What to Look for When Selecting a Supply Box

Supply boxes provide a nice finished appearance and easy access to water shutoff valves for customers, but as the installer, there are factors you’ll want to consider in order to choose the right option

What to Look for When Selecting a Supply Box

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There are many benefits to including supply boxes in new construction or a renovation — a crisp and clean finished appearance or quick and safe access to water shutoff valves in case of emergency.

But while supply boxes are certainly beneficial in those ways to the home or building owner, factors like installation time and simplicity are the major considerations for plumbers. With many options available on the market today, here is what you’ll want to consider when selecting supply boxes for your next residential or commercial project. 

1. Water supply and drainage configuration

When selecting a supply box, determine if there are any restrictions that would create issues for your application (e.g., pipe material, pipe location, wall-cavity space). Some outlet boxes support a wide range of connections, based on pipe material, but not every supply box will be compatible with the layout. 

For example, if water will be supplied from above, pick a box that can be installed inverted and have space to accommodate the water supply valves from above and drainage at the bottom.

Along with the water supply, consider how and where the supply box will drain. If you need an arrangement that can accommodate additional drainage, such as a condensate line, consider a supply box with extra options for drainage. 

For example, when installing a washing machine outlet box, opt for a versatile box to support varying drainage and supply configurations. One example is Oatey’s Quadtro Washing Machine Outlet Box that allows the valves to be moved in support of layouts that require the drains to be left, right or center positioning of the drain pipe, or even come from above.

2. Structural considerations

Aside from the plumbing configuration, the structural configuration of the installation space may need to be taken into account. Selecting a universal single-box supply box will allow maximum versatility and installation simplicity on the job site.

The Oatey MODA Supply Box System is a modular, universal supply box solution. The modular design of MODA boxes allows you to add outlet boxes in whatever configuration works best for your project, including straddling the studs with the water supply on one side and drainage on the other, or even separate walls.

The system is available in standard and fire-rated options for washing machine, ice maker, lavatory, toilet or dishwasher, gas, kitchen and Sure Vent AAV applications. Standard options are available for single washing machine and secondary drain applications. Imagine the ease of designing all the lavatory or toilet supply boxes in a commercial building, using a universal single box platform. 

MODA Supply Box installations involve a solid, simple box connection method: Interlocking wing-flanges accommodate on-stud, straddle-stud and three-box installations. The system’s snap locking system provides strength while allowing for easy disassembly and numerous install options: side by side, over and under, inverted valve and separate wall. 

Here are six examples of different types of washing machine installations and options MODA offers from a layout perspective:

3. Streamlining installation

On conventional plumbing installations involving lavatory, toilet and sink applications, you would stub out the rough-in coming out of the wall, capping that line off with a 4- or 5-inch copper stub-out. Once a successful pressure test confirms there are no leaks, you return to cut off the cap and attach the proper compression valve trim for an eventual hookup to the toilet or sink. 

But consider a supply box option that allows you to skip that interim step with the copper stub-out.

With a MODA supply box you can simply rough-in the box during the initial step, including the compression valve itself. As plumbing contractor Mike Corsillo notes: “The time savings may amount to only 15 to 20 minutes per supply box.” But extrapolated across an entire commercial project, the time- and cost-savings numbers are eye-opening.

In commercial buildings with multiple floors and restrooms all above each other, MODA will reduce waste and streamline materials for developers and owners.

“The MODA Supply Box is a single unit that eliminates components and is a one-time installation. It makes it very easy. We are always looking for ways to streamline our materials,” says Corsillo, “and this product aligns with that goal.” 

4. Complementing design

Closely consider and leverage the look and feel of plumbing supply boxes. Historically, these items have not served users from a design perspective. Until now. 

Opt for a system that has the same footprint, no matter the application. Whether the job involves washing machines, ice makers, lavatories, a kitchen sink, a dishwasher, or a toilet, MODA offers a consistent look across the entire building or home. 

One universal faceplate with a white finish is compatible with all box types, offering a clean, compact look that would fit into whatever design it's applied to. That means you have the flexibility to repaint or even use wallpaper to match any design, such was the case at the 591-room Grand Hyatt Nashville hotel project

Mechanical contractor Lee Company recommended to the building team of Clark Construction and Bell Associates that the MODA Supply Box System be used for the plumbing connections at the water closet and at the lavatory's hot-and cold-water supply lines in all hotel guest rooms. The owner and the general contractor recognized the boxes' value from a mechanical standpoint, but they did have important aesthetic objections. 

Specifically, the white finish of the boxes' universal faceplates did not match the "Agreeable Gray" of the nearby HVAC return-air grille. Without a color match, there could be no approval of the MODA boxes. Fortunately, you can tailor the MODA Modular Supply Box System to any design aesthetic. Local sales agent Jim McClain of Wm. McClain & Company, which has represented Oatey products in Nashville since 1964, agreed to repaint the faceplates one-by-one to get the job done. McClain quickly moved to create an impromptu paint shop within his 15,000-square-foot warehouse facility. 

With the help from Oatey Southeast Regional Sales Manager Matt Foraker and local distributor Kenny Pipe & Supply, McClain's team prepped, painted and repackaged 600 MODA faceplates within a mere 12 hours.

You might be thinking: “Exposed valves don’t complement design." But MODA has faceplate inserts, offering a way to hide the valves, so the box does not disrupt your design. 

MODA offers three inserts that snap into the standard faceplate — partial coverage, full coverage and louvered. The great thing is, if you don't want guests or owners to see the inserts, you can paint or even wallpaper over them.

In keeping the above considerations in mind, you can ensure that you streamline your connections and reduce installation time, while also offering the end-user a clean, design-forward, finished appearance, as well as quick and safe access to water shutoff valves.

About the Author

Jeremy Gattozzi is a product manager at Oatey Company, with expertise across a range of rough plumbing products and applications. He is responsible for product research and the delivery of innovative solutions to serve customers' evolving needs.


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