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The outlet for my range hood was misplaced. It needs to be 4 inches to the side. I can make the junction and move the wiring to the new location but I really don't want to have the empty plate exposed.

The wire is not long enough to reach the required location, so I will make a junction in the existing box, and add a new box at the correct location.

Is there any acceptable circumstance where I could tile over the "old" in-wall junction box?

I'm guessing not, but I figured I'd ask.

EDIT: I should clarify, based on the answers below... I know for a fact that this outlet is the only line on this entire circuit, all the way back to the panel. I am asking explicitly if there is any way to acceptably splice the wiring without exposing a junction box.

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@NiallC. Yes, I will need to leave the box in place in order to extend it to the new location. –  Matthew Sep 20 '12 at 15:51
    
@NiallC. I edited my question to hopefully clarify this. I want to extend the run by making a junction in the existing box. –  Matthew Sep 20 '12 at 15:55
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Somewhat related: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/4493/… –  Niall C. Sep 20 '12 at 16:26
    
@NiallC. Good find. That just might do it. I'd have to do more NEC fishing to verify that making the splice with such a device would make the jbox concealable, but my guess would be yes. You should write that up as an answer. –  Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 20 '12 at 21:05
    
@JeremyW.Sherman There was some discussion of this question in DIY chat today, starting here. I'm not entirely sure that they're OK to use in this situation which is why I didn't post an answer. –  Niall C. Sep 20 '12 at 21:09
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You cannot cover any junction box that still has live wires in it. Your best bet is to either remove the box all together or just put a cover plate on it. Your other option is to run a new circuit to the new box and de-energize the circuit to the old box and mark the source wires as "NOT IN USE" at your panel in which case I believe you could cover it over.

If there are live wires in the box, sooner or later you will need to get to the box again, which you can't do if you've covered it over! You'll thank yourself later (as will any future home owner).

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Or just go one step back and obsolete the run from there to the unwanted box, as @bib suggests. If the intervening cable wasn't stapled, you could use it to pull the new cable to the unwanted box; otherwise, things get more…fun. –  Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 20 '12 at 19:41
    
@JeremyW.Sherman the cabling is most definitely stapled. I just installed it last month. –  Matthew Sep 20 '12 at 20:13
    
@MatthewPK Lucky! "I misplaced" versus "some other party misplaced" makes fixing things easier, since you should be aware of the whole run already. Less time wasted on circuit hide-and-seek. –  Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 20 '12 at 21:01
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Depending on how the existing box was wired, you may be able to de-energize it without going all the way back to the panel. And, there is a fair chance that the line from the panel also feeds other devices.

Find the Feed Line - It may be that the line to the range hood is fed from some intermediate box in the circuit. You can try to find this out by opening the circuit breaker that controls the hood and seeing if any other lights, outlets or appliances also lose power. If so, are these closer to the panel than therange hood? If so, there is a good chance the wires to the hood are attache din the box feeding that device. You could also use a circuit tester, but that is a bit more complicated.

Find the Hood Line - If you find another junction box that feeds the hood, you may be able to disconnect the cable that is dedicated to the hood at that earlier junction box. BE SURE THAT ALL WIRES IN THE JUNCTION BOX ARE DE-ENERGIZED! You can use a non-contact tester to confirm before handling any of them.

Also be sure that there are no other devices downstream from the hood (i.e. also powered by the hood line you are disconnecting). It may take some trial and error to find which cable feeds the hood. I would take a picture of the wires, mark each with a masking tape label and carefully experiment (only work on the hots, leave the neutrals alone at this stage).

Disconnect the Hood Line - Once you have identified the cable that feeds the hood (and only the hood), you can disconnect it (now disconnect both hot and neutral). I beleive that in most jurisdictions, you can cap and tape those wires, and label them as not functional. Then you should be able to do the same with the wires in the old hood box and then seal that box up without access. [I am not certain if the Code recognizes this and welcome someone weighing in on/editing this.]

An alternative is to remove the de-energized wires from both junction boxes, but be sure to label them as obsolete so that anyone finding them later understands.

Run a New Line - Now you can run a new line to the new box, either from the old source of the hood power, from some other line that is not overloaded, or as a home run line from the panel.

Seal the Old Box - Once this is done, you should be free to seal up the old box without access.

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This line is home-run directly to the panel. There are no other devices in this entire circuit. –  Matthew Sep 20 '12 at 20:15
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@MatthewPK If the line is accessible in the basement or attic, you might consider an intermediate utility box in the basement and a new line from there. Cheaper and maybe faster than a full home-run. –  bib Sep 20 '12 at 20:30
    
the line travels through a wall and into the attic. I could put a new box in the attic, remove enough drywall to fish it down and over, and connect it back to the panel that way... but this is a tremendous amount of work :( –  Matthew Sep 20 '12 at 20:50
    
The NM cable splice referenced by Niall C. in the comment to the Question does seem intriguing, but not heard about anyone's experience with it –  bib Sep 20 '12 at 20:54
    
@bib I've looked at them, but I've not had a good reason to use one yet. If they can legitimately be used to disappear jboxes, I'm all ears. This question has definitely gotten interesting. :) –  Jeremy W. Sherman Sep 20 '12 at 21:08
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