It is critical in any wiring project that you match the gauge of the wire with the amperage rating of the circuit. Failing to do so can lead to a fire. A wire's gauge is the physical size of the wire, but the scale is opposite of the wire's circumference. This means that a 2-gauge wire is actually larger than a 14-gauge wire. The size determines how much current can pass through, so the larger wires will be used for your heavier loads.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) dictates that no wiring splices are allowed outside of an approved enclosure. One type of approved enclosure is a junction box. A junction box is simply a standard electrical box that is mounted securely (to house framing or another structure) and contains the splice—the wiring connection—of two or more circuit cables or wires. The cables are secured to the box with cable clamps (or conduit connectors, if the circuit includes conduit), and it must have a removable cover to create a complete enclosure. Junction box covers must remain accessible; they cannot be covered with drywall or other surface material.
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