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Old 02-17-2013, 11:49 PM   #1
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


So I'm redoing the 2nd bathroom in my house and have come to realize it only has ONE source of power in the entire bathroom...one plug in that's above the sink and is controlled by a light switch just outside the bathroom. It looks like maybe it used to be a light fixture but changed to a plug in to have a source of plug in power. The old light fixture was a plug in bar style light.
I'd like to have a typical vanity light though and not a plug in style light (probably can't even find one now a days anyhow).

So what I'm hoping to do is leave it as a plug in outlet, and simply tapping into the hard wiring for the outlet for the light fixture. Is this doable and safe?
I'd probably put the light fixture just above the outlet, make a small hole in the plaster and run the wires behind the wall down to the outlet.

Also as you can tell, I've never done this really, but I suppose I'd have to cut out a square in the plaster and install a light fixture mounting box? Right above the outlet should work since that's where the wall stud would be I guess?
Anyways any tips or links to some videos would be great.

Otherwise I suppose I could pay an arm and a leg to have an electrician come out and wire some new outlets so I can just convert teh only plug in to a light fixture. I hate remodeling old houses. lol

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Old 02-18-2013, 03:04 AM   #2
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Ok I hope I have an answer to my question. lol After thinking about it I remember outlets have a set of 4 screws....one for the incoming power and then one for outgoing to another outlet.

So question is I can just buy some new copper wiring and send that out of the 2nd set of screws on the outlet and wire those up to a newly installed light box and be good?

Would the light still function off the outside light switch though? hmmm My goal is to get this done and not tear a bunch of plaster down for a huge wiring project.

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:13 AM   #3
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


By current standards, no it would not be correct. You need at least a 20 amp circuit for courtesy outlets for stuff like hair dryers, curling irons, plug in shavers, etc., and a 15 amp that can be shared off of the bedroom, linen closet lighting, hall lighting, to serve the lights in the bath.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:54 PM   #4
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
By current standards, no it would not be correct. You need at least a 20 amp circuit for courtesy outlets for stuff like hair dryers, curling irons, plug in shavers, etc., and a 15 amp that can be shared off of the bedroom, linen closet lighting, hall lighting, to serve the lights in the bath.
So it wouldn't be up to code is what you're saying? There is just one circuit for the bathroom and it's a 15 amp (I believe, but It'd have to double check, could be 20). The bathroom would ONLY have the lighting fixture and one single socket outlet. That wouldn't even come close to putting out 1800 watts to overload the circuit.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


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Originally Posted by qwiksilvertrav View Post
There is just one circuit (being shared by) the bathroom and it's a 15 amp
(for the lights only)

The bathroom would ONLY have the lighting fixture and one single socket outlet. That wouldn't even come close to putting out 1800 watts to overload the circuit.
Doesn't matter.

The lighting circuit can be left alone (or maybe add a fan to it).
Your job is to provide a 20A GFI protected outlet circuit.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:04 PM   #6
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


So a 20 amp GFI circuit is code and that's why you say "Your job is to provide a 20A GFI protected outlet circuit."?

So what you're saying means I need to wire an entire new circuit up to the bathroom? For one single outlet? That seems pretty rediculous. lol But if that's code...

Also my house still has a fuse box and not circuit breakers. So could I either just buy a GFCI outlet or do I have to add a box with a circuit breaker and run the new circuit off that? At this point I might as well just rewire the dang house! To add a lighting fixture in my bathroom....
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #7
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Sorry you don't like the answers you're getting, but they are correct. Code is what it is, primarily for safety reasons. I am not a pro, so don't know what is legal as far as adding a circuit to an existing fuse box (assuming you have room to do so). I've never even seen a fuse box since the one in my parents' house 50 years ago.

Last edited by md2lgyk; 02-18-2013 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Around my neck of the woods, if you don't open any walls, you wouldn't have to provide the bathroom circuit.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:31 PM   #9
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


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Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
Sorry you don't like the answers you're getting, but they are correct. Code is what it is, primarily for safety reasons. I am not a pro, so don't know what is legal as far as adding a circuit to an existing fuse box (assuming you have room to do so). I've never even seen a fuse box since the one in my parents' house 50 years ago.
It's not that I don't like the answers...they're just very vague! Lol.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:40 PM   #10
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
By current standards, no it would not be correct. You need at least a 20 amp circuit for courtesy outlets for stuff like hair dryers, curling irons, plug in shavers, etc., and a 15 amp that can be shared off of the bedroom, linen closet lighting, hall lighting, to serve the lights in the bath.
Don't forget GFCI.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Quote:
Originally Posted by qwiksilvertrav View Post
It's not that I don't like the answers...they're just very vague! Lol.

Get an additional breaker, run the wires from the breaker box. The whole bathroom can be on the same breaker, however, you have to have an access point.

Follow NEC guidelines in making said access point, and run wires to the outlet from said point, and to the light fixtures and switches from said point.

What they are saying, is for you to do what you want to do, you're going to have to rewire your bathroom.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


So you have an existing 15a recepticule,
which you assume was a light circuit in the past.

Can you add a light to this circuit ?
Yes ! but it depends on how the existing circuit is wired !
Cause you will need to get access to neutral and hot !

If the power goes first to the recepticule and then uses
a switch loop, then you will be good.

But if it is the other way around, like the power goes
first to the switch, and then to recepticule,
then you will have to run extra wires,
from the switch to get access to the neutral and
hot line.

As for the 20a power circuit, Check code in your area,
most area's require 20a power circuits for bathrooms,
because the chances are, some one, some day, will try
to plug in a heavy draw appliance, like a hair dryer.
And due to wet enviroment gfci's are usually required.

If this is the case, then it would be easier for you
to use existing circuit for lights, and run a new 20a
gfci circuit for recepticule.

I know its a pain brother !
But them there's the rules !
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:53 AM   #13
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
So you have an existing 15a recepticule,
which you assume was a light circuit in the past.

Can you add a light to this circuit ?
Yes ! but it depends on how the existing circuit is wired !
Cause you will need to get access to neutral and hot !

If the power goes first to the recepticule and then uses
a switch loop, then you will be good.

But if it is the other way around, like the power goes
first to the switch, and then to recepticule,
then you will have to run extra wires,
from the switch to get access to the neutral and
hot line.

As for the 20a power circuit, Check code in your area,
most area's require 20a power circuits for bathrooms,
because the chances are, some one, some day, will try
to plug in a heavy draw appliance, like a hair dryer.
And due to wet enviroment gfci's are usually required.

If this is the case, then it would be easier for you
to use existing circuit for lights, and run a new 20a
gfci circuit for recepticule.

I know its a pain brother !
But them there's the rules !
Just the information I was looking for thanks!! Well I'll hope the power goes to the box then uses a loop for the switch. I'll post back once I pull it out.
If I can get away with this for now that'd be fine. Eventually I plan on replacing the fuse box with a circuit breaker box and then I'll get it properly done and up to code. Going to go check electrical code here right now.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:46 AM   #14
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Quote:
Originally Posted by qwiksilvertrav View Post
Well I'll hope the power goes to the box then uses a loop for the switch.
All old houses are wired that way.

What this means though is that the existing 15Amp (or even 20A) circuit feeding the bathroom light is ALSO feeding every other light on that floor and maybe the house as a whole... but it is not suitable for adding any heavy loads to.

Can you plug in an electric shaver there? Sure.
Can you add an exhaust fan to the room? Probably.
Can you plug in an 1800 Watt blow dryer?
No one answering here would do it in their own house.

Quote:
Going to go check electrical code here right now.
The code specifics don't really matter.
This is more about common sense.

The lighting circuit can be left alone (or maybe add the fan to it).
Your job is to provide a GFI protected outlet to the bathroom.

Most commonly, ideally, modernly or however else you may want to qualify the need... it is accomplished by way of a dedicated 20A circuit. If you have more than one bathroom they can share it.

hth

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 02-19-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:47 PM   #15
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Hard Wiring vanity light fixture into outlet?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
All old houses are wired that way.

What this means though is that the existing 15Amp (or even 20A) circuit feeding the bathroom light is ALSO feeding every other light on that floor and maybe the house as a whole... but it is not suitable for adding any heavy loads to.

Can you plug in an electric shaver there? Sure.
Can you add an exhaust fan to the room? Probably.
Can you plug in an 1800 Watt blow dryer?
No one answering here would do it in their own house.

The code specifics don't really matter.
This is more about common sense.

The lighting circuit can be left alone (or maybe add the fan to it).
Your job is to provide a GFI protected outlet to the bathroom.

Most commonly, ideally, modernly or however else you may want to qualify the need... it is accomplished by way of a dedicated 20A circuit. If you have more than one bathroom they can share it.

hth
Ok so got a chance to pull the fuse and inspect. Indeed it is a 15 amp circuit that is running 5 lights (dining room, kitchen, upstairs hallway, both bedrooms, and the bathroom (currently an outlet).
So obviously the bathroom will need it's own 20 amp circuit for outlets at some point.
For now I plan then to add a GFCI outlet in this bathroom and run power from that to a new light fixture. This bathroom is never really used anyhow, and has never had a blow dryer etc used up there (my wife uses our main bathroom downstairs).
Anyways I think I should be fine for now with this setup? I do plan on just getting a circuit breaker box and at that time I'll address any wiring issues.
I have one question though on what the switch will control exactly.
Will it shut off both the outlet AND the light that it's powering? I assume so? Kind of weird having the outlet only work if the light is on...but not the end of the world.

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