What is the best (cheapest/quickest?) NEC compliant way to join two
wires within a wall that will NOT later be accessible without
disturbing the building finish?
The current method I most often see utilized in past construction is to
strip an area of insulation off of a wire without cutting it, twist
another wire around this wire with many loops and finally apply
electrical tape generously.
Please find a counterexamples at:
The Underground connectors can be used without a junction box and in
many cases eliminate the need for heat-shrink, resin packs or
multi-piece corrosion kits. They're perfect for decorative landscape
lighting, lawn sprinkler control systems, sump and well pump
installations and many other direct burial applications.
Hope this helps,
PS: I don't know what the NEC says about using underground connectors
NOT underground but the point is that the NEC doesn't require ALL
connected wires to be in junction boxes. Perhaps I am SOL inside a
Connectors which allow connections within masonry / concrete without a
junction box might also be helpful.
Specific to outdoors/underground applications. I guess the assumption
is outside you can always dig up anything that gets screwed up.
Indoors however different story with respect to destruction of finished
Those aren't "counterexamples" at all of what you asked about.
The NEC <does> require all in-wall connections to be accessible and in a
junction box accessible w/o having to mar the finish. What is allowed
underground or external has no bearing on the question posed.
Whatever the case, electrical tape has no business being used for anything
except a temporary connection. To me, that means a connection you have to
protect while you run out to the hardware store because you ran out of wire
nuts. Or, even better, top quality crimp connectors. Yeah...I know. People
have used electrical tape successfully. But, it's still a cob job.
On 5 Aug 2005 10:20:25 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
You are correct.
Either rewire the whole thing, or place a junction box in the attic or
basement with a new piece of wire from the box to your outlet or
device. Use wirenuts to connect them together, not just tape. Tape
is only allowed if you twist and solder, which is far too much hassle.
There is no code-compliant way to make an inaccessible join, by
You can make the join in a single- or double-size outlet box (which is
properly mounted at the wall surface, as if you were going to put an
outlet there) and cover it with a blank rectangular cover, which you
can then paint or paper to match the wall, or hang a picture over.
Or if the location makes sense for it, you could make the join in an
octagonal box and mount a wall sconce fixture or an AC smoke alarm
(though the latter would technically need to be on its own 14/3 circuit
interconnected with other alarms in the house, I believe.) There are no
"pretty" blank covers for octagonal boxes.
In any case the box needs to be bonded to the circuit's ground wire.
Yeah, we've all seen that, as well as switches and fixtures mounted in
holes in the wall with no box. I don't think it was ever code for
romex, and is the sign of shoddy work. I don't know if it was code in
in knob-and-tube days.
Definitely DO NOT just twist the wires together and wrap with a lot of
I thought there was some connecter that was listed for use where it is
inaccessible. Can't remember where I saw this or remember the
I tried a google search but didn't run across what I was thinking of.
Anybody else know what I might be thinking of?
Simply twisting together two or more 12 or 14 gauge solid wires does not
guarantee a solid connection. Having the junction inside an accessible
box assures the following:
- Room for a clamping device (e.g. wire nut)
- Accessibility for future inspection or repair
- In the event of a connection failure the likelihood of fire spreading
outside the box is reduced
On 5 Aug 2005 10:16:23 -0700, " email@example.com"
Sounds like a great place for a receptacle ;-)
There is a device used in the manufactured home industry that can be
buried in a wall (the AMP Enerflex) but NFPA plugged up the hole in
the code that allowed them to be used in a regular building.
At one time AMP even referenced 1996 NEC 336-21, an article that makes
it "hold your nose legal".
Most inspectors would still have rejected it.
They do not make this reference in their instructions anymore. They
only refer to modular homes now.
I did a lot of remodeling and wiring in my house. I had to change a lot
of existing circuits. I often used switched box, either metal or
plastic with cover. Many times the switch box is inaccessible when I
don't have way to connect two wires in assessable box. Inspector never
told me anything about inaccessible boxes and I don't understand why
they cannot be used. Otherwise I had to rip off entire house to get to
the accessible box where one piece of wire starts.
If the box was hidden, the inspector probably didn't know it was there.
By the way, the NEC was written by "The National Fire Protection
Association". There is something in that name that makes me want to
follow the code as closely as possible, so I can live as long as
possibly. The life I save may be my own. (You may save your own too!)
Not a good place to save money.
A. Probably the inspector didn't say anything because he was unaware of
what you did. Alternatively, he could have just been incompetent, but
that's less likely.
B. The "why" is precisely because of the "in" in inaccessible. It then
becomes not only a problem w/ destroying the finish wall in a house when
there's a problem, it's a hide and seek game to find the location of the
hidden box that has the loose connection in the even there is a
problem--and trust me, there <will> be a problem of some sort at some
point in time.
Inspector did see all junction boxes. I never hid anything from him. I
don't understand why junction box may become a problem. I have 55 years
old house and wiwing was done so-so. However I didn't find any loose
connection in any of the box. If wires are screwed properly using
proper wire nuts I do not see why they may become loose or any other
A. In short, stuff happens...
B. All I can say is I'm amazed any inspector would see junction boxes to
be covered over permanently and let it pass...
C. Think about the poor schmuck who eventually ends up w/ this place and
has no idea where this multitude of additional boxes are?
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