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Old 11-07-2012, 02:54 PM   #1
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


I am replacing flush mounted ceiling lights with recessed lights. The old romex is about 3 inches too short to put the new cans where I want them, and I am trying to avoid having to pull new romex. It is a finished ceiling and i have no attic access. The idea I came up with is to install a junction box in the ceiling so I can splice in longer romex. The junction box would be about 6 inches from the hole I will cut in the drywall for the recessed light. If I can see the jbox through the hole and screw the cover on and off by sticking my hand in the hole, is the jbox "accessible"? I would rather not have to have the jbox come through the ceiling and be visible from below. Thank you.

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Old 11-07-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Yes, you can do that.

This is actually very common in commercial settings. It makes troubleshooting a big pain in the ass, but it's a necessary evil.

I've worked in large shopping malls in which this was done all over the place. What we have always done, and has been approved by the inspectors every time, is to leave the cables long enough to pull the junction box down out of the hole so it could be worked on with ease. Afterwards, you neatly tuck the JB up into the ceiling. Sure, the JB isn't mounted to anything, but this is a trade-up in order to make it easier to work in the box.

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Old 11-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #3
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Thanks for the quick reply.

There would not be enough cable to pull the junction box out of the ceiling. Is that a dealbreaker? I planned on attaching the jbox to the ceiling joists a few inches away from the hole be because the old cable is too short to pull out of the hole.
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


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Thanks for the quick reply.

There would not be enough cable to pull the junction box out of the ceiling. Is that a dealbreaker? I planned on attaching the jbox to the ceiling joists a few inches away from the hole be because the old cable is too short to pull out of the hole.
Ultimately, it's up to your inspector.

A hard to find junction box is not a safety issue, it's a convenience/design issue which the NEC is not supposed to be regulating. If you're not getting an inspection, just go ahead and do it.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #5
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Agreed, it's up to the inspector. I would not allow it. How could you possibly make or break connections with just one hand? . Dual's example allowed the box to be worked on with both hands by not fastening it.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Let me clarify my reply to Dual: the conductors inside the box are long enough to pull out of the hole, but but the box itself and the romex leading into it cannot come out of the hole. So a person could use two hands to make connections. Would that be sufficiently accessible?

The actual problem is the romex sheathing has been stripped back too far for me to put 1/4" into the light's jbox. 10 inches or so has been stripped back. The wires themselves are long enough for me to put the lights where i want them. I can get 1/4" into a jbox if I attach the jbox to the joist, but I can't get the sheathing all the way to the hole.

Thanks guys.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:58 PM   #7
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DUalTech

Ultimately, it's up to your inspector.

A hard to find junction box is not a safety issue, it's a convenience/design issue which the NEC is not supposed to be regulating. If you're not getting an inspection, just go ahead and do it.
Very interesting statement there!
I read this as,an inaccessible jb is NOT an NEC violation?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:21 PM   #8
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Accessible is a very subjective term in our field. It can vary greatly from inspector to inspector. If we take this situation and add the fact that you can pull the jbox out of the hole, I think all inspectors would deem that accessible. If you could only get the box over the hole, I think you would have the same answer. If you can reach the jbox and open the cover, but is still in the ceiling, that is where the discretion of the AHJ comes in. Is it easy to work on? No, but it is accessible. Its honestly about the equivalent of a j box in an attic.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Thanks. Should I secure the jbox to the joist or leave it unattached so it can be pulled closer to the hole? And is leaving it unattached code compliant?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:30 PM   #10
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jp1423
Thanks. Should I secure the jbox to the joist or leave it unattached so it can be pulled closer to the hole? And is leaving it unattached code compliant?
I would not leave it loose in the ceiling.
U forget about the box or someone in the future runs a screw or nail through the ceiling,it could get ugly.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:30 PM   #11
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


If the wires are long enough to pull out of the hole, why not mount the Jbox on the fixture, or get a fixture with the jbox already attached?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:39 PM   #12
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


Do you mean mounting an additional jbox to the one that is already on the recessed light can I am installing?

I can get the wires out of the hole and into the light can's jbox to make the connections, but I can't get the sheathing into the light's jbox, which I think is a code violation. I googled for a way to extend the sheathing a few inches, but did not find a way to do that.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #13
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


I am assuming that this is a remodel situation and not a rough. I would install the J-Box, mount it if there is attic access above, and not worry about mounting if no attic access.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:38 AM   #14
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


I think K Buz hit this right on the head... I would and have done the same thing !!
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #15
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Junction box in ceiling accessible through hole for recessed light?


I've been known to use a piece of Romex sheathing (wires and paper pulled out of it) to cover the wires entering a box. Just slide the sheathing over the wires, if you can.

Not sure of the code compliancy of this.

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