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When I first saw one of the plastic bubble monstrosities required for “in use” receptacle covers, I thought the idea was sound, but the execution awful. Today there are a few more models to choose from and some are even more tasteful, but most of them still stick out of the side of a house like a sore thumb.

That’s where TayMac’s flat in use cover comes in. It’s made from heavy duty polycarbonate and expands from a flush 1″ to 3-1/2″ thanks to its synthetic neoprene rubber accordion-like structure. Supposedly the materials won’t dry rot, crack or deteriorate in sunlight and are paintable.

TayMac calls this box an “in use cover” and says it’s ETL listed, yet they specially don’t mention whether it’s weatherproof or meets the 406.8(B) NEC code; although Ace claims the box is 2008 NEC compliant. So here’s the question: can you actually use this box to meet code? Maybe somebody can straighten me out in the comments.

TayMac’s flat in use cover will run you somewhere around $9. Also, when I was researching this item I found a cool resource where you can download the various building codes by state. Use the last link in the post to visit the site.

Flat In Use Cover [TayMac]
Flat In Use Cover [Ace Hardware]
Public Codes

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8 Responses to Get Rid Of Those Giant Ugly “In Use” Covers

  1. Bill says:

    I picked up one at my local big box store a couple of months ago and love it. Granted, I’m not exactly using it for it’s designed purpose. I’ve found that it does a great job of protecting the cable TV outlet and cable next to my dog’s bed 😉

  2. David Bryan says:

    I like the idea but I’m not that crazy about covers like this that you can’t see through. You can find all kinds of surprises around the outside of your house.

  3. JASON says:

    I passed inspection in OR, but the guy didn’t look too close at that part of the project.

  4. Bill says:

    They’re ok in a verticle orientation. If mounted horizontally it looks to me like water can enter from the side.

  5. misterx says:

    These are good covers, I have used quite a few of them. Another option is Arlington. They make a couple devices (mainly for new construction I believe) where you have a cover flush with the exterior wall and the receptacle is resessed inside.

  6. David Bryan says:

    Bill, the cover in the illustration is the vertical cover. They have a different horizontal/vertical cover. Benjamen, it’s good to see people looking carefully at these kinds of things, and it’s interesting that they don’t mention Code compliance, but I wouldn’t worry too much about these covers not being specifically referred to as weatherproof; I don’t think they refer to any of their covers specifically as being weatherproof, and “in use” is generally just a shorter way of saying “weatherproof while in use”. Their catalog description says “Revolutionary Patented Design Expands From 1″ to 3-1/2″ to Meet Your While-In-Use Needs”. I’d be unlikely to use them myself, because I think opaque in-use covers draw spiders and wasps, but depending on the local AHJ, they’d probably be all right, Code-wise.

  7. Brad Justinen says:

    What’s with the one-a-day posts?

  8. mr. man says:

    This Hubbell retrofit offers a few options over the standard builder supplied cover but its still big and bulky.

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414RB9Z1CYL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

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