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Old 10-23-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Junction Box Wire Splice - 3-way switch


I have a basement that was finished 3 years ago but we never got around to finishing the bathroom. We have a fairly long hallway at the bottom of the basement stairs that has several can lights. The can lights are controlled by 3 3-way switches top, bottom and bottom end of hallway.

When the house was built it was built with a switch at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. I finished the basement and when doing so, I was trying to figure out the correct way to wire the 3-way switches and spliced into the existing 2-way switch wire. So the whole basement got finished around these two splices that were in this unfinished bathroom space.

Fast forward to now. The wife wants the bathroom finished for an upcoming holiday party. My first thought it to just put these spliced wires into junction boxes and be done with it. But as I looked at it, the area where the boxes would have to go will probably end up being behind drywall. I know that is not code, so I proceeded to pull new wire from all of the switches through the walls and to the can lights. Enter the problem. Two of the wires are not accessible and I am going to need to cut out a TON of drywall just to get to the wires and the existing junction boxes. About 5 times as much drywall than is needed just to finish this small bathroom!

So, my question is.Is there any way to just leave these spliced wires mounted "safely" in two junction boxes without any worry? I have checked the circuit that they are on and it is a 15 amp breaker that has about 12 can lights on it and that is it. It's not like there are outlets where something in the future could pull a ton of amperage and cause the wires to overheat. They have also been functioning like this (but outside of a junction box) for 3+ years now.

Just need to know if I am being overly cautious. Will rip out all of the drywall if I have to, but would love to avoid it.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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Junction Box Wire Splice - 3-way switch


All splices must be in an accessible junction box.

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:59 PM   #3
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Junction Box Wire Splice - 3-way switch


You can have junction boxes above the drywall ceiling, as long as you put an access panel over them.
Go large with the panel, to give yourself good access.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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Junction Box Wire Splice - 3-way switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
All splices must be in an accessible junction box.
So it would be okay to leave splices in the run as long as it is accessible? Since it is a drywall ceiling, what is considered "accessible"? Can I just cut out a section of the drywall where the junction box would be located and leave 4 visible screw heads?

I am assuming that as long as my splice is wired correctly, that it is perfectly safe within a junction box, correct?

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:41 AM   #5
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Junction Box Wire Splice - 3-way switch


They make access covers that might be more attractive than screw heads.
You could pull the boxes down to drywall level and just put a blank on them too.
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