If it matters to you, you should know that what you have is not code
compliant. All junction and outlet boxes are supposed to be accesssible, and
this one obviously isn't. A mirror or other non-removable covering over a
box should be cut out to the edges of the boxes and the fixture should cover
the opening. Of course, lots of people figure codes are just to make more
money for the electricians!
If the light fixture itself is rated as a junction box, then no box is
needed in the wall. This usually is the case with fluorescent fixtures
into which the cable is led via a small hole; such fixtures have no
mounting provision for an octagon box. If the fixture has been made to
mount on an octagon box, then of course it ought to have been mounted
on one, which would require a much larger hole in the mirror.
Assuming the OP is in the US, he might find a solution using the
12/2/2 cable that I hear is available there; use one pair to feed the
receptacle on a 20A breaker and the other pair would junction onto the
old 14/2 to go to the light on a 15A breaker. A huge waste of copper
and he's already pulled 12/2 to the outlet, so this is not an
appealing solution, but it might be a consideration for someone else
who's facing a similar spot.
(If the OP happens to be in Canada, he needs to remember that Canadian
code mandates 15A breakers on any circuit containing a lighting
fixture, even if it's all wired 12-ga.)
To my mind the worst of it is the junction box in the ceiling. That's
going to require a cover plate, a monument to the original bad work.
The 8 light vanity bar light was adhered to the mirror with mastic or
glue. The existing wire comes out of the box, through the hole in the
mirror, then out through the fixture hole, which has a grommet. Are
you saying I can drill through fixture and mirror opening and into the
electrical box to make a hole, then just snake the wire down through
this new hole and just let it come out of the fixture the way the
existing one is doing now? That might be do-able.
Well, I don't know about making your own hole in the bar. I'd be more
comfortable using it as the manufacturer had it certified.
But yeah, as I understand it, if the fixture bar is a totally enclosed
box, with a grommeted hole for entry of the romex, then there normally
isn't a junction box at all. The cable can run within the wall, out
through a hole in the wall (ie, wallboard+mirror), and in through the
grommeted hole, which obviously needs to be exactly aligned with the
hole in the wall. Then you make the connections to the fixture's
internal wiring within the bar, which must be accessible from the
front somehow. I've only seen this with fluorescent fixtures but I've
never installed a bathroom light bar.
Here's a blog from someone who is replacing such a fixture with one
that needs a junction box:
In the first picture you can see the cabling emerging from a small
hole in the ceiling. This is, I believe, correct, for an appropriate
fixture. In this case, there ought not to be (or does not need to be)
any junction box in the ceiling at all. CERTAINLY if there is a box
there must be no splice made in it, the cable should be continuous all
the way back to the prior accessible junction (switch, other fixture,
My guess is that there is a junction box behind the mirror dating from
some original over-mirror fixture; and when the new big mirror went
up, they spliced a short pigtail within that box and led it through
the hole in the new mirror. See if you can push a long nail through
the hole and figure out whether there's a box there or not.
Too many "the hole"'s...I have no clue what the arrangement is or what
the objective is any more from this.
But, if the new hole includes a cable clamp that part would be ok.
There's no real provision against adding a hole in an existing box, but
it'll be a pita to do it by drilling thru some other small hole and
highly prone to damaging whatever else is already in there so that part
I'd not recommend.
IIRC this is an outside wall? What's the siding material? If you're
adamant you're not going to take this fixture down and access it that
way, if it's simply siding of some sort, going in that way isn't
necessarily much worse than drywall.
Again, I can't envision what you're trying to do from the above -- a
picture somewhere could be worth more than the thousands of words
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