Lengthening existing circuits in the middle

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Old 11-06-15, 08:45 AM
J
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Lengthening existing circuits in the middle

We are remodeling our kitchen. The existing kitchen had built-in bulkheads above the upper kitchen cabinets. We want to reclaim that space and run cabinets up to the ceiling. To that end, I removed one section of bulkhead recently, and discovered several electrical cables running through the bulkhead space. The bulkheads were part of the original construction, so much so that the circuits were run through them, and they were filled with attic insulation. I now need to do something with these electrical circuits so they will be confined to the new boundaries of the wall/ceiling.

I have 4 cables in this bulkhead location that need work. (Ignore the telephone wires in the pictures. I'm just going to cut them out. We don't use the telephone jacks at all, and in fact have already removed several of them in other rooms in the house in the past.)

I'm referencing the circuits with numbers and the cables with letters for a hopefully easier read.

This picture shows two of them. The black cable (A) is on the kitchen receptacles circuit (circuit 5) and the white cable (B) is on a main floor receptacles and ceiling lights circuit (circuit 10).
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This picture shows the other two. The black cable (C) closest to the forefront is on circuit 5. The farthest black cable (D) is on circuit 10.
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So cables A and C are on 5 and B and D are on 10.

Re-wiring the entire circuit segments isn't an option due to cost, time (lots and lots of attic insulation which complicates matters significantly), and weather (turning much colder here in Michigan over the weekend so I don't want to keep attic insulation pushed away from ceiling/wire locations any longer than necessary), so I'm looking at extending them via junction boxes. There's a lot of insulation in our attic and I want to mount the junction boxes higher than the insulation level.

A appears to originate from one of the receptacles on the other side of the kitchen. I've traced it halfway across the attic in that direction, and it is the hot feed for receptacle X in the wall shown in the picture. I want to cut it somewhere in the wall and run it from the ceiling to an attic junction box and then run a new cable from the junction box down to receptacle X.

B runs from the kitchen ceiling light (picture below from the attic) to an unknown location, but presumably to the light switch that is in the direction that the cable is heading. Unsure of the power direction on this circuit. I want to cut this one in the ceiling and run the switch side up to an attic junction box and then run a new cable from the junction box to the kitchen light box.
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C runs from receptacle Y on the same kitchen wall shown in the picture. The B cable feeds X, X feeds Y, and Y feeds receptacle Z on a different kitchen wall. Z is the end of the circuit, and is on the wall that is planned to be removed as part of the kitchen remodel. I want to cut C in the wall and detach it from receptacle Y. Y will now be the end of circuit 5 and Z will be removed from use since it will be going away anyway shortly.

D runs from an unknown location to an unknown location. I've traced it halfway across the attic, and down in the stud cavity it turns and goes through the stud in the direction of a receptacle that is in the room on the other side of the wall, which is also on circuit 10. I want to cut it and run the attic side to a attic junction box, run the wall side to an attic junction box, and connect the two attic junction boxes with a new cable.

I've never cut into the middle of existing circuits before, so just want to make sure there aren't any serious concerns with these plans.
 
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Old 11-06-15, 09:30 AM
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You've got the right idea. Jboxes need to be accessible (attic access is ok). Fasten the cables to the sides of framing members, you can't run them on top of attic joists without a running board for protection. You can drill through joists if you need to but follow the guidelines for doing so (ask if you need to know what they are.) Jboxes need to be grounded if metal and must have covers. I write a note on the cover describing what circuit is inside. Penetrations through wall plates should be caulked with fire-resistant caulk or foamed with fire resistant foam.

Take the opportunity to air seal any penetrations through the ceiling (like that light fixture box).

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 11-06-15, 01:27 PM
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Thank you, CarbideTipped.

I'm not familiar with the guidelines for drilling through joists, so I'd appreciate it if you could enlighten me. I've never thought of the truss bases as being joists, but I'm assuming that's what you're referring to?
 
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Old 11-06-15, 03:29 PM
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If you have roof trusses you should not be drilling them.
 
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Old 11-06-15, 04:28 PM
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pcboss is right; don't drill holes or notch trusses (I didn't notice the trusses in the picture). In that case you can run the romex across the tops of the truss member, but have to put guard boards (1x2 is fine) along both sides of the romex run to protect it.

For sawn lumber joists:

The holes can not be larger in diameter than 1/3 the actual depth of the joist. For a 2x10, that would mean a hole no larger than 3-5/32" diameter.

As for location:
1- You are not allowed to drill (or notch) in the middle third of the span at all;
2- No part of the hole can be within 2" of any edge of the joist (including the ends);
3- No part of a hole can be within 2" of another hole (or edge of a notched area).

Also, I avoid drilling in any "crush" zone. For example, where a steel beam is supporting joists and there is a wall above the beam.
 
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Old 11-08-15, 10:49 AM
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I definitely have roof trusses and I'm definitely not drilling holes through them anywhere. I'm running cable on the side of the truss bases whenever possible. I've put the junction boxes around halfway up the angled truss boards that are closest to the truss center, and then I run the cable on the side of the truss base until it gets to the angle junction, then I turn it and run it up the side of the angle piece to the junction box, stapling it to the side of both the truss base and the angle piece. I think I'm good with all of that (if not, let me know). What about the places where the cable has to go across the gap between two trusses? I've been confining the cable in these scenarios to the top of the load bearing wall underneath the center of the trusses, which I'm sure is fine, but do I need to add some type of protection on top of it on the wall as well as when it runs over the top of a joist base? There are other sections in the roof where there are original cables running willy nilly across truss bases or across the bottom of a truss angle junction, probably not up to code now but may have been in the late 60's when it was wired?
 
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