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Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2835
Experience:  29 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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I need to add an outlet in my attic near where there is an

Customer Question

I need to add an outlet in my attic near where there is an existing junction box. I do not know what that junction box feeds (yet anyway), am I able to add an outlet which feeds from that junction box, while maintaining its original function?
Submitted: 23 days ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 23 days ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Depends on the wires inside the JBox. Some JBoxes contain splices and others are used as a pull box and may not have a splice.

2) Often attic boxes are used to feed a below bedroom and/or hallway. If the JBox contains splices, I recommend to kill power at the bedrooms and hallway circuit breakers. Then obtain a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or a multi-meter and locate a group of black hot wires and a group of white neutral wires. You can then insert the test probes into the wire nut splice and test for voltage when restoring power to each circuit breaker. Once you detect 120 volts, you will now know which breaker controls that box. It is also possible that the JBox may contain more than 1 circuit so keep that in mind.

3) Once confirmed for voltage, you can tap into those splices and extend the circuit for your attic receptacle.

Reply back to me and let me know how you make out and we can take it from there...........Thanks............Kevin:)

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
Ok, here is an update. The junction box in question is a single splice (wire nuts, hot, neutral, ground), and the feed leading away from it is killed off at another junction box about 15' away (gray ROMEX?). So, the feed out of it is going nowhere.I traced the breaker to a 20 amp circuit which is currently powering a series of lights, both inside and outside; a porch light, two garage side lamps, two flood lights, and interior ceiling light, and one 5' run of track lighting. it appears as though the cord feeding the junction box is coming up from out of a wall, along with several others, right above where there is a quad switch plate controlling the aforementioned lights. I have not yet checked the voltage, as I do not have a multi-meter; I will pick one up.So, given the new information, provided the voltage is 120V, can I replace the existing junction box in question (which is dead) with an outlet? If so, I presume it would need to be 20amp? Also, would I want to use a GFCI or just a standard? It's a given that I would replace the existing JB with an appropriate new-work receptacle box; metal or plastic? What I am trying to power, at this point anyway, is one (1) security camera.
Expert:  Kevin replied 23 days ago.

Thanks for the replies

1) Since adding the security camera, that doesn't take much power so you should be OK to tap into the existing circuit.

2) Since a 20 amp circuit, the wires need to be 12 AWG copper which is rated for 20 amps.

3) The receptacle will be inside the attic, therefore, a regular duplex receptacle is fine. Does not have to be a GFCI type.

4) I always use metal boxes. The blue or gray PVC plastic boxes are cheap and easily break. Just install a new 4" x 4" x 1 1/2" deep (1900 type) metal box and use a Garvin cover for the receptacle at the new JBox. Ground the metal box with the bare copper ground wire if using Romex cable. You will need a green threaded ground screw for the metal box. Make up a pigtail and also splice the bare copper ground wire and terminate it to the green ground screw on the receptacle.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.


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