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fan13 07-28-2012 11:05 AM

Maximum wires in box for ceiling fan connection
I am installing a ceiling fan and have some concerns about the number of wires that will be in the box.

I am using the following box which has a 1.5" depth and a 15.5" cubic capacity,

Coming from the ceiling are the following...

- set of white, black, bare ground (copper)
- another set of white, black, bare ground (copper)
- set of white, black, red, bare ground (copper)

From the ceiling fan is...

- white, black, blue, green

I am connecting all four whites with a wire nut, all four black wires with a wire nut, the red with the blue using a wire nut and all grounds with a wire nut.

I also accidentally cut one of the white wires too short so have a pigtail on one of those, connected with a wire nut.

So in total there are...

- four white wires
- four black wires
- one red wire
- one blue wire
- three bare ground wires
- one green ground wire
- five wire nuts

It seems like too much to stuff into a box but can someone confirm? I am in Canada and can't find details on the exact code.

If it is too much for the box are there any suggestions other than to get a bigger box? I'd rather avoid getting a bigger box and a new brace unless it's much easier and safer than the alternatives.

Am I better off to install a second box?

I understand the wire nuts can't be outside of the box but can you safely crimp outside of the box? If so, should I crimp all the sets together and then run the red, one black, one white and one bare into the box?

The house was built in the 70s. Where I am installing a ceiling fan there was a chandelier with the wires in a similar sized box, though the white wires were crimped (three to one).

Finally, a question about grounding as it relates to Canadian code. The green wire from the ceiling fan goes to a grounding screw on the fan's mounting bar. Is this all the grounding I need or do I need to run a ground wire to a grounding screw in the box also? If I need to do this then I would need to add a pigtail I assume to the set of ground wires, which would be five wires in total.

Thanks for the help!

fan13 07-28-2012 11:07 AM

Wire gauge
I should also mention that the wires are 14 gauge.

Newtricair 07-28-2012 08:29 PM

You need to refer to Table 23 and rule 12-3034 of the CAnadian Electrical code.
Table 23 says that octogon box size allows 10 #14 wires.
But also, rule 12-3034 says you have to:
A) reduce that number by 1 for every pair of insulated wire connectors
B) only count insulated wires (do not count bare bonding wires)
C) do not count #16 or #18 AWG wires of a light fixture connected to the box

Now you can calculate.

jbfan 07-28-2012 08:53 PM

If you are in the US, then the wirenuts do not count.

fan13 07-28-2012 10:55 PM

Thank you. Looks like I'll be fine with that size of box. Appreciate the help!

k_buz 07-28-2012 10:59 PM

I don't think you are anywhere near fine, but I'm not an expert in the CEC. From the rules posted, I think you are only allowed 7 #14's when you take the 5 wirenuts into account.

fan13 07-28-2012 11:26 PM

Yes, I misread. Looks like I will need to get another box or find another solution.

Thanks KBuz.

fan13 07-28-2012 11:58 PM

The four wires from the fan are actually #18 AWG wires, which I didn't mention earlier. I believe that gives four wires I don't need to count.

That leaves me with...

- four white wires in the ceiling (if I count the two that are pigtailed together as two wires, trying to find if that is correct)
- three black wires
- one red wire
- five wire nuts, counting as 2.5 wires, rounded to three

That puts me at 11 if I'm calculating correctly. Closer but still too much.

andrew79 07-29-2012 01:56 AM

You've actually only got 9. The wirenuts count as 2(the 5th doesn't count as anything it only goes up by twos). The jumper doesn't count(a conductor with no part entering or leaving the box shall not be counted). And you have 7 other wires. You should be good.

andrew79 07-29-2012 02:03 AM

Sorry just reread your post. The grounding is fine run to the fan bracket as long as you've grounded to the box with your incomming ground.

And if it were necessary, which it isn't, to connect outside the box crimps are not ok.

fan13 07-29-2012 10:11 AM

Great, thanks a lot Andrew!

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