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Old 11-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #1
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


I've looked for this question and haven't found an exact match, but if there is one, please let me know.

I'm rewiring my kitchen and want to add an outlet on the same circuit as our carport light. The light is the only thing on this circuit currently and it is powered through the light with a switch running into the kitchen. I've been thinking about how best to do this, since there is no way to get above the light. I could either fish the wires (which in this situation would be possible, but quite difficult) or pull the ceiling down (which I really don't want to do). So, I was thinking this over last night, and I think I have a solution.

1: At the light's ceiling box I'd replace the current line from light to switch with 3 wire, with the whites spliced to the white of the fixture, the grounds together, the red and black together, and the 3 wire's black connected to the light.

2: Run the 3 wire all the way to the outlet. Put the black on the lower terminal, pigtail the red to an outgoing black (to the outlet I want), ground and connect whites.

Would this work? I think it will, but I wanted to see if there were any problems with my reasoning before I go through all the trouble. I have to finish the wiring this weekend, but I'm going to save this for last...hopefully enough of you will have chimed in to change my mind or give me confidence. Thanks!

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Old 11-06-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


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At the light's ceiling box I'd replace the current line from light to switch with 3 wire, with the whites spliced to the white of the fixture, the grounds together, the red and black together, and the 3 wire's black connected to the light.
Sounds about right so far. There are actually codes defining what color should be used on the outgoing vs incoming power, but I think you have that correct.

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Run the 3 wire all the way to the outlet. Put the black on the lower terminal, pigtail the red to an outgoing black (to the outlet I want), ground and connect whites.
This is where I am getting concerned. Where do you intend to include the switch in the circuit? Something is not right in my mind. Should you not run the three-wire to the switch first?

If you are able to "replace" the exiting wire to the switch, why not simply run an additional wire? Simply tap into the supply at the light and run it to the new outlet, as you propose doing with the 3-wire?

A couple of other things. This strikes me as failing to be code compliant (kitchen utility outlet on their own circuit). You also should consider GFI outlets.

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Old 11-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #3
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


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Where do you intend to include the switch in the circuit? Something is not right in my mind. Should you not run the three-wire to the switch first?
Sorry, the lower terminal connections I mentioned was for the switch. Left out the part about the pigtailed red connecting to the top terminal of the switch in addition to the outgoing black. Got too excited, I guess...

My house is almost 60 years old and the wiring was kinda crazy. All the kitchen outlets (including the fridge) were on the same 15 amp circuit (besides the range, of course). Nothing was GFCI or even grounded...kinda scary. The carport light is the only thing on one of my breakers and it's a 20 amp, so it seemed logical to me to put the fridge on there. I know it should be on it's own circuit if possible, but it seems better to share a 20 amp circuit with a light that's only on at night than the 15 amp circuit that powers everything else in the kitchen, including a microwave. Is this right?

I've wired several things with step by step instructions and feel like I have a good understanding of electricity, but this is the first time I've made my own steps.

Another questions, will I need a 20 amp receptacle or 15 amp, since a fridge is 15 amp but the line is 20?
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:06 PM   #4
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


You probably can't add a kitchen receptacle on that circuit. Kitchen receptacles need to be on a 20 amp circuit only for kitchen receptacles. Where in the kitchen is this receptacle going to be. If it is on the counter area then can not do it by code.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


So we have confirmed you have some code issues. On the other hand, I find your logic compelling. It seems to me also that you are safer if you split some of you kitchen out, rather than keeping everything on the same circuit. I have seen this wiring in a friend's house. They could not run a microwave when the refrigerator was running.

At you describe your wiring, it sounds as though your red wire from the light to the switch is your supply. That would be tied to your switch and tied to the supply of the new outlet. The 3-wire's black return to the light would be on the other switch terminal, and become the switched power to the light.

Then you need to get a wire from the switch to the new outlet location. Black would tie to the red at the switch location, and whites would tie together. Don't forget the GFI.

I see it possible that you may not get a lot of help from the experts here because of the code violation issue. Would it be too hard to add a new circuit?
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:05 AM   #6
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


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Kitchen receptacles need to be on a 20 amp circuit only for kitchen receptacles. Where in the kitchen is this receptacle going to be. If it is on the counter area then can not do it by code.
The kitchen is on a 15 amp circuit right now and everything was running off of that circuit, so wouldn't it be better to split a bigger power user off and put it on a 20 amp circuit with a light? Then at least something is on a 20 amp. I'm not an electrician obviously, but it seems logical in my head. The outlet will be below counter height behind the fridge. I can't rewire the whole house myself and I can't afford to hire someone to do it, but I want to make sure it's going to be safe. Like I said, my house is 56 years old, and previous owners have done a few improvements, but many of them shoddy and needing to be redone (the reason for the kitchen remodel, in fact). I don't want to do anything wrong, but I do want to be able to move the microwave from the dining room, lol. Is my plan better than leaving it as is?

My ex father-in-law will be in town next week. He does HVAC work and has lots of electrical experience. He was already going to check out my wiring and make connections to the box, so I'll see what he thinks as well.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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Light controlled by switch, outlet always on, power at light...is this the way?


I think being a fridge you are OK. That is not part of the kitchen small appliance requirements.

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