Why Should You Cover a Junction Box?

Written by pamela tabar
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Why Should You Cover a Junction Box?
Junction boxes come in several shapes and can be used for outlets or hard-wired fixtures. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A junction box is a metal or plastic box where several electrical wires are brought together. Wires that are not needed for a current fixture or outlet are capped with individual screw-on caps and tucked inside the junction box. All junction boxes, even those with wires that are not currently in use, should be covered with a close-fitting plate of metal or plastic, using screws to affix the plate to the wall. Uncovered junction boxes are exposed to risks of water and humidity corrosion and are a danger to anyone touching them.

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Protection From Electrocution

An uncovered junction box poses a shock risk. The wire ends may be capped, but the wires are still carrying electrical current as long as the circuit is switched on at the breaker box. Covering the junction box prevents accidental touching of the wires and keeps the end-caps intact. A secure cover also prevents infants and curious children from exploring the wires and possibly electrocuting themselves.

Why Should You Cover a Junction Box?
Cover junctions boxes to prevent accidental shock. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Protection From Pests

Uncovered junction boxes invite chewing insects and rodents to nibble on wire sheaths and caps. If the wire sheaths or end caps are compromised, the live wires may touch each other, causing a short circuit or even a fire.

Why Should You Cover a Junction Box?
Usealed junction boxes, especially outdoors, provide easy access for pests. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Protection From Water Hazards

Junction boxes located in a bathroom, near a sink or laundry machine or outdoors are at risk from water and humidity. Cover junction boxes In these areas with a gasketed plate to prevent water from getting inside the box accidentally.

Why Should You Cover a Junction Box?
Covers outfitted with gaskets help to seal junction boxes from water damage. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Protection From Code Violations

Ensure that covered junction boxes remain accessible. The National Electrical Code requires that junction box covers be removable and not be hidden behind permanent walls or ceilings.

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