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Old 11-24-2013, 10:32 AM   #1
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


I want to install one under cabinet light in our little bar area w/glass back splash. Currently there are two, single gang components: switch for garbage disposal and GFCI outlet. Under the sink is a single outlet on a junction box. I am trying to figure out the appropriate way to wire a plug-in type lighting. I'm not married to this type of light, so if hard wire is better, then I'm all for that.

The issue I'm running into is where and how to connect the electrical.

1. Investigated running the fixture's wire up through the cabinet and creating a new outlet at the top of the cabinet that hangs off the GFCI. Apparently this is not a good idea.

2. Changing the single gang GFCI to a two gang box with GFCI and switch, and then fishing a connection from that box to the fixture. I would like to avoid cutting the glass tiles if at all possible and not even sure how I would remove the new work single gang box cleanly without causing a real big mess.

3. Create a new outlet in the lower cabinet in a junction box similar to what was done with the garbage disposal and run the fixture's wire behind the wall to this outlet. Something about this just doesn't seem correct regarding the fixture's wire.

What is the right way to do this? Or should I just get a hard wire fixture and connect it to the GFCI? This is only one light fixture under one cabinet, so I do not necessarily need a new switch on the back splash.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


Neither of those circuits should have lighting on it. The electric code prohibits lights on the small appliance circuit that supplies the gfi. The instructions for the disposal probably call for a dedicated circuit. Also the cord from the light cannot be run in the wall.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


can you post a picture of the area?
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:26 PM   #4
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdubsflickr/11032950096/
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


If just one small area to illuminate, how about a self contained battery powered LED fixture?
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #6
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


We had puck lights but it's used so infrequently that beyond the adhesive wearing out on some of them, keeping on top of the batteries when we actually wanted to use the lights was annoying. Some of them had a 30min off timer as well. After that experience, we gave up on the battery powered ones.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


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Originally Posted by PDubs View Post
leaving it plug-connected would be your easiest option. you could cut the cord to length ad secure it to the underside of the cabinet for a 'cleaner' look. here is what i did with mine:
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:12 AM   #8
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


The exposed cord is precisely why I'm in this quagmire.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:15 AM   #9
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


yeah, it looks a little hacky but for my application, it worked fine. i just wanted a little light under the cabinet and didn't want to rip the walls apart. for a nice bar though, you'll have to open stuff up to get the look you want. the problem is that the receptacle on the bar is is part of the small appliance branch circuit and as jim pointed out above, you can't put permanent lighting on it. you might be able to use the circuit for the disposal, assuming the manufacturer does not require a dedicated circuit. it may be on its own circuit now but that doesn't mean it needs to be the only load on there. if permitted by the manufacturer, you could add lighting to the circuit but that means the ampere rating of the disposal can't be greater than 50% of the ampere rating of the circuit.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


Thanks for the tips guys! I want to do this the right way and it sounds like it would require running a new circuit unless I can tap off the disposal's line per the manufacturer...or back to the battery operated fun.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:54 AM   #11
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Correct way to retrofit under cabinet lighting?


you could also try some surface raceway to get from the recep to the lights. it could be black to match your finishes. you would still see a plug in the receptacle but it wouldn't look too bad.

and although it would technically be a code violation to use the disposal circuit if the manufacturer asked for a dedicated circuit, practically it wouldn't be an issue, especially for the tiny lights you have. i mean, what's so special about a garbage disposal that the manufacturer would ask for their own circuit? say you bought a new disposal with the same ampere rating as your existing disposal. one says it needs a dedicated circuit, the other doesn't. why?
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