I have some open beams left exposed for decorative reasons. These beams will have ceiling fan/lights mounted to the bottom of the beams. The wiring will be ran atop the beams in grey PVC conduit, mostly out of sight. Then they reach a makeup box atop the beam (proper grey PVC exposed boxes), and drop through a hole to the light.

I could mount the light directly to the beam, and use the hole itself as a makeup box. This obviously isn't code.

I considered these:

enter image description here

But if I use something like that, the lights wouldn't be tight against the beam, as these are designed to be sunk into sheetrock.

Is there some code where I could, IDK, wire my wire nuts and encase them in something compact so I could push them back up into the wood hole?

The wood hole is square, about 1.5"x1.5" (I'm not on site to measure, but I think it's a stud width). Plenty of space to contain my wire nuts, and the only thing preventing me from just mummifying them on electrical tape is I know that's against code.

Technically they do have junction boxes. They are just at the top of the beam, six inches away? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • 2
    To be code I think you have to run the wires of the light though the beam in conduit to the junction box and make your connections there.
    – crip659
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:14
  • 1
    @crip659 Exactly. A 6" metal piece of conduit that connects to the light fixture on the bottom and the metal box on top. Don't try this with a plastic box. Dec 27, 2022 at 15:21
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Can I use grey pvc electrical conduit?
    – Jamin Grey
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:31
  • 1
    If the lights/fans are mounted to the beam it should be okay. Mounted(hanging from) with the PVC is probably not.
    – crip659
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:37
  • 1
    @isherwood OP ask if they could make connections not in a junction box but in the hole in the wood.
    – crip659
    Dec 27, 2022 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


To make the wiring legal, the connection has to be approved for inside the housing of the light (see manual), or in an approved junction box such as the half-depth box you show.

You cannot leave wire connections inside a wooden channel. An inspection will likely not reveal this as a flaw if it's hidden, but an insurance underwriter will want to know why there was an improper connection inside a flammable channel.

The wiring does not need a conduit through the wooden channel.

Your options are to make a connection outside the channel, at either or both ends, or to make the junction inside a legal connector within the channel.

For connections inside the channel you can use an in-line junction box as is available for (buried) outside wiring. It's totally overkill, also considering the cable upgrade needed to exit and enter the junction, but it's legal. Make sure it's installed with sufficient wire slack so that it can be pulled out.

Here's an example, and there are others available at your local store. When purchasing on-line make sure it is UL or cUL as applicable.

enter image description here

Image: https://www.amazon.ca/ look for Junction-Waterproof-Electrical-Connector-External

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