I'm installing a new bathroom exhaust fan in a first floor bathroom. I removed the old fan, and have the new one, but here's the problem...

The cable is coming out of a joist and the wiring is too short. The wiring in the fan came out of the fan on the joist side. The new fan has the wiring coming out of the fan on the opposite side. It's the same side as the wiring, just on the opposite corner further away.

I figure I have two options... call an electrician and have them run a new wire to a new switch, or get into the wall to do it myself. The room is being painted, so if any drywall repair needs done it's no big deal. But if I end up going into the drywall myself, who knows what other problems I could run into.

Any suggestions?

If that cable was 6-8 inches longer, it would make it to the housing for the connection, which would be to the far left in the picture. Or if I could find a fan that had the electrical connection on the joist side instead of opposite the joist.

romex joist

  • I think you can just replace new fan's wire with a longer one, or take a couple of wire nuts and add a piece of wire to lengthen the wire already there
    – DDS
    Aug 23, 2018 at 13:49
  • It's not really clear what you're asking. You've laid out your options. What do you need us to decide?
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2018 at 13:50
  • 1
    Are you able to see into the adjacent joist cavities? Sometimes removing a staple or drilling a new hole on a straighter path gets you the length you need.
    – isherwood
    Aug 23, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    There are splices rated for in wall usage without an accessible junction box, this sounds like a great application.
    – Tyson
    Aug 23, 2018 at 13:56
  • I didn't think I could add any additional wiring and have it not be accessible in the ceiling behind the fan. Aug 23, 2018 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


As @Tyson mentions in the comments there are devices listed for repair of NM cable such as the Tyco device mentioned in this answer. However it would actually be pretty hard to get that in there, and I believe it's only listed for repair, not for extending.

You can mount a junction box and use that to house a splice to extend the cable. Inacessible junction boxes are not permitted by code (see below.) However this box would be accessible by removing the fan. By most interpretations, that does not count as **removing part of the building. **

It looks like there is room to mount a handy box out of the way of the fan and the existing cabling. If not, you may be forced to remove the drywall.

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

  • 1
    Thank you, batsplaterson. That clears up what "accessible" actually means. My dad suggested this, but I thought by installing the fan and covering the box would make it "inaccessible". I appreciate everyone's replies and input. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Aug 23, 2018 at 15:06

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