You may be right, it might be 16" inches. It's been a while since I've
torn any walls out.
I might check when I get home. If I recall correctly, I can see the
back of a bedroom wall from the access panel for the shower.
On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:46:01 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
Make you access hole ~6" round and a floor box cover will fit when you
decide you want one. You can put a couple screws in it and still be
"accessible". The only time you need a "no tool" entry is when
something has to be "readily accessible" (different thing)
The NEC uses the wording readily accessible. That means you need to be
able to get to it without damaging the building. So if your access panel
is easily removable (hinged, pull out without cutting, damaging or
disturbing anything etc) you are good. Visibility is not a requirement
for what you described.
What I would like to hear is the word "screwed".
If a plywood panel is screwed across the joists to cover the hole,
would removing the screws be considered "disturbing" anything?
Should I just lay the plywood (maybe 12" x 16") in the opening and not
screw it down? Maybe add a small hole to make it easy to remove?
If this is only a crawl-accessible attic space, what difference does it
make about having a solid surface in the end, anyway?
I'd just make the access room needed, install the (metal) junction box
w/ whatever blocking scheme is simplest facing up and flush or just
under the flooring height and use a metal cover plate and be done...
The possible fly in the ointment is that you may need two or a larger
than just a square box if you're having to cut into a run as there
possibly won't be sufficient extra length in the existing run to make
only a single junction...if it's the end of a run or you have access
from another junction point that's simpler.
The hole we made is bigger than just for the junction box. We opened
the floor above the fan/light we are installing to make it easier to
feed the wires from the source and switches into the junction box that
is built into the fan. That's when we discovered that the source wires
would barely reach into the fan. and besides even if they did reach,
the cloth insulation at the ends was breaking down from heat, movement
etc. I decided to cut them back about a foot to good clean insulation,
install the junction box and run new romex to the fan. That way I have
no cloth covered wire in the fixture.
I'd prefer not to leave the hole above the fan and junction box open
in case someone crawls back there or decides to store something back
there. It's right around a dark corner and I can imagine someone
putting a hand in the hole and hurting themselves or the fan.
Installing the junction box flush with the floor might be possible,
but the old source wire runs under a wall into the finished space
where it's stapled or attached to the joist in some manner. I don't
have a lot of room or much slack. I'm really reluctant to disturb the
old wire any more than I need to because of it's condition. Cutting it
back and adding the junction box in line with the existing wire is
about as much as I want to do. Trust me, if you saw what I was up
against, I think you'd agree.
I think I'll go with a drop-in panel, marked to note that there's a
junction box below and add 2 finger holes marked with "Lift Here To
I cut the floorboards back to the center of the joists, so once the
panel is dropped in, it can't fall out, tilt or shift, With that
solution, the junction box and fixture will be accessible from above.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I like the idea of making the box itself directly accessible from the
attic floor, using an extender on the box if necessary to bring it up
to the attic floor level, and then using a regular solid cover on the
box so it is fully covered but easily accessible. In my attic, I did
that, but used a cover with a cutout for an duplex outlet so I have
an easy place in the attic to plug in a trouble light.
You can, if the floorboards are removable. Nail them in place, and you have a
Visibility isn't the issue, it's accessibility.
The NEC says that all junction boxes must be "accessible" and defines that term
"capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or
not permanently closed in by the structure or finish of the building."
A junction box located behind a removable solid steel panel, although concealed
sight, is still accessible and therefore Code-compliant; a box behind a clear
which has been cemented in place is visible but not accessible and therefore not
Do screws equate to nails in this instance?
Even though I'm planning on going with a drop-in plywood panel that
will just rest on the joists, I'm still curoius...
Is an access panel secured by screws allowed or does "removable" imply
no tools required?
BTW, the drop-in panel will have a finger hole so that no tools, such
as pry bar, will be required to remove it. We'll let gravity hold it
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