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Old 08-24-2010, 12:31 AM   #1
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Want to install light


hey guys so just moved into new house and there is no lights in the living room i would like to install a light in the middle of the ceiling and i have a switch on the wall that currently turns an electrical outlet on and off just the top one the bottom always stays on anyways i would like to power this light from that switch and make the outlet always stay on.
i have never done anything like this before what do i need to do? and can this be done?

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Old 08-24-2010, 06:13 AM   #2
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Running a wire from the ceiling to the switch or the outlet requires drilling holes, so besides being an electrician and knowing where/how to run wires, you need to be able to repair drywall. There are DIY books at home/hardware stores that can add more detail than space allows here.

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Old 08-24-2010, 07:45 AM   #3
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Want to install light


Yes it most likely can be done. How difficult it is depends on ease of access to wall and ceiling for running wire. If you have access to areas above wall and ceiling, you may be able to run wires without damage to wall. You will also have to install a box in the ceiling which will require cutting a hole in the wall surface. If you intend to mount a ceiling fan, you will have to ensure you have the correct box able to support the weight.

It would also help to describe existing wiring at wall switch and outlet. Does your switch control both outlets (top and bottom) or just one? How many wires enter each of the boxes?

Have you ever changed an outlet or switch? How about a light fixture? Do you have a volt meter?
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
Running a wire from the ceiling to the switch or the outlet requires drilling holes, so besides being an electrician and knowing where/how to run wires, you need to be able to repair drywall. There are DIY books at home/hardware stores that can add more detail than space allows here.
That depends heavily on the configuration of the house. If the outlet is on an interior wall, and there's attic above, it shouldn't be too hard to fish a wire down the wall without having to cut any drywall.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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ok so here is a picture of the switch and the outlet
the switch only controls the bottom of outlet and would like it to not control the outlet at all i do have access through the attic, my experience is i have changed about 15 light fixtures in the house allready and about 50 outlets but have never run a wire and made a new light fixture but thinking it shouldnt be too hard and i do plan on putting a ceiling fan thanks
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:17 AM   #6
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From your picture of the switch it appears to be a switch leg. Is there only those two wires in the box running to the switch? If that is the case then you cannot run your light from there. There is no neutral in that box. You'll need to run the power from a different source.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:22 AM   #7
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yes thats the only wires running to that switch but right beside it is a switch that powers the light on my stairs im sure i could use that but i wouldnt want to have my stairs on and livingroom at the same time
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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Is there only those two wires in the box running to the switch?
That is my suspicion, as well.

Quote:
If that is the case then you cannot run your light from there.
I am not so sure. If this is a switch leg, then supply power most likely runs to the outlet box. The wire between the outlet and switch could be re-purposed to be a supply (line, neutral, ground), tapping into the supply of the outlet box. This could then be used to power a ceiling light. Of course, all this would need confirmation.

Quote:
yes thats the only wires running to that switch
I think the question goes beyond what wires are running to the switch, but rather what wires are running into the box, and how they are tied together. Same question regarding the outlet box. I think we need to know more than the four wires connected to the outlet, but rather how many wires are coming into the box and how they are tied together.

Last edited by oberkc; 08-24-2010 at 11:55 AM. Reason: update
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:23 PM   #9
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I am not so sure. If this is a switch leg, then supply power most likely runs to the outlet box. The wire between the outlet and switch could be re-purposed to be a supply (line, neutral, ground), tapping into the supply of the outlet box. This could then be used to power a ceiling light. Of course, all this would need confirmation.

That is right. I forgot to mention that you could disconnect this wire as a switch leg in the outlet box and use it as a feed to the switch box. That would do away with the switching of the outlets though. From the switch box you would run a new cable to the overhead light box.

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