A junction box – as its name suggests – is a box enclosed in plastic. Also called an IP box it is used to cover electrical wires. It is mounted on walls or flat surfaces. An electrical junction box houses the connection of two or more cables. In technical jargon these connections are called splices. Conduit fittings and cable clamps are used to secure cables to the boxes. A junction box also includes a cover. The cover encloses the wires inside the box safely. One important point to remember is these junction boxes must be placed in an easily accessible location always. Even a junction box should never be covered with drywall or any other surface material. This box happens to be an important component of your property’s electrical system. It eliminates the risk of fire hazards and also protects your electrical connections.
Now that the introduction part is over let us get in business. In the following sections of this article let us explore how to install an electrical junction box. To make topic easier to understand let us break up the task into a number of steps. But before that let us understand the dangers that lay in incorrect installation of a junction box.
Incorrect installation of a junction box and hazards associated with it
Lot of people prefer installing their electrical junction boxes DIY on their own. If in case the installation is done incorrectly then that may lead to several hazards. Every of these boxes must be installed complying with the National Electrical Code. It is vital to follow this particular code. When you follow the code you and your property are easily protected from electrical hazards and risks. Incorrect installation of a junction box may lead to a number of severe hazards. For example too many wires should never be crammed into a box. This increases the risk of overheating and short circuits. In extreme cases this may even lead to electrical fires.
It is also important to make sure that the box fits properly to the drywall. Else materials like wood may easily get exposed. This is how sparks may develop. To cut a long story short, if an electrical junction box is not properly installed you along with your family, staffs, business and property are actually trapped in a vulnerable state.
Things you should be aware about before installing an electrical junction box
Before you get on to installing a junction box it is important to be aware about certain things or facts.
- While installing an electrical junction box you can easily use the holes that pre-exist and hold the existing box in place. Mount the new junction box and also secure it to the surface wall using those holes.
- You have to twist the exposed ends of the wires of the same colour together. You may need a pair of pliers to get this task done easily. When you are connecting multiple wires then using a wire nut is a sensible idea.
- At the time of sealing the junction box you have to push all the wires inside it. Once this is done it is time to turn the power on again and test the electrical system.
- You also need a wire stripper says an expert having years of experience in electrical box installation. The tool enables you strip about ¾ inch of casing insulation at the end of every wire.
Installation of electrical junction box
- Select the right box that caters to all your needs
The first thing about installing an electrical junction box is to select the right item that caters to your needs. A junction box that is installed outdoors requires some level of waterproofing to be longer lasting in extreme weather conditions. One ideal product in this context is the NEMA 4X. This one is specifically meant for outdoors. It comes with gaskets which prevent seeping in of moisture. Moisture seeping in your junction box may result in sparks and fire. By using this range of products you minimise that risk to a great extent.
The size of the box is also to be taken into consideration. Remember that a junction box must be spacious enough compared to the number of wiring connections you want to nest inside it. A small box can join hardly a pair of cables whereas a large one can splice nothing less than four to six cables. If you are ever confused about the right size of a junction box, play it safer and smarter by going with the larger one to ensure successful installation suggests a professional in London having years of experience in wiring an electrical junction box.
- Necessary safety precautions to take
Before making any kind of electrical installation you must turn the power off in that circuit. How do you turn the power off? Access the electrical service panel and manually pull off the right circuit breaker. This ensures you are safe from electrical shocks and other electrical hazards while working. Even when you switch off the correct circuit breaker in the panel box yet it is not always possible that the power has completely left the wires in the circuit. So you need using a non contact voltage tester. The device warns you when any voltage is left in the wires.
- Equipments you need to work smoothly
You need a few specific equipments and materials to install an electrical junction box. Here is the list of the items below.
The equipments that you need include the following –
- A non-contact voltage tester
- Wire strippers
- A Screwdriver
- A pair of pliers
- Drill-driver and screwdriver tip
According to an expert on wiring outdoor junction box the materials that you need are
- Cable clamps
- The electrical box with cover (the box must be approved by your existing local code)
- Wire connectors
- Wood screws
The mounting process
Before you mount the junction box separate the wires at their current splice. If required you may also have to loosen the cables. This helps you make room for the new installation. Use screws to secure the box to the surface. Use the holes that already exist to screw up the box to the wall. These holes are present either at the sides or at the back of the box.
A clamp is required for each cable that passes into the box. There is no metal discs in plastic junction boxes although there will be internal cable clamps. You also have to secure the cables. Push the cables carefully through the clamps; make sure you are not pushing those through the box warns an expert who performs junction box wiring connection over the years. Once the cables are secured in place you should pay attention to the condition of the wires. The end of each wire must be straight and damage-free. Next, you have to join the wires. You do this using wire connectors that are approved by the manufacturer of the junction box. In the last step you have carefully place the wires into the junction box and make sure there is enough space left inside.