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Zeigh 03-02-2013 10:20 AM

Extending Wiring Before Circuit Panel...

I need to rearrange some wiring between a main circuit panel and a sub-panel with a generator connection. The problem is that I will need to extend some of the wiring in order to make the switch to another circuit breaker in the opposing panel. Is there a box or some approved space that this could be done in BEFORE the wires enter the intended panel? Here is the rest of the story…

Recently I had an electrician to my home for another project and had him evaluate the electrical system. He called the generator configuration a "farm hookup" or part-load generator design. He also laughed at why the sub-panel didn't include basic emergency coverage for the refrigerator and other primary needs (obviously the original designer had unusual intentions). At the time, he confirmed that it was acceptable with local code to extend wiring in a circuit panel via wirenut connection. Since then, I have mapped out all of the outlets in the home and see that I will need to reroute up to 20% of the wiring between panels in order to more efficiently meet our emergency generator needs. Doing this inside the existing panels would be too cluttered and compact for general safety.

Since I am going to open up drywall anyway, I was thinking of installing a box similar to a circuit sub-panel, but without all the internal hardware. It would simply be used as an extra space to extend the wiring via wirenut in an organized fashion before it is routed to the intended circuit panel (like what is done when extending wiring in a junction box for a light, but on a larger scale). So far, I can't seem to find any product online that this is made for and only a few items that I might alter for this use. I also can't seem to find anything in the local code that acknowledges this intention. This kind of issue has to have been deal with before without replacing full wiring runs.

So, any suggestions?

Knowledge is power, but an good attention span can never be replaced,
Dr. Z.

J. V. 03-02-2013 10:40 AM

I am having a hard time understanding your question. If the question is about using a large junction box to make connections so you can extend branch circuits around the house? The answer is yes.
You must install the junction box so its accessible. It cannot be covered with drywall.
Wire/wing nuts are fine for these connections and are what I would recommend.

I for one do not understand why you would need to do this as you already have a main service panel and a sub panel. You can bring circuits out of each of these. Why the need for a big junction box? Wire nut connections in panels is also compliant.

Zeigh 03-02-2013 12:04 PM

Sorry for the confusion. Like my wife says, "It's what I mean, not what I say, so keep up"! HA!

Maybe the detail that I failed to mention is that these two circuit panels are right next to one another. If I removed one cable of wires from the main panel and routed it into the sub-panel (that coordinates the generator use), I would barely have enough wire to extend via wirenuts to the new circuit breaker. Now, multiply this by another 8-10 cable of wires and I would have a cluttered and compacted mess toward the top of the intended panel. Having a box or some approved space where the wires could be extended first, before being routed to the intended panel would solve this. Of course, I could also use standard junction boxes for each set cable of wires in the attic and only replace that short section of wire through the wall, but that would be more work overall.

Once again, one large box close to the panels, where I could extend a handful of wires via wirenut is what I would like (if approved via code).

HA, I could safely do all that I am saying in a custom made metal box and then patch over it with drywall, with nobody the wiser. However, I would want to be more courteous to the eventual next homeowner, not to mention that I have 27 years as a firefighter and have seen many electrical mishaps.

Dr. Z.

jbfan 03-02-2013 07:36 PM

You can order a junction box any size you need from a supply house.
Find an online box fill calculator, figure how many wires you are going to have, and buy a J box big enough.
Like John said, it must remain accessible

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