I need small extra wiring to extend from the switch box to the switch. Can I just strip the wires from the 12/2 to do this? Is this against any regulations?

  • why did you only read a part of my comment?
    – jsotola
    Jun 9, 2018 at 7:23
  • Are these wires going to stay inside the switch box, or run over to another box? Jun 9, 2018 at 9:00
  • Why are wires too short?
    – Tyson
    Jun 9, 2018 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


You're talking about a pigtail and it's perfectly OK to shuck down NM cable for pigtails. (or UF cable if outside).

I'm a little concerned your built-in wires are not long enough. The wires should stick at least 3" out of the box, although even that is uncomfortably short. If the box is large enough to get your hands in there, then 6" from entry to the box will suffice, but this too is fairly short. Electricians prefer more like 8".

Pigtails do not count toward box fill.

If you are having trouble physically packing all the wires into the box, then you have definitely exceeded the allowed box fill. It's time for a box extension. A variety of box extensions are made. For boxes sunk into finished walls, try Legrand Wiremold "starter boxes", which give a 1" or 2" lift to allow you to start running surface conduit off them. Don't attach any surface conduit.

If the bulky thing that won't fit is a GFCI+receptacle combo device, you only need one GFCI device per circuit, and it can be located elsewhere. It can go anywhere upstream on the circuit (closer to the breaker panel) - such as another receptacle, a GFCI+circuit breaker combo device, or an added location near the service panel. I do a lot of the last one.

  • Can you cite the code that counts over 12" as another wire in box fill?
    – Kris
    Jun 9, 2018 at 14:26
  • 1
    314.16(B)(1) ... Each loop or unbroken coil greater than 12" counts as two connectors. Your answer seems to imply broken conductors.
    – Kris
    Jun 9, 2018 at 16:51
  • It does. But this is the best I can do for now, won't be near a readable copy of Code for days. I remember seeing it in the last year or so and thinking "oh heck, I gotta review some of my work". Jun 9, 2018 at 18:01
  • @Kris I'm looking at 314.16 now and I do not see it. I thought it was there. Jun 11, 2018 at 3:02

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