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Old 02-03-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


Hi. Iím along time reader & this is my first post to this board. I am a novice DIYer. I do a lot of reading on electricity and understand general basic concepts but the extent of my experience is changing several outlets, switches and fixtures. Hopefully you guys can help me with my scenario.

I have a room, about 9 X 15, which can be accessed from 2 different entry points. The room is an addition to the home, built at least 30-40 years ago on top of a crawl space, and only has two surface mounted (not flush) receptacles, located by each door. There is no overhead lighting, and I assume that there is no wiring in the walls and ceilings for a switched light. Iím assuming that the previous owners lit the room with desk and floor lamps.

I want to add some type of lighting but do not want to start with opening walls & ceilings and then need to patch and paint them up. I can come up with two possible options. One is to convert one of the outlet boxes to a junction box and run wiring for a switch & ceiling fixture through wire mold. If I do this, do I need a ceiling box for the fixture or can I just screw it in to the ceiling?

The other option is track light that plugs in to the receptacles. This is probably the easiest way, but seems inconvenient because there is no switch and I would need to plug and unplug it for each use. A switched receptacle would be nice, but once Iím starting with that and would need wire mold for the switch I may as well do the first option and install a flight fixture.

Do you guys have any advice or other ideas? I appreciate your help!

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Old 02-03-2009, 12:22 PM   #2
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


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I want to add some type of lighting but do not want to start with opening walls & ceilings and then need to patch and paint them up.
Patching/painting is easy.


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If I do this, do I need a ceiling box for the fixture or can I just screw it in to the ceiling?


All splices must be contained in some type pf enclosure. Wiremold makes a light jbox but that stull is a pain and looks like hell.

Do it right. Cut/fish/patch.

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Old 02-03-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


Thanks for the response. The ceiling is a textured ceiling with little bumps all over it. I thinks its a popcorn ceiling, not 100% sure. how do i add this type of finish when patching it up? or will i be left with a smooth surface on a textured ceiling? it might not the end of the world but I wamt to avoid that if possible.

The othe option I can think of is using BX cable or conduit and trying to run it along the baseboards or other hard to notice places, and then paint it to match the wall. It wont be 100% invisible but might look better than wiremold and less work than fishing cable. what do you think?
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


In my opinion, conduit looks better than wiremold.

You can patch the sprayed on ceiling texture but it is tough to match. Don't even try the spray cans the sell at The Depot, they are crap.

That stuff is ugly anyway. Maybe it's time for this job to snowball and you can scrape and put a decent texture on the ceiling

If there is any access above the ceiling you can drill the top plates from above and fish the cables down the walls.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
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You can patch the sprayed on ceiling texture but it is tough to match. Don't even try the spray cans the sell at The Depot, they are crap.
Don't be afraid of these. I've achieved acceptable results when using the spray cans. And by acceptable, I mean, my landlord didn't ding me for the patches I put up in his drywall.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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And by acceptable, I mean, my landlord didn't ding me for the patches I put up in his drywall
I guess I have higher standards

I like to completely cover my tracks.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:15 PM   #7
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


You said you have a crawl space underneath. Do you have an attic above. If you do, then you can fish wires down the wall from the attic above and up the wall from the crawl space below. May not need to cut any extra holes other than for the boxes.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


unfortunately there is no access from above. The only thing above the room is a roof. As far as the crawl space beneath it, the room is an extension on the side of the original structure.The only access to the crawl space is a small opening cut out from the original concrete/cinderblock foundation that is just big enough for a really small person to get into. if i were to drill up into the room it would be easier to drill up right near the access point and run conduit or wire mold to where i want the service point rather than to drill up precisely where I want it.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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ceiling lighting using electrical receptacle with no switch


The cheapest and easiest way would be to use a swag chain with the fixture cord run through it over to the wall where the switch is! Let the cord dangle down to the receptacle.
The receptacle can be changed to a switch,receptacle combination device! The fixture is plugged into the receptacle and turned on and off with the switch!

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