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Old 02-17-2010, 10:53 AM   #1
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


I apologize for the length of this post. But here is the situation.

I currently have a wall switch in my bedroom that controls the ceiling fan and light (simple power supply switch - control fan light and speed with pull chains). I want to added 6 recessed cans in the room and have a switch control the recessed lights. The fan is a remote control fan and just needs a direct power source, no switch. Seems simple enough.

Here come the problems. In the existing gang box, there are multiple wires coming in and coming out. I suspect that there are 3 outlets connected in the box along with the switch for the fan and then the live wire. So that gives 5 sets of wires. In adding more lines, I am concerned with box fill. There is an old two gang box with a mud ring in there currently.

Further complicating the matter is fact that it appears that there are 10 outlets and two ceiling fans/lights on this 15 amp circuit - 3 outlets and ceiling fan in my room, 3 outlets and ceiling fan in adjoining bedroom, and then 4 outlets on the walls in the family room below. So I am concerned about load on that circuit by adding recessed lights.

I may have a solution. My bedroom butts up against the garage and in the garage there is a sub panel. I can run a new 15 amp line right up the wall in the garage through the hole where the subpanel line from the main breaker comes through and drop the line right above my bedroom. That eases my load concern.

I believe the 3 additional wires in the box control my bedrooms recepticles. So with the new 15 amp line, I could take 3 recepticles and the existing fan off the current 15 amp line already in the switch box resulting in a new 15 amp line with the recessed cans, 3 outlets and the fan on it.

But I still have a box fill issue and am stumped. Any suggestions as to how you would handle this?

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Old 02-17-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


You probably have a sequence such as this:

ceiling fan box
|
existing fan switch in
stuffed 2 gang switch box with
power
| \
| |also to everything else
|
outlet #1
|
outlet #2
|
outlet #3
(end of line)

You run your new circuit power feed from the garage panel to outlet #3, as:

new can lights
|
ceiling box with fan with remote control switching
||
|| replace this cable with a 3 wire cable
||
||--> existing fan switch now operates new can lights above
| stuffed 2 gang switch box with
| power to
| \
| |everything else
|
|
outlet #1
|
outlet #2
|
outlet #3
|
new power feed

The above needs to be able to put one more conductor into the stuffed box, namely the red wire in the new 3 wire cable to get switched power out to the new lights (via the fan box where there is more room)
The cable that used to bring power down to outlets #1, #2, and #3 now brings power up to the original fan switch, fan, and can lights only. Separate out its neutral and the neutral going up to the fan and connect these two together by themselves.

Other alternatives include a separate box for the new lights' switch in order to have more room to make connections.
____________

Can somebody tell me how to put white space (between words of text) in a reply or post or thread?

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-17-2010 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


Thanks Allan.

But I am not sure if the outlets are on one line connected in parallel or connected individually to the hot line in the switchbox.

As I said, there are 5 connections in that switch box. I figure one is the house line from the breaker, one is obviously the switch. I assume the remaining connects are for the outlets. I think I am going to figure out tonight what connections they really are.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #4
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


On the subject of box fill, you will need to determine the size of the box you have in cubic inches. You can't go by the fact you have a 2 gang box, because a quick look as www.lowes.com can find 2 gang boxes that range from at least 24 to 34 cubic inches. You might be able to find a stamp on the inside of the box that lists its size (something like "34 cu. in." stamped into the plastic).

Here is A way to calculate box fill for your situation (with some assuptions):
1. Count up the number of black wires + white wires + red wires (if any) comming into the gang box. Don't include pigtails in this count (wires that start and end inside the box).
2. Add 4 to account for 2 devices/switches in a 2 gang box. If this is a three gang box with three switches, you would add 6 instead.
3. Add 1 to account for all the ground wires (bare copper or green wires) regardless of how many are present.
4. Multiply the total of these numbers by 2 to determine the minimum size gang box required.

So if you have 3 black wires, 3 white wires, 3 bare copper wires, two switches, and some wire nuts, then you have
3 (for black wires) + 3 (for white wires) + 1 (for all the ground wires) + 4 (for the two switches) = 11
11 * 2 = 22 cu.in.

This ASSUMES all the wire is #14 wire, and there are no other clamps or connectors inside the box except for wire nuts and terminals on the switches.


So to figure out the fill of YOUR box, how many wires of what color are comming into the box? Again, don't include pigtails and don't count connections, just the number of wires and the number of devices (switches).
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:29 PM   #5
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


If by 5 connections, you mean there are 5 pairs of black and white wires, and you need two switches, your fill calculation would look like this:

5 (black) + 5 (white) + 1 (grounds) + 4 (2 devices) = 15 * 2 (#14 wire factor) = 30 cu. in.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:35 PM   #6
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
On the subject of box fill, you will need to determine the size of the box you have in cubic inches. You can't go by the fact you have a 2 gang box, because a quick look as www.lowes.com can find 2 gang boxes that range from at least 24 to 34 cubic inches. You might be able to find a stamp on the inside of the box that lists its size (something like "34 cu. in." stamped into the plastic).

Here is A way to calculate box fill for your situation (with some assuptions):
1. Count up the number of black wires + white wires + red wires (if any) comming into the gang box. Don't include pigtails in this count (wires that start and end inside the box).
2. Add 4 to account for 2 devices/switches in a 2 gang box. If this is a three gang box with three switches, you would add 6 instead.
3. Add 1 to account for all the ground wires (bare copper or green wires) regardless of how many are present.
4. Multiply the total of these numbers by 2 to determine the minimum size gang box required.

So if you have 3 black wires, 3 white wires, 3 bare copper wires, two switches, and some wire nuts, then you have
3 (for black wires) + 3 (for white wires) + 1 (for all the ground wires) + 4 (for the two switches) = 11
11 * 2 = 22 cu.in.

This ASSUMES all the wire is #14 wire, and there are no other clamps or connectors inside the box except for wire nuts and terminals on the switches.


So to figure out the fill of YOUR box, how many wires of what color are comming into the box? Again, don't include pigtails and don't count connections, just the number of wires and the number of devices (switches).
I had already figured out the fill based on what is currently in the box:

5 whites, 5 blacks = 10 conductors
One switch = 2 conductors
Grounds = 1 conductor

That's 13 conductors and it appears to be #14 wire. So that would be 26 cubic inches.

My real question is given the apparent load on the 15 amp line and the fact I might run a new 15 amp line from the sub panel, what would be the best way to do this without tearing out walls, etc. given the present set up.

Someone suggested keep it simple, run a new 15 amp line into the switchbox and attach the fan and cans to that new line, but that bumps up the box fill to 34 with two new lines (new power source and direct line to fan) coming into the box.

But I am looking for another way to do this where I can add the new lights, the fan and possibly the outlets wired in that switch box currently to the new 15 amp line. Note, there would still only be one switch in the box. The fan doesn't need a switch. It has a remote. It just needs a power source. The new recessed lights would then go on the switch.

Basically, if in my situation what would you do?

EDIT: Took out the cable clamps. There are no cable clamps in my current box!

Last edited by TyWebb; 02-17-2010 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
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Need some guidance on recessed cans wiring.....


Hey guys, I may have wasted our time! LOL.

I went home at lunch and checked the switchbox and noticed the wire out of the switch was red. No idea why I didn't notice this before! So I might be wrong and after some checking, the power might be directly into the fan. I think this might make it easier now to transfer power over to the new 15 amp line I might run.

I am going to remove the fan and maybe get up in the attic and see if in fact the power is coming directly into the fan first.

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Last edited by TyWebb; 02-17-2010 at 02:08 PM.
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