The wires don't appreciate me! (Box too small)
OK I've heard about how brutal this forum is. I've read a few posts and mostly found things to be very interesting and informative--maybe my skin is just thicker than some. Anyways, I've been forwarned so don't hold back--I've got my body armor and a full bottle of JD for comfort at the ready. Let's have some fun with this!
I've been slowly replacing the light switches in my house with classic accents push button switches. Normally it is a simple process: turn off power to circuit, remove cover plate, test to confirm power is off, disconnect old switch, wire in new switch.
This time I was replacing a 4 pole switch. I opened up the tiny single gang box, and what a mess! 5 cables coming in, total of 11 wires plus grounds, 2 of them romex, the other 3 bx. 3 wire nut junctions. I couldn't believe it was all packed into a tiny single-gang box with a big 4 way switch, and the switch I wanted to put in was another 1/4" deeper than the original.
I just wonder what the pros do when they encounter a mess like this. I had several thoughts:
-how can I get a bigger box here to make it all fit (no problem, I replaced it with a double-gang, I used metal and all the bx is still properly grounded)
-aren't there rules about how many junctions of various gauges allowed in so many cubic inches, and how could this possibly have been code?
-To address the excessive junctions in what is after all just a switch box, do I pull new, longer wires to replace the old ones, and run them down into a junction box in the basement (only 5' away)? Or do I just close my eyes and screw the switch plate back on?
Oh, and do the wires appreciate all that new space I gave them? Nope! It was still a painful wrestle to fit it all in and get the cover on ,even with twice the real estate. Sometimes I think I'm just too generous with those wires.