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Old 03-08-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
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Newbie needs help with dining room light


Just got my first house, so I have never needed to hone my electrical skills... My question relates to my dining room and the lack of an over-head light fixture. There is a switch near the entrance to the dining room which controls a hot socket. Can I install a second switch at this location and run wire up the wall and over to where I want the light to hang? How do I do this? What do I need to buy to make this happen? The wire would only need to run about 4 or 5 feet up the wall and about 5 or 6 feet towards the center of the room.... I realize this is probably a very simple question for most of you, but this is my rodeo... I appreciate any advice.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:10 PM   #2
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Is it a new house or old house?
What floor of the house is this on? Do you have access to the attic?
Also, the fact that you're asking what you need to buy to do this really gives off the impression you don't know anything at all about electrical work, in which case what you're attempting to do might not be such a good idea without hiring a professional.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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It's an old house... built in 1973. I have very good access to the attic, but the dining room is on the first floor of a two-story house. And, like I said... this is my first electrical project. That isn't to say that I haven't done other non-electrical projects before and have a general knowledge of DIY. By asking what I need to buy, I meant any suggestions on specifics, or a general inventory of things I'll need to prevent frequent trips to the hardware store... I appreciate your reply, but if your only advice is "hire a professional," please don't waste my time.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ryanox19 View Post
Just got my first house, so I have never needed to hone my electrical skills... My question relates to my dining room and the lack of an over-head light fixture. There is a switch near the entrance to the dining room which controls a hot socket. Can I install a second switch at this location and run wire up the wall and over to where I want the light to hang? How do I do this? What do I need to buy to make this happen? The wire would only need to run about 4 or 5 feet up the wall and about 5 or 6 feet towards the center of the room.... I realize this is probably a very simple question for most of you, but this is my rodeo... I appreciate any advice.
So, the present switch controls a receptacle? You could run a wire from that receptacle to the new light and wire it up like that. Or you could take a look inside of your switch box and check to see if you have a neutral present. If there is, you could install another switch and run a wire from there to the new light.

How are you planning to run the wire? Are you going to fish in up the walls and across the ceiling? Or are you planning on using molding?
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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As of now, I'm planning on fishing the wire... I'm hoping there's nothing in the wall or ceiling preventing that, but I haven't had the chance to investigate...
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #6
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alright, well you have to start by opening up that switch to see if you have a neutral present. Until then, you can't really plan anything, unless you want to just fish a wire from the switched receptacle.
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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First thing you need to do is turn the power off and remove the switch and inspect the wiring. If there is only one cable with two wires then you can not add a second switch. You could use the existing one if you rewire at the receptacle to make it always on.
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ryanox19 View Post
I appreciate your reply, but if your only advice is "hire a professional," please don't waste my time.
It's not that you spent $100 for 1 hour of work it's that you saved 10 hours for what I can do in 1 hour.


That being said:


Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanox19 View Post
Can I install a second switch at this location and run wire up the wall and over to where I want the light to hang?
Yes if you have a neutral in the current switch box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanox19 View Post
How do I do this?
Remove existing switch and existing switch box.

Enlarge hole in wall for a 2-gang box.

Locate where ceiling fixture will hang and cut hole in ceiling to accept junction box.

Route proper cable(romex) from hole in wall to the hole on the ceiling where the fixture will hang. This will probably be most difficult part.

Install/secure 2 gang box at wall switch location

Install/secure ceiling box at light fixture location

Properly wire and install both switches at wall location

Properly wire and install light fixture.

Again I will say:


It's not that you spent $100 for 1 hour of work it's that you saved 10 hours for what I can do in 1 hour.

Last edited by hammerlane; 03-09-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:26 AM   #9
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Route proper cable(romex) from hole in wall to the hole on the ceiling where the fixture will hang. This will probably be most difficult part.
Particularly if the ceiling joists run parallel to the wall with the switch.

Consider carefully the best route for running your wire. If the joists run parallel to the switch wall then it may in fact be easier to run the wire down from the switch to the basement, across to the bottom of the middle of an adjacent wall, then up that wall and along the space between two joists in the ceiling to where the fixture will be.

You CAN do this. It's going to be a matter of planning it out, getting the right tools, and following appropriate safety procedures. And being willing to make a mess and have to do some drywall patching.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:02 AM   #10
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Newbie needs help with dining room light


It would also be a very good idea to see if you are dealing with aluminum wiring. Special materials and techniques are used with aluminum.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:07 AM   #11
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Be prepared to remove some drywall to get the switchleg in.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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Consider carefully the best route for running your wire. If the joists run parallel to the switch wall then it may in fact be easier to run the wire down from the switch to the basement, across to the bottom of the middle of an adjacent wall, then up that wall and along the space between two joists in the ceiling to where the fixture will be.
.
Good point Iron.

In the first post the person stated,
"The wire would only need to run about 4 or 5 feet up the wall and about 5 or 6 feet towards the center of the room"

But as you say in your response the way the joists run make a difference. That planning comes with experience as you have noted.

Sometime it is just better to pay the man to do the rough in.
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