I generally do my own electrical work but needed to upgrade my service from 100A to 200A so I hired someone. I had them add some outlets to my garage while they were at it because I was feeling lazy.

Today I decided to add more outlets and noticed they used low voltage brackets rather than the enclosed junction boxes I always use. I am assuming this is a code violation, but before I complain I wanted to ask here. I live in California if that matters.

115V outlet through low voltage frame

  • 2
    Yeah, line-voltage devices must be in enclosed, UL-approved boxes. This ain't cool. I'm sure one of our resident sparkies will come along and cite code for us. There are boxes that mount in a nearly identical fashion that would do just fine. Heck, they probably even cost the same.
    – isherwood
    Jun 18, 2017 at 0:33
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    Curious... was "someone" a licensed electrician? If not, (s)he probably broke the law doing this work. Only the homeowner can do wiring without a license.
    – isherwood
    Jun 18, 2017 at 0:34
  • 1
    I would have someone competent also look at the panel change. Yikes! SMH... The line voltage boxes which are correct, are themselves dirt cheap. Even in comparison to the "expensive" metal boxes which are about a buck. Going all steel for a whole house might cost an extra $70. There's just no money to be saved there, I don't understand why someone would do that. Jun 18, 2017 at 2:48
  • 2
    Making your original panel into a sub is a good idea. The bulging is insanely wrong! Either he does not understand how that cover goes on, or he is pinching a lot of wires. Also, when converting main to sub, you must split out all the hots and neutrals and isolate them from each other -bet he didn't. Jun 18, 2017 at 3:13
  • 1
    Grounds and neutrals, not hots and neutrals. If you open it up (don't), the grounds should all go to one bar, connected to the case and the incoming ground wire. The neutrals should go to another bar, connected to the incoming neutral wire. The grounds and neutrals should not be connected together. Jun 18, 2017 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


What sort of joker did that?

Clearly, whichever joker did that needs to be sent back to their apprentice electrician's training, because line voltage connections need to be in a box! If you see them around again, be sure to thwap them upside the head with NEC 300.15 for me, OK? (P.S. none of the exceptions in 300.15(A) through (L) apply to this situation.)

300.15 Boxes, Conduit Bodies, or Fittings - Where Required. A box shall be installed at each outlet and switch point for concealed knob-and-tube wiring.

Fittings and connectors shall be used only with the specific wiring methods for which they are designed and listed.

Where the wiring method is conduit, tubing, Type AC cable, Type MC cable, Type MI cable, nonmetallic-sheathed cable, or other cables, a box or conduit body shall be installed at each conductor splice point, outlet point, switch point, junction point, termination point, or pull point, unless otherwise permitted in 300.15(A) through (L).

  • I'm wondering how I should proceed with this. I have already paid them and the work was completed last week. Should I complain and have them fix it? Complain but fix it myself? Something else? For whatever it's worth, the only reason I noticed this is because I added more outlets myself and then tapped into their work which might make them unhappy if they come back out.
    – Ryan
    Jun 18, 2017 at 1:42
  • 3
    @Ryan They have no reason to be unhappy, but you do-you caught them doing sub-standard work.
    – Tyson
    Jun 18, 2017 at 2:06
  • It's your house and you literally have a right to extend your wiring if you want to. Of course your AHJ might chime in and say "you guys did pull a permit for those jobs, right?" Jun 18, 2017 at 2:50

Honestly, I would make a beeline to the town office. (After discreetly removing my extension if unpermitted).

Because the electrical inspector/permit issuer needs to know about this. First, they need to know that this guy out there making messes, so to watch out for him.

And second, you have to ask if he filed for a permit for the work he did to your house. If he did pull a permit, then the inspector really dropped the ball on the inspection, and he needs to know that.

If he did not pull a permit, you're in a bad spot because you now have unpermitted work in your house. That could blow up in your face when you go to sell the house, at which point it will be much too late to seek recourse from the "electrician", and you will be left holding the bag.

That is why I would make this thing blow up now, while he can be held responsible for doing the job right. You want the job done right and you want the inspector to sign off on it. Honestly I think the inspector has the best chance of putting leverage on him.

  • They did pull a permit for this project and that was signed off early this week. My only concern is removing the extension I made will be rather labor intensive and somewhat impossible because I removed a previously-existing outlet that used a cut-off extension cord and turned that into pseudo-romex. That outlet was there when I bought the house.
    – Ryan
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:11
  • Just roll it back far enough that it's plausibly deniable that it's old work. It will certainly be apparent that it's not his work! LOLOL! Jun 18, 2017 at 3:15
  • I can do that I suppose. None of the new outlets will work because they were going to be tied into the new circuit. I guess I can tie them into something else.
    – Ryan
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:30

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