Junction box

The house I inspected to had a sub panel under the kitchen sink. When I open it was junction box. Is there a height requirement on junction boxes?



No height requirement on junction boxes. They are only required to be accessible. The definition of accessible in the code does not include words like “easy” or “fun”. There are a couple of apparent violations in that picture, such as the 2" connector is not okayed for 12 romexes, the cable do not appear to be fastened within 12" of the box, and the box does not appear to be bonded with the largest equipment grounding conductor that enters the box. The equipment grounding conductors only appear to be twisted, with no mechanical splicing means.

Just so it’s accessible.

You could point out the missing KO seals and the sloppy way the Romex is coming in the box. (not stapled within 12", the big “cludge” in one connector etc).

That is pretty common with the old fuse boxes. Most of the time the electricains just removed the bars, spliced the wires and closed up the old box.

Old service equipment (from the picture) under a kitchen sink, now used as a junction box.

My first question. Why the heck did they put a panel under the kitchen sink?

"Oh, I just had an old panel around and didn’t feel like running down to Home Depot and paying $3 for new junction box, so I used the old one.

Under a kitchen sink is a “wet location”. If anyone disagrees, I would suggest that you spend some time down there.

I guess that it is just a matter of how much danger the client wants to accept.

“Gee, Mom. I just went to put something under the sink, but I got shocked.” :mrgreen:

Question? Did the panel have a dead front or was it just open?

That’s screwball talk. Under the kitchen sink is not a wet location. If it’s wet under there, it’s a leaky location. Have the leak repaired.

With all due respect, how many kitchen faucets have you changed out?

How many P traps have you changed? How many grease clogs have you rodded? How many dishwasher drains have you replaced? How many backsplashes have you caulked?

You just do electric. How many panels (which is what this is, even though it is only being used as a “junction box”) have you found under a kitchen sink?

Under the kitchen sink is a wet location.

Trust me. :shock:

By your definition any receptacle near a window is a wet location.

I agree with William. Doesn’t seem to be the safest location for an electrical junction box. Sometimes, sooner or later, most sinks will leak. I wouldn’t want my child messing around under there, and I would certainly call it out for any client paying me to inspect their home, regardless of what code says. Marc, what is the difference between a “wet” location and a “leaky” location. Under “redundant” in the dictionary is says “see redundant”!

It may be a poor choice but that is a design problem, not a “wet location” problem.

It’s a dumb location for a junction box, but certainly not a prohibited location.

Again, we have to note a big difference. Home Inspectors are not Code inspectors.

Electricians only have to follow code.

Home Inspectors have a much greater liability. We have to inspect to standards of common sense. If somecan get hurt, they probably will get hurt, and then they will sue us.

Electricians can just point to “code” and they get off the hook.

Different job, different standards, different liability.

I would simply call it out as a safety concern, and recommend moving the box, regardless of what “code” had to say. Too many bad things can happen (ie. children getting into the box, water, etc.). That covers me and the homeowner is made aware of the concern. Then the monkey is on their back to fix it or not.

Yeah, it would be nice for you guys if you had an SOP that had the rule of law. It makes me wonder why anyone would want to be a home inspector? Is there any money in it? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any palacial homes occupied by home inspectors. I guess it’s a calling?

There are some inspectors here that do 60 per month @ $300 each. Some are multiple inspector companies that do way more than that. Go figure. http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/23/23_11_61.gif


There is municipal law (common, and changes very easily, just by crossing a street), criminal law and common, litigation law. What do you mean by ‘force of law’.

Of these, I can only get in trouble through civil litigation law (unless I strangle the client).

I work in 92 different municipal code AHJs with 92 different 'standards of practice", (which is NOT the same thing as different ‘codes’) and none of them comply, completely, with the NEC, which is an assocaition ‘recommendation’ and does not have the ‘rule of law’, and most of them are in direct contradition oe each other. Go figure.

In any case, electricians are not policemen and have no authority. At least, in Illinois, electricians do not have state licenses, and, in many cases, only need to have a local business license, which requires no testing or rules of compitence. This is because the electricians union wants it that way.

So, every week, I see crappy work, with electrical systems that are dangerous and could get people killed.

Case in point:

New construction, in The City of Chicago. 3 x 3 condo building.

Called out that 4 neutrals, in the unit’s (3rd floor, with the service equipment in the basement) distribution panel, were connected to the bonded ground bus, and not the floating neutral bus. Easy to fix.

The code inspectors missed this. Big friggin’ help they are. Most of them never even remove thd dead front during the inspection. Takes too long.

Went back, for the pre-closing walk through. The project’s ‘electrician’ (a 20 year old hispanic kid, speaking broken English,)had no idea what I was talking about. He had a license.

I took 45 minutes explaining to him about serivce equipment and distribution equipment and grounding and bonding and why there where 2 double tapped breakers in the unit’s panel (NEW CONSTRUCTION, with 8 open spaces on the panel, fer gosh sakes!!!) thay weren’t right. He was very thankful that I explained to him the ‘right way’ to do things.

This is in the freakin’ City of Chicago!!!

I serve my client and their safety and really don’t give a care about what ‘has the force of law’.

It’s about safety and keeping the client safe.

Home inspectors, at least in Illinois, have a legal fiduciary responsibility.

Electricians don’t.

That pretty much says it all.

Hope this clarifies the matter.

BTW: In Illinois, the Home Inspector law DOES have the force of law. State law.

Local codes are just local and the NEC has no force of law.

Not that I like that, but that is the fact.

60 a month? 3 a day? You must not be looking at much.

If concern of installing electrical installations under “leaky” locations was/is a safety issue, more would be done to prevent leaks, as we see many leaks in dwellings. Some of the leaks will travel more than just under a sink, and can create damage 2 stories below. That is the “*what if” *scenario, of which no one can account for. I hope that HIs are not responsible for those types of situations, otherwise I would think it would be a horrible profession to work in.

In case many have not noticed, there are more and more electrical appliances being installed under sinks today than ever before. This certainly does not make it a “hazardous” location as some here have mentioned. As the installation is properly installed, there should not be much of a safety hazard from water…the CB will open if the water creates much of a hazard.

I have been in construction for more than 30 years and have seen many situations, one should not be overwhelmed by the topic above.