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  1. #1
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    Default Why all the J boxes

    New home with a gazillion J-boxes in the attic. Why and is it against any codes?

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    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Don't know that I've ever seen a new house wired like this but my guess is that somebody decided to move the panel after the home runs and some or all of the drywall was in.

    There's no rules against using J-boxes like this but the workmanship is pretty iffy.

    I suppose another possibility is that somebody may have installed the boxes and wire in the walls and ran everything into the attic for someone else to figure out how to get power to. All kinds of weird stuff goes on any more.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    That is the way I was thinking. The boxes were on the oposite side of the garage from the panel so I thought maybe they did not plan properly. Just wierd. It was approved in a usually strict area, but we know that is not the end all.

    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    On a quick note, did notice the cables (from my small screen) seemed to not be stapled correctly, more issues could be found if looked closer, me thinks.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    MY first thoughts were:
    The service was moved due to poor planning by any number of people ( the utility , the GC, the EC, or others)
    Possible copper theft. I have heard of homes with garage panels just having the home runs in the garge attic stolen as the house it self was locked but most garages are not during construction.

    There is no code violation as to using the junction boxes.
    The support for those NM cables should be better.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    I'd say some, if not all, of those j-boxes aren't "accessible".

    Others will come along shortly and provide all the excruciating details...

    Dom.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    I'd say some, if not all, of those j-boxes aren't "accessible".

    Others will come along shortly and provide all the excruciating details...

    Dom.
    They are accessible, who ever does access them will not be real comfortable though.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    I'd say some, if not all, of those j-boxes aren't "accessible".

    Others will come along shortly and provide all the excruciating details...

    Dom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rollie Meyers View Post
    They are accessible, who ever does access them will not be real comfortable though.
    In some parts of the country some may consider those as being "accessible", however, once they get back from the chiropractor and get their back strengthened out they will realize that, no, those are not really "accessible".

    Thus, they realize, those junction boxes must be: a) located with the 6 foot "accessible" reach range at the attic access (allowed by many AHJ); b) located where they face down through the ceiling where they will be "accessible" from below (allowed by all AHJ) ; c) located along a proper walkway which is 24" wide and 30" high minimum (allowed by any AHJ, and, yes, I have seen those walkways back to junction boxes in very large attics).

    Otherwise, nope, those are not "accessible".



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    In some parts of the country some may consider those as being "accessible", however, once they get back from the chiropractor and get their back strengthened out they will realize that, no, those are not really "accessible".

    Thus, they realize, those junction boxes must be: a) located with the 6 foot "accessible" reach range at the attic access (allowed by many AHJ); b) located where they face down through the ceiling where they will be "accessible" from below (allowed by all AHJ) ; c) located along a proper walkway which is 24" wide and 30" high minimum (allowed by any AHJ, and, yes, I have seen those walkways back to junction boxes in very large attics).

    Otherwise, nope, those are not "accessible".
    And where is this written - in order to enforce it ?
    The IRC ? The NEC? Some local admendments?
    Curious minds want to know


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Ken,

    It is how this is understood.

    - 314.29 Boxes, Conduit Bodies, and Handhole Enclosures to Be Accessible.
    Boxes, conduit bodies, and handhole enclosures shall be installed so that the wiring contained in them can be rendered accessible without removing any part of the building or, in underground circuits, without excavating sidewalks, paving, earth, or other substance that is to be used to establish the finished grade.
    - - Exception: Listed boxes and handhole enclosures shall be permitted where covered by gravel, light aggregate, or noncohesive granulated soil if their location is effectively identified and accessible for excavation.

    Which is why I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    In some parts of the country some may consider those as being "accessible",
    Then went on to explain why the other AHJ address it differently as I stated.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Exposed unsecured cable and boxes quite close to roof deck.

    Two issues jump forth - protection of wiring from roofing nails;
    and HEAT.

    Excessive, folded upon itself long loops of cable laying upon itself on the rafters just beyond these boxes in the shadows.

    Bundling - unsecured - unprotected - close to roof deck - Voltage Drop, Bundling, again HEAT.

    Unconditioned attic, condensation, Damp location - HEAT.

    How "NEW". See something in the foreground - looks like a propane tank caddy - appears either not so "new" and some DIY or post final "work" or if new and no C of O yet applied for, developer waiting for buyer for final "spec built" selected options on garage and attic/storage/convertable finish loft? to finalize.

    Big question - is the wiring in those small boxes "hot"? (perhaps not!).
    The larger box has marker label on it - can't make out what it says - might be a clue.

    As to the "why" Depends. Sorting out or extend circuits for a planned finishing or conversion of the attic space and/or modify or finish "garage" - labeled sleeves would be the usual practice for temp/pre-wire.

    That might explain the use of SG boxes with long excessive now runs of cable off to the background looped around. Perhaps plan to fish down through "attic floor" and drop receptacles/switches, etc. to the garage walls, and in the interim attic floor to be insulated and the "contractor" and "electrician" didn't want the insulation contractor to damage. Perhaps those long loops of cable were strung up previously as well? Perhaps also the attic ceiling was drywalled and the "electrician" has yet to zip access for things such as garage door opener, etc.

    As far as access/distance from the scuttle or stair - would like to know proximity as well as if there is a permanent stair installed.

    Bottom Line - cable & boxes too close to roof deck could be piereced by a roofing nail; unsecured - could be dragged/moved across one of the roofing nails seen in the pic; See no insulation in the attic - (even OK would require insulation, right?): So to answer your "why" question, My guess is that it looks like a work in progress - no final electrical or Certificate of Occupancy YET.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-13-2010 at 05:04 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    "Unconditioned attic, condensation, Damp location "

    So now an attic is considered a "Damp Location".

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    "Unconditioned attic, condensation, Damp location "

    So now an attic is considered a "Damp Location".
    It would appear from the opinions on "Damp Locations" here that NM-B can't be used to wire residences any more unless you can figure out how to keep it all in the walls.

    Sometimes the NEC guys just don't know when leaving language alone is a good idea


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    I knew the cables were not properly secured, I was more curious about anything to do with the J-boxes such as the accessability issues that were brought forth. It did already have the C of O and had been lived in for 6 months. The reason for not having insulation is that the areas in the pic are over the attic and front entryway.

    I am leaning towards someone stole the copper wiring and that was as far as they went to cut it out. Thanks for the info, I appreciate it.

    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  15. #15
    Bob Vennerbeck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    The Sharpie-labeled larger junction box appears to say 'Range - Oven' - if that is truly the case, is that cable the correct gauge for the installed breaker and appliance?

    Bob Vennerbeck


  16. #16
    Brian Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    I have seen modular homes have junction areas in the attic. Maybe they dont look exactly like this, but I thought I would mention it.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    It would appear from the opinions on "Damp Locations" here that NM-B can't be used to wire residences any more unless you can figure out how to keep it all in the walls.

    Sometimes the NEC guys just don't know when leaving language alone is a good idea
    Location conditions for the LISTING and the LISTING/Standard definitions have been around for a long time. The NEC is simply reiterating the Listing LIMITATIONS for the cable assembly, NEC limitations to using/installing equipment in accordance with its LISTING and manufacturer's instructions also been around for a long, Long, LONG time.

    UL White Books and Wiring Guides have been free to Electricians for a long, long time. Seems some just didn't and don't bother to consult them.

    Ambient temps of attics, especially above the thermal envelope and UP NEAR THE ROOF DECK where solar gain can play havoc, are OFTEN quite high as well (well in excess of 60 degrees C). NM-B as an assembly 60 degrees C - Jacket holds in heat from the conductors that's why that teflon-like conductor insulation has to be up at 90C heat from the conductors and ambient cook it within the jacket - add a too-tight staple or other "pinch" and it really cooks under the plastic jacket - ambient temps up near/just under the roof deck OFTEN can exceed 140 degrees in an Oklahoma Summer - 160-165 F easy. Add a hot tin roof and you're frying - cool night temps or a cold front and there will be condensation.

    This attic space has NO INSULATION as confirmed by subsequent post - do you see ventillation? I don't, so you see a moisture/vabor inhibitor from the conditioned side? I don't - I see empty joist cavities and rafter bays.

    140 degrees F = 60 degrees C
    165 degrees F = 74 degrees C
    196 degrees F = 90 degrees C

    If this area is immediately above (as indicated by subsequent post) a foyer - and with those long lengths in the shadowed background would make sense that the 6 mos. occupant has some pre-wired options (to be moved) for some lighting design - or perhaps for some heat cables for the uninsulated attic/HOT in the winter roof for all those freezing rain/snow induced ICE DAMS - may also be plans to add a wall where the attic is not over the foyer/stairs and finish a loft space separate from this more restricted by height area.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-15-2010 at 11:01 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Why all the J boxes

    Looks like Sparky getting rid of scrap leftover wires.


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