How Can I Add A Light Switch Using The Least Amount Of Wire? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:19 PM   #1
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How can I add a light switch using the least amount of wire?

Here's the scenario:

I'd like to put a florescent light fixture in the basement above the washer, and I'd like the switch for this light to be at the top of the basement stairs, which is about 20 feet away.

Is there a way to wire this switch in-line with the light fixture using a single 3-wire romex cable (red, white, black, ground)?

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:44 PM   #2
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Prima facie, whether your AC source is at at the switch or at the load shouldn't make any difference as to wire length.
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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Given that you can NOT use the ground in any way to power anything (this is ALWAYS just an extra wire to make sure everything that shouldn't be entergized stays that way), using 14/3 over 14/2 isn't going to do anything to help you save wire.

There is basically two ways to power a light with a switch:

1. run 14/2 power directly to the light, but run the "hot" (black) through a switch loop before it connects to the light. The switch loop consists of a run of 14/2 between the light and the switch. The "hot" (black) that was going to the light is connected to the white going to the switch (both ends of this white should be marked with black tape to denote it is being used for a "hot") and the black from the switch is connected to the light.

2. run 14/2 to a switch, with the "hot" (black) passing through the switch, then continue 14/2 to the light.

The only reason you would need 14/3 is if you want a 3-way light switch. But even then, the light is basically wired the same way with power going either 1st to the light or 1st to the switch.

Having said all that, how do you expect to have to run less wire by pulling 14/3 rather than 14/2.

[Disclaimer, the above listing of 14/3 and 14/2 assumes this is only a 15 amp circuit... if its a 20 amp circuit, substitute 12/3 and 12/2]
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