Due to remodeling, I need to move an outlet in my island. The current system is wired as follows: a 12/2 NM wire comes from the circuit breaker box to the first (non-moving) outlet, and a 12/2 wire runs from there to the second outlet. I can't just direct this wire to the new location because it is too short to reach. Also, there is not enough slack to pull the first outlet out to connect a new longer wire.

Therefore, my plan is to cut the wire from the circuit breaker and route it to a junction box. From there, I would run a longer wire to each of the outlets. I tried to verify this was to code, and came up with some questions (everywhere I look for the NEC tells me that copyright prohibits putting it up in its entirety, or what I found was so convoluted that I don't understand it exactly):

  1. Lots of places have said or implied that you can't put a junction box in a cabinet, but others say that it just needs to be accessible, i.e., not behind a wall or cabinet. Can I put a jxn box on the back wall inside the cupboard where I store pots/pans?

  2. Is AC cable required, or can I just use NM? Some sites have said AC is required, but i'm not sure why.

  3. Is there a better plan?


  • 1
    I don't understand what "there is not enough slack to pull the first outlet out to connect a new longer wire" means. Maybe we can avoid the whole junction box altogether if you clarify. Are you saying that the wires inside the box are very short?
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 21:31
  • 1
    The wire running from the circuit breaker to the receptacle box is too short to get the receptacle out of the box. It disappears into the bottom of the cabinet, and I've been afraid to pull too much on it to get slack. I can't get access to the screws on the receptacle to remove the current wire and attach a new longer one. If there's a trick to this, please let me know. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 21:52
  • 1
    Some islands aren't actually attached to the floor. Empty it, and see if you can move it to create some slack. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 22:34
  • 1
    First the NEC is public domain once adopted, you should have no problems pulling up the 2017 NEC, I believe there are many states in process of approval for the 2020 so it should be public domain so I am not sure why you cannot pull it up. What state are you in so we can see what version of the NEC you are on? You can have an accessible junction box in the back of a cabinet, if you have exposed cable in that cabinet metal clad is permitted per NEC 330.10. AC is 320.10 (I stock MC sa it can be used in more areas).
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:08
  • 1
    Code requires every cable terminated at a junction box have 6" of slack inside the box, and 3" beyond the surface of the wall if the box is too small to work inside. So if the cable is too short to get the receptacle out, the cable is already illegal. Further, cables are required to be clamped/strain reliefed on their entry to the box, and the clamp must act on the sheath, not the wires. Fair chance the cable was yanked inward somehow, and the cable's sheath is not in the cable clamp as required. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


First of all, figure out if the original wire is stapled or not. If it isn't then the solution is easy.

CAUTION: Requires work IN the panel. If you are not 100% confident you can do this safely, call an electrician. It's not difficult, but you need to know exactly what you're doing.

  1. Turn off breaker.
  2. Cut pretty close to the box.
  3. Use this slack to do what you need to do upstairs. -- free fixed outlet, new wire to the one you want to move.
  4. Mount a junction box a couple of feet from the panel in the basement.
  5. Find a piece of cable that will reach from the new junction box to the panel. (Maybe there's some old wire we just removed lying around?)
  6. Splice in the junction box, and find someone to connect it back to the panel.
  • 1
    Thanks for the reply. The box is in a walk-in pantry, so it seems that putting a jxn box near it would be a ton of work. The original wire is stapled in the cabinet, but I can remove those. however, I'm not sure about the rest of its run. Also, so I can learn something, what would be the advantage of having the jxn box there instead of the cabinet. Thanks. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:48
  • 1
    Where I come from, Panels are usually in an unfinished area of the basement. Where there's lots of space, and you don't necessarily need to do finish work to make it look good. i.e. I was trying to keep the ugly work where no one cares. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:53
  • 1
    That makes sense. thanks. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:54
  • 1
    On another note -- It might be stapled in the cabinet (where it's somewhat exposed) but have slack in the walls. It might be worth pulling those staples and seeing if you can get enough to do what you need to without the junction. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:55

I'd go in with a Dremel and a cutoff wheel and nip the wires at the screws on the outlet where the wires are short. Then I'd use nuts to extend those wires to a proper length with pigtails and tie in a new run to your moved outlet.

The only reason I don't see this working is if you're in a low-profile box, where you'll not have room for wire nuts behind the outlet.

As far as cable type, if the cable is out of harm's way you can use NM-B, I believe. If not, you'll need to protect it with armor or a chase.

  • 1
    I don't think he's got enough wire in the box to allow for pigtails. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:21
  • 1
    Every jurisdiction I have worked in only allows NM cable to be in open if above 8’ inside cabinets normally AC or MC is required. A wire way is way more work than AC/MC methods.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:24
  • Thanks to both. I'm not sure if the receptacle box has room for pigtails. Also, it's definitely not above 8', so I will have to go with the AC method. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 23:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.