Question on attic wiring.....


Old 01-31-13, 12:30 PM
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Question on attic wiring.....

I've looked around on the internet for answers and sometimes you get so many different answers it gets confusing. Sorry for the length.

Current house has an attic space that is accessible through an opening in the ceiling. You need to use a portable ladder so there is no permanent ladder access. The roof style is a cross gabled house. And by attic, I mean maneuvering around it is on hands and knees, with a center walk laying on the joists. No storage at all up there.

I was poking around up there thinking about running a new line for recessed lights in the kitchen. There are two panels - one in the basement and a subpanel in the garage. The subpanel conductor runs across the attic and is attached to the trusse via brackets a few inches above the joist/rafter connection.

Here comes a few questions.

One, I noticed that the previous owner did some recessed lights in two of the bedrooms and the wires appear to be loose (meaning not stapled to any joists). And in some cases to get from can to can, the wire was just laid across the top of a joist. Is that kosher? Again, the attic is a limited use attic.

Two, I had a bathroom redone upstairs and an electrician ran a new line from the subpanel back across the attic. It looks like he attached the new conductors (one for the lights, one for the GFIs) to the subpanel cable with plastic ties. Seems OK to me. However, he put in a junction box to split the wire to power the bathroom lights and lights in the adjoining bedroom. There, he just laid the wires on/over the joists. And the junction box is located right near the opening to the attic. I thought I read that wires within a certain distance of an attic opening had to be protected - either having holes drilled through the joists for the wires or some other form of protection. Is that true?

Again, sorry for the length. Any insight would be appreciated.
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Old 01-31-13, 12:52 PM
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The cables in your attic can lie on the bottom chords of the trusses, but should be secured every 4', IIRC. If the new J-box is covered and secured to the framing, then the work to install the new circuits for your bathroom and bedroom sounds code-compliant.

Good work getting new circuits for those, especially the GFCI!

Be sure that all of your recessed fixtures are both air tight and insulation compatible. If the existing ones aren't, this would be an opportunity to replace them.
Old 01-31-13, 01:00 PM
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Thanks. What I will end up doing is when I run the new line for the kitchen lights (the reason I am running a new line is because the existing kitchen lights are on a circuit that is fairly loaded already and adding 4 or 6 new cans probably isn't wise) I'll just attach the existing loose wires to the joists as I do the kitchen light work.

Old 01-31-13, 06:44 PM
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Question one: It is likely that the cans were installed using remodel cans, and therefore, the cable was fished through the attic. Fished cables/conduits are not required to be secured.

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