Can I leave a metal junction box inside a wall?

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Old 02-25-19, 09:47 AM
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Can I leave a metal junction box inside a wall?

My guess is the answer is no.

I have a switch housed in a one gang metal box supplied by conductors in armored cable. My intent is move that box over about three feet. There's not enough slack in the line and I'm having trouble getting good upstream access (below the floor). I know I could leave it where it is, tap into it, and then put a blank switch plate on top, but that's not gonna work cosmetically. Ideally, I'd like to leave a metal junction box inside the wall and just tap into it and put a new box where I want it. However, I think this is against code because a concealed box could be accidentally drilled or nailed into.

Is there any exception or work around? Metal boxes? I'm guessing no but I thought I'd better ask as it would save me considerable trouble.

Thanks
 
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Old 02-25-19, 10:25 AM
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No, you can't hide a junction box. Maybe put a box and a cover near the floor?
 
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Old 02-25-19, 10:28 AM
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Your guess is correct. All junction boxes must remain accessible.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 12:33 PM
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I figured. I thought maybe they'd made a thick metal junction box or something that was impervious to drilling/nailing. Oh well, I'll find a way to tap in further upstream. Thanks for the confirmation.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 12:36 PM
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The requirement is for serviceability, not necessarily for protection. Any wire splices have the potential for failure, so every splice box needs to be accessible in order to know where to look for problems and be able to repair them.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 04:05 PM
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Can you turn the box around and face the other side of the wall?
 
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Old 02-25-19, 04:16 PM
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The requirement is for serviceability, not necessarily for protection.
What about putting junction boxes between floors in the joists? (2x8s)? I thought that was okay even though you can't get to them without cutting into the drywall in the ceiling?
 
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Old 02-25-19, 05:01 PM
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What about putting junction boxes between floors in the joists? (2x8s)? I thought that was okay even though you can't get to them without cutting into the drywall in the ceiling?
This is not allowed for this exact reason. It is not accessible.
If you put a access panel, then it is allowed. But then, it would look better to just put a junction box with blank wall plate.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 06:47 PM
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Accessible definition: Capable to be removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or finish or not permanently closed in by the structure or finish of the building.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 07:12 AM
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Maybe put a box and a cover near the floor?
\


This is the answer. I would mount a box near the floor somewhat under the existing switch location and install a receptacle there and use this box to run a new cable to the new switch location.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 11:12 AM
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lambition,

Okay that makes sense. In my case I did this in the basement where there actually was no drywall ceiling so I'm good. (AC all around, GFCI, etc).

I do wonder though about recessed ceiling lights. These come with a sort of short AC extension terminating to metal box with punch out holes for romex connectors. Are these legal? Once installed, you can't access them without ripping out the light housing. If these are legitimate, is it okay to use this built in box to chain one recessed lighting into another or must each recessed light be wired individually and taken back to a junction box in an accessible location?
 
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Old 02-26-19, 11:26 AM
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Casual Joe wrote
I would mount a box near the floor somewhat under the existing switch location and install a receptacle there and use this box to run a new cable to the new switch location.
Hmmm.... Maybe I haven't thought this through enough, but I believe because the switch is at the end of the run the white is used as a switched hot and not available to act as neutral for the purpose of an outlet. I might be able to install an outlet from a different circuit in that location and then use that box as a pass through for the switch wires, but I think in that case I might be over my wire count for the 1 gang box.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 01:57 PM
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(Hey thanks to everyone for help with this little issue and sorry the thread has gotten a little messy by now...)

Okay, how about this.... my refrigerator is walled in on one side. If I pull the refrigerator out, I'll have good access to the inside wall. Next, I make a new junction box on this inside wall making it accessible with a panel or switch plate cover. Then, when it's all done, I push the fridge back in place and no one can see the access point. Would this satisfy code?
 
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Old 02-26-19, 02:03 PM
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Yes that would work. Outlets behind fridge all the time.
 
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Old 02-26-19, 03:19 PM
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Pugsl,
Okay then I'm good to go for placing the accessible junction on the inside wall that holds the fridge and which is accessible only when the fridge is pulled out of its nook.


Just in case it got lost, let me elaborate on my ceiling light housing box question...


I want to install more than one ceiling light housing box. Can I run the wires from one of these into the other before delivering one 14/2 line to my switch or do I need to run all the lights separately to some kind of accessible junction box first before running a line out to the switch? In other words, by running one light into and out of the other's box, does code now somehow see this as some sort of junction box that requires its own access so it can be checked by some other method than ripping out the light housing box?
 
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Old 02-26-19, 04:02 PM
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I do wonder though about recessed ceiling lights. These come with a sort of short AC extension terminating to metal box with punch out holes for romex connectors. Are these legal? Once installed, you can't access them without ripping out the light housing.
Recessed lights can be removed. You don't have to rip it out, it can be released by unscrewing screws on the can (new installation) or undoing clips (remodel types).
You can use junction box attached to the recessed light to splice your connection if you have a recessed light nearby.

Can I run the wires from one of these into the other before delivering one 14/2 line to my switch or do I need to run all the lights separately to some kind of accessible junction box
You can run wire from a light to another.
 
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Old 02-27-19, 06:49 AM
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Lambition & everyone else,

Good, that will save me some trouble. Okay, I think I'm ready to get to work.

This is such a great place for well informed advice. Thank you!
 
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Old 02-27-19, 07:00 AM
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Lambition:
Recessed lights can be removed. You don't have to rip it out, it can be released by unscrewing screws on the can (new installation) or undoing clips (remodel types).
Doh, just when you thought you'd gotten rid of me I had a last minute thought...

These light boxes require a 6" cutout to install which, if I understand you, would also be considered an access. Therefore, could I install a 4x4 metal junction box just inside that hole on the joist wall before replacing the light housing and calling it done? Would the NEC consider that accessible?
 
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Old 02-27-19, 07:07 AM
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Yes I've done that in a pinch. I wouldn't call it the best workmanship, but in remodels you have to make do sometimes. A picky inspector might red flag it, but it's a much better option than burying the box under sheetrock.
 
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Old 02-28-19, 04:32 AM
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Behind the fridge will work for me in this case, but it's good to know for future work.

Thanks again!
 
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