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Author Topic: Wire a new light from existing switch  (Read 6531 times)
cowatson
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« on: February 27, 2008, 04:06:43 PM »

Hello,

I have a light switch that is connected to a outlet on the other side of the room.  I would like to add a ceiling light that runs off that switch.  The switch is on an interior wall and the crawlspace is above the ceiling for that room, so I think running the wires won't be hard.  My question is is it that simple to run wires from the switch to the new light?  The wires I need to run are the hot, load and ground?  And where does the ground on the new light connect too?

Thanks!

Court
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 05:14:00 PM »

Hello Court,

How hard the wire is to run varies greatly depending on the house, each one is different. If you do have a crawl space above the area that you can access you should be able to drill the top plate of the wall above the switch and fish the wire into the box. Can’t say for sure if it will be easy or not, when fishing wires though walls the only thing you can do is plan it out and go for it, some are easy, some are not.

The first thing you will need to do is find out where the circuit is feed from, if the switch only has one cable in it than it is feed from the outlet and there is only a switch leg at the switch. If the feed is at the switch it will be easier than is the feed is at the receptacle, but it can be done either way.

Do the following:

1)   Turn of the power to that circuit and double check to make sure all the power to the circuit you are working on is off. When you do it take note to the size of the circuit breaker is the wire you will need depends on what size circuit breaker that the circuit is controlled by. If it is a 15 amp breaker you can use 14/2 romex. If it is a 20 amp breaker you need to use 12/2 romex.

2)   With the power off open the switch and see how many cables are in the box, keep in mind that each cable has 3 wires in it. Also locate the outlet that the wire from the switch goes to.

3)   Next post back and tell me what you find.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2008, 05:17:14 PM by JP » Logged
hdexpert
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Posts: 6


« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 08:05:25 AM »

Hi Jp, I was going to start a new post but found this one that covers my question. My house was built in 1978 with very few overhead lights. I want to add a few and have the access to do so. My wiring question is this; how do I tie into my wall switch that controls one outlet in the room. It only has one wire coming in and one going out so I'm assuming it's a switch leg. Any help would be great!!! Thanks!!!
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 03:56:30 PM »

Hello hdexpert and welcome,

You can do it one of two ways,

1) You could run a cable from the switched outlet to your new fixture.
or
2) You could run a cable from the switch to your new fixture and either keep the outlet switched or rewire to make it hot all the time.

Let me know which way you want to go and I'll work up a diagram for you.
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hdexpert
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Posts: 6


« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 06:30:12 PM »

Hi JP and thanks for the quick reply!!! I think it'll be easiest for me to run a wire off the switch. Can I just run a single hot leg off the switch and pull a nuetral leg from another source in the attic? Thanks!!!
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 07:24:32 PM »


If you only have one cable at the switch with no splices in the box it is just a switch leg. You don't want to get neutral from another location it sure would not be the right way to do it.

What you can do is rewire the switch leg cable in the outlet and make it your feed, than run another cable from the switch to your light.
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hdexpert
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2008, 01:43:46 PM »

How do I rewire the switch leg cable in the outlet to correct the problem? Thanks!!!
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JP
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2008, 09:43:06 PM »

Turn off the power to the circuit and remove the screws the hold the receptacle in, but do not disconnect any wires.

How many romex cables are coming into the box?

Also are both the top and bottom of the outlet switched? or just one of them.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 09:47:25 PM by JP » Logged
hdexpert
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Posts: 6


« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2008, 05:08:04 PM »

JP,

There are three romex cables in the box with only one outlet being switched.
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JP
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2008, 08:00:31 PM »


Alright here is what you need to do:

1)   Turn power off to the circuit.
2)   Once you are sure that the power is off remove the switch and cap off the wires with wire nuts.
3)   Next remove the outlet and splice all the hot/black wires together with a 6 inch piece of black wire.
4)   Do the exact same thing for the neutral and ground wires. You just made what we consider a pigtail.
5)   Now connect the 6 inch pieces of wire to the outlet, the hot on the side with gold screws, the neutral to the silver screw and also the ground.
6)   Than install the outlet back in the wall.

You have just changed the romex cable in the switch box to a feed instead of a switch leg. DON’T install the switch back into the box! It won’t work it will only trip the breaker.

Now you are ready to run your cable from the switch box to your new fixtures. Once you have your cables run and fixtures installed you can install a switch, splice your neutral wires together, connect both black wires to the switch one on each screw. Splice your grounds together and connect to the ground terminal of the switch and the box if it is metal.

Once everything is installed you can turn the power back on and test your work.
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hdexpert
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Posts: 6


« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2008, 07:39:21 AM »

Thanks for all the help JP, you provide an excellent service!!! I'll let you know how the job turns out.
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hdexpert
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Posts: 6


« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 09:52:09 AM »

Hi JP,

The job is done and all is well, except for the fact that only one of the two recepticles works. Does it matter if the wires are attached to the top or bottom screws? Thanks!!!
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JP
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Posts: 363



« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 02:31:00 PM »

Since it was a switched receptacle they most likely removed the factory jumper that connects both screws. That way only one is switched while the other is hot all the time.

You can either connect to both screws or just buy a new receptacle. Either will work.
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