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Old 01-06-2011, 06:56 PM   #1
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


I opened up my wall and discovered this while attempting to do some rewiring. There are at least 5 circuits connected in this manner. Some of the grounds may be connected, but most are not.

I believe the main panel was originally at this location and then moved during a major renovation 30 years ago. The newer wires on the top and right come from the attic and connect back to the panel. They're spliced to old wires which run down through the wall and into the crawlspace. The old wires then feed various receptacles and appliances from there. The attic to crawlspace routing is necessary because the current location of the panel is in an addition over a slab.

If I understand correctly my options are:
1) Buy a really big j-box for all the connections
2) Replace all the newer wires with a single cable and install a subpanel to connect up the old wires
3) Move the main panel to this location. Might need to rearrange some other circuits, but the two locations are actually pretty close together.

Long term option 3 might be best because the panel may need to be moved due to a planned future renovation. But this is the one option I do not feel comfortable doing myself. The renovation will probably happen in the next 2-4 years, unless life intervenes.

Do I understand my options correctly? Any of them seem particularly good or bad?

Thanks, Robert

P.S. Main panel is a Square D, installed 2009.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:03 PM   #2
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Quote:
Originally Posted by RST View Post
I opened up my wall and discovered this while attempting to do some rewiring. There are at least 5 circuits connected in this manner. Some of the grounds may be connected, but most are not.

I believe the main panel was originally at this location and then moved during a major renovation 30 years ago. The newer wires on the top and right come from the attic and connect back to the panel. They're spliced to old wires which run down through the wall and into the crawlspace. The old wires then feed various receptacles and appliances from there. The attic to crawlspace routing is necessary because the current location of the panel is in an addition over a slab.

If I understand correctly my options are:
1) Buy a really big j-box for all the connections
2) Replace all the newer wires with a single cable and install a subpanel to connect up the old wires
3) Move the main panel to this location. Might need to rearrange some other circuits, but the two locations are actually pretty close together.

Long term option 3 might be best because the panel may need to be moved due to a planned future renovation. But this is the one option I do not feel comfortable doing myself. The renovation will probably happen in the next 2-4 years, unless life intervenes.

Do I understand my options correctly? Any of them seem particularly good or bad?

Thanks, Robert

P.S. Main panel is a Square D, installed 2009.
Good lord... that's a mess. Glad you didn't find those splices the hard way. I'd opt for either relocating the main panel or installing a subpanel. Either option is going to be a task, though.

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Old 01-06-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


I don't know if there IS a legal way to fix that.???? How many splices are there.
2 branches per j box. The j boxes must be accessible.

I would go with a sub pannel.

Bob

Last edited by Hourglass52; 01-06-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:40 PM   #4
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Hard to tell without knowing what your renovation will include & reasons
What size main panel ?
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:38 PM   #5
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


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Hard to tell without knowing what your renovation will include & reasons
What size main panel ?
The main panel has 30 breaker slots, I think 23 are filled.

The renovation is for our convenience and enjoyment. Our 1980 master bath is 10 x 13. We're planning to renovate it and relocate the laundry there. Right now the laundry is next to the main panel in a utility room and far away from all the bedrooms. So the new laundry will be much more convenient. Once we remove the laundry appliances and the main panel, we knock down some walls, greatly expand the size of our family room, and connect it better to the rest of the house. The main panel is on one of the walls that would need removed.

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Old 01-06-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


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I don't know if there IS a legal way to fix that.???? How many splices are there.
2 branches per j box. The j boxes must be accessible.

I would go with a sub pannel.

Bob
There are at least 5 circuits with splices, so at least 10 splices. There should be 15, but none of the ground wires are spliced together, they're just cut (!). I can't tell if the circuit for the electric oven is spliced.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:53 PM   #7
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


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The main panel has 30 breaker slots, I think 23 are filled.
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I actually meant how many amps...100...200
And any plans/need to upgrade
Having 7 slots open is a good thing
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I actually meant how many amps...100...200
And any plans/need to upgrade
Having 7 slots open is a good thing
200 amps. A new service drop (and the panel) was put in when we bought the house. The old one was double-lugged and full.

Actually, the "main" panel is technically a subpanel. The electrician put in a combination panel and meter outside. So I guess we could run other subpanels or circuits off that.

Robert
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:14 PM   #9
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Moving 23 circuits might be a problem
I think I'd try to put in a large junction box if it's only 5 circuits
Maybe with a door that opens
Then hang a pic in front of it
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


A possible resolution, could you not just bring all those spices into to a terminal box? such as they do in the industrial world.

The box I am referring to will have terminals mounted on din rail (rated for the circuit) many punch holes in top and bottom. Feed the wires in and terminate each conductor on seperate terminals, panel would have a fixed door on it.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Add jbox(es) with cover, and cover with a return vent or something. I'm pretty sure that would count as being accessible as you can just unscrew the vent to get to the junction boxes. Though that might look odd depending on where it is. Could maybe hang a picture over it or something like Skuba mentioned.

Lazy way, but hey it might work and be legal. :P
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:00 PM   #12
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


I would go for installing one large or several small junction boxes with exposed covers (or covers under a fake air vent as suggested above).

Except if any of the new lines are breakered for more than 20 amps and are spliced to one or several smaller than 10 gauge older wires then it is necessary to either add a subpanel or change the breakers to 20 amps or less.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:28 PM   #13
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


I'm pretty sure #1 is legal, regardless of the number of circuits. I've seen some really big, scary, spaghetti-filled ones in a couple school buildings, usually directly above a breaker box and hidden by a drop ceiling...

I would think it would be the cheapest... although the "really big" aspect of the box may increase the price enough that several smaller boxes may be more cost-effective.

I'd use 2-gang old-work boxes with blank covers over them, and put something decorative (ie, a framed photo or something) over them.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:11 AM   #14
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Regardless of which way you go I would definitely mark/tag each splice as to what breaker is controlling it and where it services.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:18 AM   #15
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Numerous splices buried in wall - best way to fix?


Thanks for all the tips! I like the idea using junction boxes and hiding them behind a picture.

I took another look at things last night. I missed a few circuits the first time because the I looked down -- and these wires go back up into the attic (probably for lighting). So now we are talking at least 7 spliced circuits and another that may or may not be spliced.

I recounted and my panel has only 17 circuits. At least 3 of could be rerouted without trouble, so that makes 8 + 3 = 11/17 already. Leaning toward moving the panel.

RST

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