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Old 11-27-2007, 04:59 AM   #1
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Could anybody please explain why are ceiling lights not central in my house? It was built approx 1910. My wife says she saw the reason on a tv diy show but has forgotten. Thanks in anticipation..

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Old 11-27-2007, 05:32 AM   #2
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


One reason would be the planned furniture arrangement by the homeowner that built the house (or originally had it wired).
For the easiest alteration, light fixtures can be swagged over to a ceiling hook where you want to move the light, with chain and wiring extended to the hanging fixture.
Hope that it isn't obsolete knob-and-tube wiring. That stuff is really dangerous and bad fire hazard. It should be replaced if it is.
Just MHO.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:21 AM   #3
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Maybe all the wiring was retrofitted and they didn't want to cut through and fish through a lot of ceiling joists to get the wires to the middle of the ceiling.

I remember one apartment I lived in as a kid and the bedroom had just one ceiling light, about two feet from the wall and near one corner.

Last edited by AllanJ; 11-27-2007 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:27 AM   #4
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Thanks Mike. No the previous owner has had the whole house rewired, but used the original off centred holes for the ceiling lights. I am fitting a flush IP44 ceiling light which cus of its size in the small bathroom looks silly off centre.

The wire to the existing fitting is only about 6 inches long so will replace it to the junction box. Regards Richard
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:29 AM   #5
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


If it was built in 1910, perhaps it originally had gas lights. The pipes would have had to have been run along or through the closest beams, joists, etc. for rigidity and safety. In the house I grew up in, each ceiling box had a capped off remnant of a gas line. Although the gas lines themselves were long dead and disconnected, the pipes in the ceiling remained.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:59 AM   #6
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


A ceiling light needs a ceiling box. I believe that saddle style boxes that can be centered on a joist are a recent thing. Before them, if you had a joist running straight down the center of a room, you had no choice but to mount the light to the side.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:38 AM   #7
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Why not just move the lights to the center of the room? You may not get it exact, but you can make it look like it is perfectly on center.
Just find the exact center of the room, and make a very small mark with a PENCIL. Take an ice pick or nail and push it through. If its a plaster ceiling use a very small drill bit. If you hit wood, look in the ceiling and see which way the trusses are running. Move the test hole to the right or left of the truss about 3". Push a wire clothes hanger through the hole, so you can locate it above the ceiling. Purchase an adjustable fixture box. Install as directed.
Also, they make whats called a pancake box. Very thin and round. You may be able to mount this directly to the truss should it be in the way. Make sure you offset the pancake box so you can get the cable connector installed.

If your wire/cable is to short to reach the new box, you must install another box in the ceiling to make the connections in. Then just run new wire/cable to the new fixture box.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:22 PM   #8
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
If your wire/cable is to short to reach the new box, you must install another box in the ceiling to make the connections in. Then just run new wire/cable to the new fixture box.
But then you'd have a blank coverplate in the middle of your ceiling. IMO that'd look horrible. I think the OP said he is going to pull new wire from the previous junction box/switch/whatever, and that's the right thing to do.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:20 PM   #9
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Does your ceiling you are installing the light in have an accessible attic? What is the approximate weight of the light?
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:31 PM   #10
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Oh we have gone off on a tangent, the ceiling is sound , I have a accessible loft the fitting of the new light is not a problem. I am fitting a flush IP44 bathroom ceiling light. I just wondered why In England ceiling lights were not centred.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:37 PM   #11
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


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Originally Posted by captslogg View Post
Oh we have gone off on a tangent, the ceiling is sound , I have a accessible loft the fitting of the new light is not a problem. I am fitting a flush IP44 bathroom ceiling light. I just wondered why In England ceiling lights were not centred.
Maybe your electricians had too much tea and crumpets
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:50 PM   #12
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


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Oh we have gone off on a tangent
On the DIY Electrical forum??? NEVER!!!

My vote is for gas lights. Just a guess.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:30 AM   #13
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Why are ceiling lights not central?


Nate....I did not say what you think I said. A junction box in an open ceiling mounted and facing up with a blank cover is not visible, unless your in the ceiling.

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