Electrical junction box in floor joist air return space

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Old 01-07-11, 10:37 AM
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Electrical junction box in floor joist air return space

I have quite a bit of electrical wiring experience. I know about prohibitions regarding electrical wiring in air returns, but I wonder if this might be different.

I need to move a bathroom entry door three feet, sounds easy, BUT there is a fan/light switch that has to be moved less than 12". The power comes in here to the fan/light switch circuits and out to other outlets nearby. The fan/light circuits can be rewired, and the wire continuing on to the other outlets will be long enough to move it, but the hot wire coming in will be too short. http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/sr...ilies/wall.gif

There is a large sheet metal return duct above the bathroom. This has holes cut in the top and is open to several floor joist bays. There is a hole cut in the sheetrock outside of the bathroom door into a joist bay acting as one of many air returns in this house.

The hot wire coming in, the wires going out to the rest of the circuit and the fan/light circuit all are in the space outside of the sheetmetal duct, yet in an area that is open to the air return.

What I would like to do is pull these wires all up in to the joist bay put a metal junction box with a new hot wire going down to the new switch. This would not add any more wiring in this area than already exists, but would add a junction box. The box would be accessible by removing the air return grille, but would NOT be in the sheetmetal plenum.

Would this a code violation? (BTW, the way the HVAC system was installed, most of the joist bays are open to the air return, these are loaded with romex.)
 
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Old 01-07-11, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GooHoo View Post
Would this a code violation? (BTW, the way the HVAC system was installed, most of the joist bays are open to the air return, these are loaded with romex.)
Yes it would be a violation, both for having the wiring in the air-handling plenum and for having to remove building trim to access the junction box.
 
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