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I'm renovating a second floor bathroom. The room is going back to studs. I have easy access through a shaft to the unfinished basement and breaker panel so can put in all new cable and boxes in this room.

One existing junction box, for a ceiling light, is located near an adjacent room and contains a cable going into that room, supplying power there. That junction box is located where there will be no ceiling light in the renovated room (because it's butt up against a wall). The cable going to the adjacent room is short, there are only a few inches to play with in the bathroom. The attic is finished so I can't get into this from there.

What are my options to continue supplying power through this cable to the adjacent room from the renovated bathroom? I am in NJ, USA.

  1. Break open the ceiling in the adjacent room, and maybe a wall too, trace this cable back to the next junction box, and replace it with a longer one. This is the option I want to avoid.
  2. Is there an approved way to connect power to this cable and hide the connection in the wall? I know that is generally not allowed. Are there any exceptions and techniques for any situations? For example anything like the "maintenance free" junctions allowed in the UK?
  3. I could leave the box where it is in the ceiling and cover it with a decorative blank plate. Ugly but probably the easiest and codiest way to do it.

I will have a pro do this work, and will need to follow their advice, and suspect they will choose option 3. I'm looking to understand options at this time so I can design and locate fixtures and things appropriately, and understand my options.

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    @Tetsujin Good question, I am in New Jersey, USA. It's not allowed here, the boxes have to be reasonably accessible without breaking, sawing, dismantling the building.
    – jay613
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 18:49
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    See: diy.stackexchange.com/q/4493/36011 Unfortunately, I did a quick search cannot find the Tyco connector from the top answer there any more, but there may be something else similar on the market if you use the right search terms. Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 19:06
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    @longneck if you want to write an answer suggesting to move the box to an adjacent wall or ceiling where it may be less ugly, but still within reach of the existing cable, it will likely be the best answer. In my case the cable to the next room is MC. Now I've looked at the Tyco and Wago maintenance-free splices. Even if they are allowed I can't use them. :(
    – jay613
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 20:55
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    You can get paintable box covers so you can paint them to match the wall/ceiling they’re on.
    – nobody
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 21:09
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    This is the updated ask/answer from Tester101 on those concealed NM connectors: diy.stackexchange.com/q/89945/36011 Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 16:45

2 Answers 2

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Moving the junction box to a less objectionable position is probably your only option, if you don't want to open the ceiling in the adjacent room.

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    Comments led me to a couple of "maintenance free" splicing devices, one from Tyco and one from Wago. It's not clear the Tyco one is still available, and not clear either one is code-compliant (any more, or ever) in NJ. The Wago one appears to address some European standards. Neither of them can be used with metal clad cable, which is what I have entering this box from the adjacent room. I'll have to find some combination of moving this box (or a replacement one) within the limits of the available cable and painting or disguising the box cover for best appearance.
    – jay613
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 15:25
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An electrician friend in my town once told me our inspectors may make exceptions to allow hidden boxes when they are the most practical approach to certain small repairs but when doing a major renovation of a room they will not make such exceptions.

The situation we discussed was replacing a light fixture and finding the wire insulation severely damaged in the box. In that case, the ceiling could be broken open just enough to install a second box for a splice as near as possible to the fixture, with a note in the original box leading future electricians to the hidden one. He said in that situation the inspector may allow it rather than require you to replace the whole cable.

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