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Old 06-12-2008, 08:18 AM   #1
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buried junction box


Ok, so I am having a contractor install my electric skylights in my roof while he was installing my new roof.

Inside the area in question, vaulted ceiling with tongue/groove pine, nailes to the rafters...this is a retrofit, not new construction.

In order to wire them, we have to run the wires at the ridge, under the ridevent/roof cap.....which I assumed would have to be done and which every contractor I had out during the estimate phase said they would do.

Which I am OK with....

However, the contractor I am using now is insisting that he needs to install a junction box in the middle of the 3 skylights at the ridge and then run a single line to the adjoining attic space where I installed a junction box for this purpose. I had assumed he would run all 3 wires (14-3 romex) to the j box I installed.

He says pulling the 3 wires to the attic will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to get to the attic versus one.

I know that buried j-boxes (which is what his will be once the roof cap is put on) are against code.

He had me convinced that it would be OK but now after thinking about it again I am concerned.....He has a 3 year guarantee on his work, so as long as he stays in business I guess I am ok, but after that I would be screwed if the connections there would fail.

He is planning in using crimp-on bands that have plastic caps ...not just screw on wire-nuts....will this be any better?

Is it actually DANGEROUS to do the buried j box or is it just a code and convenience thing?

Taking down the ceiling inside is not an option.

I dont want to come across like I am telling him how to do his job...after all he is the contractor here.

Is doing this extra junction box a severe issue or shoudl I let it slide? He is supposed to be over this afternoon to do it.

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Old 06-12-2008, 08:49 AM   #2
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You're right. You can't bury a junction box in the roof. You have to be able to access it should you ever need to. He should know better.

Although you may not want to look at it, why not have him place it face down in the ceiling and put a blank plastic cover plate on it?

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Old 06-12-2008, 08:50 AM   #3
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Is there a permit for this job? If so, then there will be an inspection and the jbox will fail the inspection if it is not accessable. If there is no permit, then WHY?!?!?!?

It is absolutly against code to have a jbox that is not accessable for any reason.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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The inside ceiling is a cathedral type, tongue-n-groove pine......it cannot be removed without damaging it....and if a piece is damaged , while it could be replaced with new wood, the celining is finished in a manner that it would never match.....

Plus, not much room working at the ridge vent......
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:55 AM   #5
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If he can pull one wire, he can pull three. Do not let him install an inaccessible junction box.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadango View Post
The inside ceiling is a cathedral type, tongue-n-groove pine......it cannot be removed without damaging it....and if a piece is damaged , while it could be replaced with new wood, the celining is finished in a manner that it would never match.....

Plus, not much room working at the ridge vent......
That should not be an excuse for creating an unsafe situation.

Sometimes things just can't be done, cheap anyways...
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:21 AM   #7
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Can you tell me what is unsafe about it?

I know its against code.

But by the same token, I have lots of j-boxes in my house and (knock wood) never any issues....

Could I just take a picture of the j box he is installing so I know where it is for any future issues? In theory at least just that part of the roof ridge vent could be removed later to access it if needed.....

What are the chances that it would ever be needed?

Work permit -- well, there is supposed to be, and the city is aware of the situation......there have been a series of issues on both the contractor and city side......so no, at this time there isnt....the city is aware of it though and doesnt seem too worried....thats anothwer fiasco that I am very frustrated with...my tax dollars at work.

The guy will be using crimp on type nuts.....folks seem to think they are almost 100% reliable.

Code aside for a moment, anything inherently dangerous about the way this guy want to do it?

I am so confused.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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I know its against code.
That's all that needs to be said. None of the professionals on this site are going to say it's OK, or provide justification for you. It's against code and that should be the end of the discussion.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadango View Post
The guy will be using crimp on type nuts.....folks seem to think they are almost 100% reliable.
Are you referring to those crimp caps that you put the wires in and then crimp the narrow part of the insulating shell? I found some in my house and I must admit that I had never seen them used for general residential wiring (you do see them used often in light fixtures). I found a package that I had laying around while cleaning my shop the other day that I've used in the past for some hobby and low-voltage lighting uses. According to the package, they seem perfectly legal and the package mentions "good for applications that will be subject to vibration." The ones that I have are listed for voltages up to 600V. Strange and somewhat uncommon (as far as my limited experience) but OK otherwise as far as I can tell.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:41 AM   #10
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The idea behind the code requirement is accessibility in the event of an emergency or in case of the need for service.

It is against code. Code is written to mitigate hazards. We'd be irresponsible to sit here and help you feel better about letting your contractor lazily install the box and wiring this way.

If he has a permit for this job, it should get turned down if done this way. If he resists getting a permit, it is because he knows his electrical work is sub-par, and that should lead you to question his methods, as you were.

Last edited by Termite; 06-12-2008 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
That's all that needs to be said. None of the professionals on this site are going to say it's OK, or provide justification for you. It's against code and that should be the end of the discussion.
And what happens when a wire comes loose inside that hidden box, or you must access it for some reason down the road. Like you said 'It's against the code". Is that not enough for you. We have rules and codes and they are for specific reasons. This reason is quite obvious.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
That's all that needs to be said. None of the professionals on this site are going to say it's OK, or provide justification for you. It's against code and that should be the end of the discussion.
Hell, Im not even a professional and I will not in any way condone it.
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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
The idea behind the code requirement is accessibility in the event of an emergency or in case of the need for service.

It is against code. Code is written to mitigate hazards. We'd be irresponsible to sit here and help you feel better about letting your contractor lazily install the box and wiring this way.

If he has a permit for this job, it should get turned down if done this way. If he resists getting a permit, it is because he knows his electrical work is sub-par, and that should lead you to question his methods, as you were.
ANY contractor that refuses to get a permit for ANY job that requires one should NEVER BE HIRED.

Seriously, are you willing to sleep in that house every night with your kids down the hall knowing that it wasn't done right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by shadango View Post
Can you tell me what is unsafe about it?
If a wire ever comes loose and starts arcing, first its going to be a ***** to troubleshoot. Not to mention arcing is one of the biggest fire hazzards.

The guy will be using crimp on type nuts.....folks seem to think they are almost 100% reliable.

And the titanic was unsinkable.
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Last edited by CowboyAndy; 06-12-2008 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:53 AM   #13
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LOL Please don't kill the messenger. I am not trying to upset anyone here. I apporeciate the advice.

I am very much, at this point, in a situation...and am pretty distraught over it to be honest.

I have a half-done project so ticking off the contractor wont be a good idea by questioning his methods.....but yes, I do recognize that "against code" means just what it says.

What I was looking for is the reasoning behind why it is against code.

There has to be a reason if there is a code/law against it...since I am not an electrician, I am asking the questions to try and figure this situation out.

If it is just "against code" becaise it is inconvenient for future owners, well, i will probably die in this house so I am not too concerned about that honestly.

But , yes, I am concerned about there being an issue later on down the road (ie the circuit stops working)........worst case is that I would take a picture and know where it is...then if there are issues, a piece of the ridge vent would have to be removed to get to it...a pain, yes, but not completely inaccessible I guess.

I was more asking if doing it this way presents any major HAZARD......the arcing thing is true.....arcing wires are a fire hazard. ....but that would be a hazzard whether the box was accessible or not.....and I wouldnt know about a loose wire until I started having either an issue with the skylight or a fire.....no one goes around checking for loose electrical connections in accessible junction boxes pre-emptively...at least no one I know....so it would be an after the fact kind of thing. So whether the box is accessible or not I dont think makes it inherently hazardous.......what I am asking is more about the mechanics of it as far as being a hazard, I guess.....does that make sense?

BTW, just talked to the building inspector and all is well on that front....permit has been taken care of ......he did say that an electrical inspection is another guy and another fee if needed....he didnt seem to push one way or the other....

Last edited by shadango; 06-12-2008 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
The idea behind the code requirement is accessibility in the event of an emergency or in case of the need for service.
Thanks....that is what I was looking for.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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I sure am sorry to hear that you're reluctant to be an advocate for yourself with the contractor that you're paying to work for you! There is nothing wrong with questioning his methods and asking that something be installed in compliance with a minimum standard. Doesn't mean that there has to be a fight or confrontation. You're the customer, and you should be treated like it.

In the event of an arc, a circuit overload due to breaker malfunction, rodent damage, or a dozen other scenarios, you (or emergency personnel) may someday need to get into that box in a real hurry.

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