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Old 12-07-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
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Wiring Preventing Removal of Old Fixture Box

I want to replace an old fixture box with one that can support a ceiling fan, and I've run into a problem. In addition to the wires used to rig up the old light fixture, there's another, uninterrupted black wire running through the old box (pretty sure it goes to an outlet). Here's a picture:

Because it loops through the knockouts, the wire must be cut before I can remove the old box. After mounting the new box, it can be spliced back together. Is it that simple, or doing so be incorrect/dangerous? What's the best way to deal with this situation? Any advice would appreciated!
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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Do you have access from above to run new cables to the fan support box?

If not, the "correct" way to do it is to open the ceiling and install one or more additional boxes as required to splice into the existing wiring with the currently required exposed wire lengths at all boxes - sometimes this requires three: one at each end of the existing wires and one to support the fan, with new wiring from each of the junction boxes to the fan support box.

Others will likely be along shortly to explain "other" ways of doing it.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:19 PM   #3
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isolate the power, cut the white wire, thats the one that runns through, pull the wires, cut open the ceiling, install new 2*4 supports, or attach to truss and re dress the cables if u have the length try and get 6 inches of conductor comming out of the box. make sure bx is connected well to the box providing the ground if there is not one in the conductors.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:56 PM   #4
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I can't tell if you have BX cable or in conduit if in conduit it will be very easy to do it but BX cable that will get tricky to deal with it.

so can you take a second photo and show the conduit or BX fitting look like so one of us will know the answer.

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Old 12-08-2010, 07:09 AM   #5
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Note: The casing of most flexible cconduit notably BX does not make for an adequate ground. Typically a flexible cable with ground has a ground wire or thin metal strip running straight through with the reguar wires.

The existing box (if metal) will support the fan provided the box can be firmly attached to joists or other supports above. Wood screws in all four screw holes in back going two inches into solid wood above will do it. You can drill additional holes if the existing holes don't line up with thejoist.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-08-2010 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:12 AM   #6
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The existing box is NOT rated for fan support. However, if you can reinstall the existing box, drill the necessary holes, and mount the fan bracket with screws through the bracket, through the box and into the wood structure you ar set to go. The fan bracket does not have to be mounted to a box if it is attached to the building structure.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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I don't see how that box could have been installed if the conductor were continuous like the OP states.
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:39 AM   #8
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I have access from above (I'm in the process of preparing my attic for insulation, and boy has it opened a can of worms), here's the requested pic:

I was under the impression that my old box, with the "ears", was inadequate for fan support. The new box has threaded "posts" in addition to the ears, otherwise it's identical to the old box (which is indeed metal). The old box was nailed into a header (see pic) with a single nail. I can't easily get four screws into the header without drilling additional holes in the box, but reusing it might be simpler than the wiring work necessary to install the new one...?

Oh, and to be clear, it's a black wire that runs through the box uninterrupted. I can only assume some rewiring was taking place when this box was installed. It's a pretty old house for the Minneapolis area (1920's)...full of mysteries!

Last edited by sorghumking; 12-08-2010 at 10:42 AM. Reason: Additional details
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:34 PM   #9
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Since you have access from above, re-terminate the flex conduit into a new junction box in the attic and run a leg from there to a new fan rated box.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Since you have access from above, re-terminate the flex conduit into a new junction box in the attic and run a leg from there to a new fan rated box.
Either that or chase down one of the conduits to find the end of the wire, pull back and replace the box, then repull the wire.
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