I recently replaced a bathroom extractor fan. The new model uses "quick connect" electrical connectors, where I stick the house wiring into this little plastic device, and apparently that's all! The previous extractor fan used wire nuts in a metal-enclosed space similar to a junction box, but for this new model the wires just dangle out of the extractor fan module, and there's nothing in the instructions about a junction box.

Leaving the wires dangling next to the insulation in the ceiling kinda freaks me out. Is that really what I'm supposed to do, or are the connections supposed to be enclosed in something?

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    You're really asking 2 different questions here - "quick-connect-vs-wire-nuts" and "enclosed in a j-box or not". – brhans Oct 8 '18 at 14:47
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    Some photos of the fan innards would clear some things up. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 14:52
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    And once we have this all figured out, I would consider calling the manufacturer and complaining about their instructions that a) don't match the product, and b) inadequately describe an important part of installation. – longneck Oct 8 '18 at 14:54
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    Hard to say for sure, but it sure looks like there's a "junction box" in that area just to the right of the duct connection. Remove the two screws at the bottom, then lift the cover up. – Hot Licks Oct 8 '18 at 18:40
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    Well, the fan is already installed, so it's not easy for me to take photos, sorry. To be safe, I've installed my own junction box and put the connections in that. Thanks to all who have contributed! – Paul Price Oct 8 '18 at 22:59

All connections must be in a junction box. They're mentioned several times in the instruction manual.

Pull the wire through the hole and into the junction box (not included). Using a quick connector, secure 120 VAC house wiring from the wall switch to the fan as shown in the wiring diagram on page 3.

It is odd that this model doesn't provide an integrated box, but you're expected to provide one. Either that or we're all misled by poorly-written instructions and the connections should be made inside the fan housing as with every other fan ever made. Ever. Be sure to use a strain relief on the knockout (which is also usually included).

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    I'm not terribly confident in this answer, though, because it's a strange case. Add a photo of the inside of the box to your question if you'd like confirmation. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 14:53
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    It's super-confusing because the section that says "Pull the wire through the hole and into the junction box (not included)" has a picture which seems to show the connected wires being put into the fan housing. – JimmyJames Oct 8 '18 at 18:22

Having installed a Hampton Bay myself (Home Depot's in-house brand) I was surprised to hear it didn't have a built-in box (in fact, it would be stranger to find a bathroom exhaust fan that has no box at all). But the manual clearly shows this model DOES have a box. They show it (oddly enough) with armored cabled or conduit, but you can easily do this with NM wire and a NM clamp (you'll need to buy a clamp as they don't supply it). That should be a 1/2" knockout in that cover plate.

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Note that the pictures on the Home Depot site show the hole, but not the plate as depicted here. I suspect they might have redesigned this to where the housing itself unscrews to allow access

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    How do you explain the (not included) language in this case? I'd agree with you except for that, which is why I asked for photos. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 18:14
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    I agree with you it's really confusing. Look at this photo from the HD site. You can see (in the same position as the diagram) a hole in the front, it just doesn't have that metal plate. I could be wrong on this, but my bet is you take part of the housing off and the box is behind that. – Machavity Oct 8 '18 at 18:19
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    @isherwood I went to Home Depot yesterday (their site told me my local one had this model in stock) and the ones they had in stock all had a diagram that showed the door as depicted in the diagram above. I suspect that the image on the website is a previous model and the diagram is correct. I also suspect (since the OP can't tell us or post a photo) that the OP might have gotten an open box. Depot will often restock things with minimal, if any, inspection (once bought an attic fan that had its motor swapped out with a dead one!). I could easily see the plate being missing in that case. – Machavity Oct 9 '18 at 13:39

You're right that the manual is not clear about the junction box. The fan housing itself either has a junction box, or counts as a junction box. If you're using armored cable, then you need to attach the appropriate fitting to the wiring hole on the housing. If you're using NMS cable, then you should use an appropriately sized wire clamp.

  • That doesn't seem to be the case here. I've installed many fans, and they've all had internal junction compartments. Apparently this one doesn't. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 14:50
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    I think you're right. The instructions show a removable cover, but the pictures don't. These instructions are garbage. – longneck Oct 8 '18 at 14:52

ALL wiring connections, whether wire nutted, kerneyed, or push connectors, MUST be made within some kind of junction box. Most bathroom exhaust fans have an internal junction box specifically for this.

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