need a 4 wire line voltage thermostat.

Anyone have any ideas of what I can do? I know - cut the drywall away and replace the box - but is there another way. It is all textured and painted already.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.


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Are you handy at all? If his were me, and I didn't want to replace the old box, I'd make a wall plate out of 1/8" plastic, or hardboard, or wood and paint it. I'd make it a size that was esthetically compatible with the thermostat, and round the edges on a router to make it look professional. If you're not handy, maybe you can have something made up for you by a friend who has a saw and a router.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 1:58PM
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Oh boy this is ugly. I don't know what I'd do in your case, other than remove the round boxes, install rectangular ones, and patch the drywall...

How would you feel about your thermostats being installed in "wiremold" boxes? The fairly tolerable-looking surface mount ones? You could get a blank round plate with a knockout hole in the center, attach a wiremold box to the front of it...

Paint the round plate, or start with one of the prepainted ones which don't usually have knockouts - just drill your own (somehow, scary as it might sound, I think it's even legal to add your own holes to electrical boxes and plates)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Thanks for the quick replies. I was hoping to avoid the patching and fixing the drywall so I may start with Kudzu9 suggestion first since I should be able to find something inexpensive or even free to start and try that...can't hurt.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Why can't you get a round junction box cover (plastic) and drill holes where you need them and mount the therm. on it also.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 8:55PM
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I found some surface-mount line-voltage thermostats at Grainger that look wide enough to hide a round junction box... but they're all fancy programmable ones and cost around $60...

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:34AM
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Whatever you cover the box with needs to be fire proof. In other words, not wood. Just get a piece of sheet metal, cut it to size for the box and mount the thermostat on that. You might even find that there is a cover plate already available that will fit that box. Shouldn't be too bad.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 5:26PM
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If the only thing in that box is low voltage thermostat wiring, I personally wouldn't worry about whether the cover plate was fireproof.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 1:08AM
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The OP said they have "4 wire LINE VOLTAGE thermostats". I would think that would have to be 240 volts. You are right though. If it is true that it's LOW VOLTAGE, then go ahead with the wood.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 9:16AM
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Ok since it isn't going anywhere...

First off, they make 2-wire 240V thermostats. Second, I've seen "4-wire" thermostats that didn't open both sides at the same time due to tolerance and overlap, so APPARENTLY it should be legal to tie one side always-closed and put a 2-wire stat on the other side.

Thus, I think the original poster wants This (130KB .pdf) or something similar. I'm just not convinced (s)he wants to spend sixty bucks a pop.

I'm sure SOMEONE makes a wide surface-mount line-voltage thermostat.

I've got another odd solution but it ain't pretty. (well, cosmetically it's fine, but it's extra parts)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 11:00AM
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It looks like you are right about there being regular wiring in there, too. I should have re-read the OP before responding.

By the way, do you know what the code says about wooden cover plates on regular boxes? I know that you can buy wooden switch and receptacle plates at the store, but I've never looked at them to see if they have a fireproof backing or if that is code required.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 2:28PM
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