Electical question

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I recently constructed a built-in desk and bookshelf in my upstairs loft.
There was an outlet on the wall that happened to be right where two bookshelves joined together. I had to remove the cover plate and outlet in order for the bookshelves to be flush against the wall. I removed the socket and rejoined the wires together using wire nuts. I then pushed the wires back into the box and put my shelves in front of it...without using a cover plate. Its this last part that I'm kinda regretting now that the built-in is complete.
Should I have put a cover plate over that or will the wire nuts be sufficient? None of the wires were anywhere near crossing each other but I still have a little anxiety about it. I'm pretty sure I know what the pro's would do...
Opinions? I'm probably breaking major building codes doing that too.
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If you twisted the wires ( holds the wires from pulling out of nut)before the nut was put on and there is no exposed copper at the nut a cover plate will be fine. The plate is to prevent anyone or thing getting at the wires. With the cover plate on this should meet code. I'm taking it for granted that white-white black-black ground- ground where all done.

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Plates are cheap at 50 cents each. You taped the wirenuts, right?
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Does this not become a junction box in this scenario? If so, I always thought that they need to be easily accessed.
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If I'm understanding you correctly, you have blocked access to a junction box by constructing the bookshelves over the junction box. If this is what you have done, then the lack of a cover plate is only part of the problem.
The National Electrical Code requires ALL splices be forever accessible. If you are required to remove building "finish" materials to gain access to splices, that does not meet he definition of accessibility. Secondly, if you sell the house, how will the next owner have any idea where to look for this splice? Splices do occassionally need attention.
If you've made a decent splice, the lack of a cover in this case is probably not a safety issue as NO ONE is likely to accidently touch ANY of these wires.
Gary Kasten Licensed Electrical Contractor Kasten Electric Company St. Peters, MO
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So many interesting answers!
Yes, you needed to have a cover plate. An electrical box is supposed to contain an electrical fire. Presumably your bookshelves are combustible? Admittedly, the chances of an arc in the connections severe enough to cause a fire are very very small, but I wouldn't be comfortable with it. If you had fastened a piece of sheet metal over the opening, that probably would have been okay, even if it didn't meet code.
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"Toller" wrote in message

cause
I wouldn't be comfortable at all.
19 years ago I had a small fire in an interior wall of a 50 year old house (small, only because my 3 year old daughter came to me at 1:30 PM and insisted I come look at the "pretty lights" in the living room behind the clock, and I caught it in time) due to a splice that shorted and caught the wall on fire.
The splice was in a box, with no lid, and then drywalled over. I had no idea it was there.
Essentially, it was a time bomb that took 45 years to go off ... thank goodness in the afternoon, instead of 1:30 in the morning.
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well, I am suggesting metal rather than drywall. There isn't much difference between sheet metal and a blank box cover.
but, how did the wall catch fire? I would expect the dry wall to be charred, but it shouldn't have actually caught fire.
I should have had a fire when a mouse chewed through a wire right next to where we kept napkins. His front half vaporized, but miraculously the napkins didn't catch.
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wrote:

You're right, there isn't -- using either one to cover an inaccessible box is still a Code violation. ;-)
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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"Toller" wrote in message

That's what makes it chilling, eh?
It "shouldn't have", but it did!
By the time I got there the stud the box was attached to was in flames ... indeed a 'chilling' event.
With a young child in the house, and even after I tore out the drywall all the way to the ceiling on both sides of the wall, and was absolutely sure that there was not a spark left (there was no 'fire blocking' of studs in those days, apparently) to come back to life, I spent that entire night, and the next day, awake and on "fire watch".
Shudder every time I recollect it.
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I can relate.
It was lucky that you had a bright kid who wanted to show her dad some "pretty lights".
I moved into a house that had all kinds of compromised electrical work. No doubt, done by some bumpkin who wanted to "save money" and had no concept of safety. I went nuts and replaced everything that I could. It already had a new breaker box and half of the wiring was new. But no ground connections were made in any of the new wiring.
There was a big basement that was lighted by a number of recycled 8 foot commercial flouescent fitures. There was one right at the foot of the stairs. I was coming down the stairs just a week or so after moving in one day. I smelled something funny coming out of the fixture.
I popped of the cover and some smoke came out. There was varnish dripping out of the ballast! I immediately turned off the lights and stood vigil until everything was cool. I then pulled out all the ballasts from all the fixtures. Every single one of them was melting and a fire was just days away from happening. He must of got a great deal on these fixtures.
I replaced the ballasts on the lights and everything worked just fine for the next 24 years. I was quite upset at the time. And I still get a chill thinking about how close I cane to having a newly purchased house burn to the ground.
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"Lee Michaels" wrote in message

chill
You only have to go through that once to get a healthy respect for ALWAYS following the best electrical practices known to man.
To this day, as a builder, I take a strong personal interest in inspecting all the electrical work _myself_ before insulation/drywall goes up.
Not to mention that it is a constant battle with sheetrockers who cover up electrical receptacles (hell, even AC vents) in their haste to get to the next job.
I _ALWAYS_ take digital pictures of every single wall in the entire house after electrical, plumbing and HVAC rough-in, and before insulation, put those photos on a CD, and ultimately give them to the purchaser in the "house book" we always supply for appliances, fixtures, warranties, etc.
As a homeowner, it is something I appreciate greatly, just for the safety aspects. And, as a builder, I can't tell you how many times that one practice has saved my butt during electrical trim out ... and I get to sleep at night. :)
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*snip*

Do it right the first time, and you'll save money in the long run. If code calls for a cover plate, put a cover plate on. Consider this also: Electrical boxes are great places for bugs to hide. You don't really want to have to work on the box and deal with spider webs, do you?
Puckdropper
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wrote:

So then what type of wiring is it? Romex? Wire in conduit?. If it is properly installed romex ripping out the drywall to unstapled it would not work for me. But by passing and disconnecting the romex and leaving it there very appealing. Wire in conduit piece of cake though.
Side note the new place has a fuse panel, and it is staying.
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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The lack of a cover plate is a code violation, yes, but that's the least of your worries. The National Electrical Code requires all splices and junctions to be accessible, and specifically defines "accessible" thus:
"Capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or finish or not permanently closed in by the structure or finish of the building."
A junction box that has a built-in bookcase over it does not qualify as accessible.
The best solution to this problem is to locate the other end of each of the two cables that enter this box, and disconnect them. Then run a new cable via a different route, bypassing the segment you just disconnected.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

But, a built-in bookcase with a built-in hinged door in the back to access the box probably would. If you do it right, it could be quite unobtrusive, and completely invisible when the shelf is filled with books. I suspect that would satisfy both the letter and the spirit of the code.
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I imagine so, too, but I think I'd want to run that past a local electrical inspector just to be sure -- withOUT giving my name or address!
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Another option would be to cut a hole in the back of the built-in directly over the box, and add an extender ring to the box to bring it flush with the inside surface of the built-in. Then attach the cover plate of your choice.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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wrote:

I guess I have mixed feelings here, I recognize the dangers but have serious problems with electrician's high hourly rates in particular when the required job skill level is so low . Basically in this region their only claim to fame is the fact is they can sign off that the job is in fact to code regardless of their crappy work.
In my opinion if their rates were reasonable far less people would be doing basic wiring themselves. Im my case I read the books then wired my complete shop all the electrician did was to inspect it and confirm it was up to code and connect it to the mains . The only reason to use a "certified" electrician was that is all the inspector would accept.....and you know what, I still considered it expensive .....mjh
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I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on a couple of points. IMO, the reason so many folks go the DIY route has less to do with the hourly rates charged by electricians than with the widespread misperception that "the the required job skill level is so low."
It's *not* a low-skill job.
Almost any fool can install residential wiring so that it works. Installing it so that it works, *and* is safe, isn't quite so simple. I've encountered, and corrected, these problems (among others) created by the previous owners of my various homes:
+ light switch in the neutral instead of the hot + 14-2 BX made to do the job of 14-3 by using the cable armor as a conductor + 3-way switches installed with 12-2, using the ground conductor as a traveler + hot and neutral reversed on a receptacle + outdoor outlet unprotected by GFCI + 20A breaker on a circuit with 14ga wire + 30A fuse on a circuit with 14ga wire + Romex run through an ungrommeted hole in a steel cold air return duct + aluminum wire connected to copper with copper-only wire nuts + aluminum wire connected to copper-only receptacles + cross-connected neutrals in two junction boxes on different circuits + Edison circuits not identifed as such and having no common disconnect + 100A overcurrent protection on a circuit dedicated to a 1/2 HP well pump + abandoned live wires in circumstances very similar to the one Swingman described (though without the "pretty colored lights") + 60A subpanel fed from another subpanel with 10/3 Romex ... + ... attached to the *hot* side of the lugs (so that the only overcurrent protection for the 10-ga feeder was the 200A service disconnect)
All of these things "work". Not one of them is safe. But because they function as expected, the idiots who installed them probably didn't give them a second thought.
I think any person of normal intelligence and mechanical ability, who takes the trouble to familiarize himself with the proper materials and methods of installation, and with the applicable portions of the NEC, is capable of installing residential wiring safely. Trouble is, there are a LOT of people who don't even know that there IS a National Electrical Code, let alone have any idea WHY.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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