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mcvane 01-04-2009 04:42 PM

code compliance/junction box advice
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Hi There.

We have a junction box in our basement furnace room (I believe that is what is called - the circle that is mounted in the joists and may sometimes have a light fixture hanging from it).

Basically, I have included what the junction box had, and according to this configuration, I would like to ADD the one that says "For possible link to light switch."

We moved into this home recently, and already, there were 4 black wires (hots) and 4 white wires (neutrals) joined in order to get
-the source power,
-the 2 receptacles and
-the light pull switch

I figured it would be nice to setup a light switch so that I can more easily turn on the light from a switch rather than the pull cable. I think I would need to run cable OUT of the junction box to the switch (on the wall) and then run cable INTO the junction box to be able to switch the light on and off. I've only shown the one cable going out of the box in my picture.

Obviously, there are going to be a lot of cables in this box if I plan on doing this! I'm in Ontario, Canada, and I am wondering if anyone knows if this is to code to have more than 4 wires going in or out of a junction box? Theoretically, there is room to squeeze wires on other sides, but there are typically only 4 holes to slip wires into.

Also, in this case, I will need to separate the light fixtures' hot/neutral cables and join them with separate romex screws (? is this the term?), to allow the switch to turn it off/on. Is this allowed to be done within a junction box? With this scenerio, there would be 4 of the romex screws covering the ends of the wires.

Any insight/advice would be appreciated.


220/221 01-04-2009 05:21 PM

It's easier done than said :)

Is the box big enough? I don't know, I can't see it. Could I make it work? Yes, but that's what I do.

Run a two wire cable from the ceiling box to the switch box.

At the ceiling box, attach the white wire to the blacks.This sends the power down to the switch.

Install a short pigtail on the whites, It may already be present from the old fixture. This is your neutral connection for the light.

The black wire from the sw box goes to the hot wire/terminal of your fixture.

At the sw box, two wires, two terminals on the switch.

PS. Identify the white hots with black tape.

That is how it's done in the US. Is Canada different?????

Steelhead 01-04-2009 05:42 PM

If all the wires in this box, except the fixture wires, are 12 AWG then the conduct fill would be 20.25 cubic inches. I guess it depends on the size wire and the size of the box, but you could run into a box fill violation (in the U.S anyway) Am I correct 220/221?

kbsparky 01-04-2009 06:43 PM

If your box appears to be too full for comfort, then you can utilize an extension ring to give you more room:

darren 01-04-2009 07:29 PM


Originally Posted by 220/221 (Post 206915)
Identify the white hots with black tape.

That is how it's done in the US. Is Canada different?????

That is how it is done up here, i always say back on black so that way your light fixture always has a black hot and white neutral and not two whites. You should colour the white black but i never do.

In my opinion if you see a white on a switch or white tied on with a group of blacks and you don't know that is your constant hot you should not being doing electrical work.

handyman78 01-04-2009 09:39 PM

I like to keep a wide tip black Sharpie for those instances where I want to make a white wire a switch leg or "black wire". A few swipes along the white sheath does the trick for me.

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