new outlets/light switches

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  #1  
Old 05-04-05, 07:49 AM
parfour
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new outlets/light switches

I am in the process of constructing a bedroom in my basement. There is an existing light fixture on the ceiling, which has a pull string to turn it on. My question(s): Can I just run a coax(?) wire (black/white/ground) from that light fixture to a new light switch? If so, how(where specifically) will the wires connect. Secondly, can I run three separate wires from that light fixture to make three new outlets in the room? Very new to this, sorry for the lack of electrical knowhow.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-04-05, 08:02 AM
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I suggest that you purchase and read several book on home wiring. There is much more to this than just running wires.

Yes, you can run a wire for a light switch with no problems. It would be called a switch loop.

Whether you can run wires for receptacles depends on several factors.

The circuit would have to be grounded. It might or might not be, depending on the age of the house.

The ceiling box would have to be big enough to accommodate the wires for these receptacles, along with the incoming power wire and the switch loop wire. There may also be other wires there. It probably isn't large enough for this.

The circuit would have to be able to handle the additional load. Depending on what else is on this circuit, it may not be able to.

Depending on where you live, this circuit will need to be an AFCI protected circuit. You may not want other areas of the house on an AFCI circuit.

On another note. To be up to code (and you do want to be up to code) you will need more than three receptacles. You probably need at least one per wall.

To avoid all these issues, run a new circuit from your main panel to serve this bedroom. Put it on an AFCI breaker.

As for building a bedroom in a basement, make sure that you have the necessary two means of egress, meaning that you need a large enough window or a door leading outside, in additioon to the regular bedroom door. You do not want to build a bedroom in a basement that is not up to code. You could go to jail if a fire happened and someone were sleeping there. If someone died in that room from a fire, you would go to jail.
 

Last edited by racraft; 05-04-05 at 08:15 AM.
  #3  
Old 05-04-05, 08:11 AM
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I think you will find that many home wiring books are very user friendly and easy to understand with colorful pictures. Pick up one or more of them and it won't be hard to learn what you need to know. Many people seem to like the books by Black and Decker.

By the way, what you referred to as "coax" is officially called "NM-B", and commonly called by its most popular brand name, "Romex". "Coax" is that round black cable used to connect a television to its antenna. It is never used for power.
 
  #4  
Old 05-04-05, 09:49 AM
parfour
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This is my first time to post a thread and I do have to admit you guys are good. The light fixture on my ceiling, really on the joist the ceiling is bare in the basement, just support boards from the floor above. Anyway, the light fixture with the pull on/off switch has only one romex wire going to it. I believe that romex wire came from another light fixture in the nearby lanudry room. The house is 10 years old. So, I want to replace this light fixture with a celing fan/with a light. Is this the correct procedure:

1. Take my new romex wire and screw the black wire to the new light switch scew and the white wire to the other screw on the new switch and ground the bare wire on the new switch.

2. Then run the new romex from the light switch to the ceiling box and connect all white wires (white from new romex, white wire from the fan & white wire from existing romex), then do the same with the black wires (black from new romex, black&blue wire from fan & black wire from existing romex), then connect all bare wires and ground them to the new metal ceiling box?

In regards to the basement room and being up to code, I will not have a window or a second door! Is it against the law to build an extra/spare bedroom in you basement? Will I have a problem selling the house in the future if there is an extra room (without a window/2nd door in the basement)?
 
  #5  
Old 05-04-05, 10:12 AM
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1. is correct.

2. is NOT correct. If you do this then you will create a short circuit when you turn the switch on.

I would use three conductor wire (14-3 if a 15 amp circuit, or 12-3 if a 20 amp circuit). I would install 2 switches by he door. One switch for the light, and one for the fan. Wire this as follows:

At the switches connect the white wire to one terminal on each switch. You will need to use a wire nut and two pigtails. Connect the red wire to the other terminal on one switch. Connect the black wire to the other terminal on the second switch. Ground both switches (and the box if it is metal) with the ground wire. Take a permanent black marker or piece of black tape and mark the white wire to indicate that it is hot.

At the light/fan box (and make sure that it is a box rated for a fan, and that you have the necessary clearance to install a fan), connect the incoming hot black wire to the white wire going to the switches. Mark this wire with black marker or black tape. Connect the incoming white wire to the white wire(s) for the fan/light. Connect the black wire from the switch to the black wire for the fan/light. Connect the red wire from the switch to the blue wire for the fan/light. Connect all ground wires together and ground the metal box.

It is not against the law to build a bedroom in the basement. It is, however, required that bedroom meet code. Code requires two means of egress (exit) from every bedroom. The first is out the main bedroom door. The second is usually a window, but it can be a door. The requirements for using a window vary, but it must be a certain size (or larger) and a certain minimum distance off the floor. It must also open. The idea is that a person can easily open the window and get out, without the need of a chair (or similar item to stand on) or any tools.

When I say you could go to jail, I mean that. If someone were to die in that room because of a fire, the charge would likely be manslaughter. if someone were to become injured the charge would be just as bad.

Also, if the town or city finds this room is being used as a bedroom, the fines would be hefty, and they would likely make you bring it up to code. Your insurance company would also likely drop you.

This is nothing to ignore. Do not create a bedroom unless you add the required means of egress. You would be risking too much.

You may or may not have a problem selling the house with a room like this. The real estate agent will not list it as a bedroom, and will not call it such. They will call it an office, or something like that. They will make you remove any bed or bedroom furnishings that you have in such a room.

Where you might get into trouble is if the town/city/village finds out you did the work without a permit and an inspection. The permit and inspection process is designed to make sure that the new work is safe and up to codes.

A bedroom without two means of egress is NOT up to code and a bad idea.

If you can't do it right, don't do it.
 
  #6  
Old 05-04-05, 10:36 AM
parfour
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Could I install another bedroom door leading to the laundry room or does it have to be an exit to get outside of the house? If I installed another door, I would have one exit to the basement hallway and one exit into the laundry room, which is at the end of the basement hallway? In regards to the wiring and having two switchs, did you include how the fan and switches are getting power? I might have missed that part or are you refering to power wire as incoming?
 
  #7  
Old 05-04-05, 11:31 AM
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Please at least buy and read the paperbook Wiring Simplified. It is abvailable at Home Depot and other stores. It will answer many of your questions on wiring, and tell you what you need to know.

When you switch power to a light (or to a receptacle or to anything), you switch the hot wire.

In the setup I gave you, Power comes in on a black hot wire. It is routed to the switch box on the white wire that is part of the 12-3 or 14-3. It then goes through both switches, where you turn it on or off. From the switches it comes back to the fan/light on the red and on the black wires. Each of the two wires can be turned on and off separatelym with the two switches you install in the switch box. At the fan light the those two wires are incoming switched power for the fan and light. This is called a switch loop.

I don't think an exit into the laundry room qualifies as a second means of egress, as it doesn't lead out of the house.
 
  #8  
Old 05-04-05, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
"Coax" is that round black cable used to connect a television to its antenna. It is never used for power.
Except for low voltage, generally DC, power supplied to antenna mounted amplifiers often seen in rural locations. But this is generally only 3 to 12 volts, and usually not more than 100 to 200 milliamps.
 
  #9  
Old 05-04-05, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
I don't think an exit into the laundry room qualifies as a second means of egress, as it doesn't lead out of the house.
If the first means of egress goes to a hallway, then that doesn't lead out of the house, either. Maybe the requirement is that at least one of the means of egress must be directly to outside. But what if that means is a 2nd or 3rd floor window?

In my opinion, a 2nd door from a bedroom to another room that has a door (and an unobstructed path) directly to the outside at ground level would be better than a window at a 2nd floor level. But my opinions are not used by the people who make the code decisions.
 
  #10  
Old 05-04-05, 12:22 PM
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I think the problem with his laundry room door idea is that the laundry room leads to the same place as the main door for the room. But I am not a code expert. What I do know is that he needs a second way out of the room for it to be a bedroom. One door is not enough.
 
  #11  
Old 05-04-05, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by parfour
Could I install another bedroom door leading to the laundry room or does it have to be an exit to get outside of the house?
This varies a lot from district to district. In the county where I live, they require that the bedroom have a standard door leading to the stairs and a window in the actual basement bedroom (not in an adjacent room) that is large enough for a firefighter in full gear to enter and exit. There are a number of measurements for the width and depth of the window and of the window well.

I agree with the others in this forum that the egress issue is very important. You should talk to your local building inspector, even if that means you can't do this project in the way you originally planned.
 
  #12  
Old 05-04-05, 01:32 PM
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Normally you need a direct egress to the outside. This is usually in the form of a window. The openable area (not the window size) must be a minimum of 20 inches wide, a minimum of 24 inches tall, and a minimum of 5.7 square feet. The sill must be no more than 44 inches off the floor, and a ladder must be provided in the window well. If you currently do not have a window meeting these requirements, there are many foundation companies who specialize in cutting such openings.
 
  #13  
Old 05-04-05, 05:33 PM
parfour
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Thanks for everyone's help on the egress. I guess I will just put a recliner and t.v. in the room and call it a "relaxation rooom" instead of a "bedroom".

Back to my electrical dilema. In my existing light fixture, which has a pull string on/off switch, there is only one romex wire going into it. I assume that the black, white and ground are connected to this fixture's terminal screws. How do I connect a new romex wire to this light fixture to make three new wall outlets? The outlets do not need to controlled by a wall switch. I also will be converting this same light fixture into a ceiling fan/with a light and putting two new on/off switches in the wall to work the light and fan separately. Please help and I am a beginner. When you refer to grounding a wire, do you mean to ground it with another bare wire or ground it to the box and what if the box is plastic.
 
  #14  
Old 05-04-05, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by parfour
In my existing light fixture, which has a pull string on/off switch, there is only one romex wire going into it. I assume that the black, white and ground are connected to this fixture's terminal screws. How do I connect a new romex wire to this light fixture to make three new wall outlets? The outlets do not need to controlled by a wall switch. I also will be converting this same light fixture into a ceiling fan/with a light and putting two new on/off switches in the wall to work the light and fan separately. Please help and I am a beginner. When you refer to grounding a wire, do you mean to ground it with another bare wire or ground it to the box and what if the box is plastic.
This is going to overstuff the box because you'll need to put in a few pigtails to connect all the extra wires. You'll be better off pulling a new circuit for the outlets. How far is this from the panel?

If you really can't pull the extra circuit, you should add a new box ahead of the box for the light from which the outlets will be tapped. The power would come in one side, out another side to the outlets, and out a 3rd side for a short distance (a foot or 2) to the light. It will then be covered with a blank plate. Do not put any construction (drywall, paneling, whatever) over it; you should be able to unscrew the plate and pull out the wiring to inspect it or repair the connections if that is ever needed.

There is a separate ground wire apart from the other 2 wires used for power, even though one of those wires is grounded in the panel. You must keep them separate everywhere else for proper safety. This grounding wire is either insulated in a green color, or not insulated in certain cable assemblies (NM and UF). All metal frames must be connected to this grounding wire. A tap of that wire must also run to the switches to ground metal frame(s) there. It would be pigtailed where it comes in, and all uses of it connected in with that pigtail.

How your light/fan would be wired depends on its own instructions. Some require you to place the switch connections ahead of the light/fan. Others have more sophisticated controls and separate terminals for the switch connections. Read your directions carefully first, then tell us what it says.
 
  #15  
Old 05-04-05, 06:59 PM
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I gave you detailed instructions on how to wire the fan and light.

I also told you that you would not be able to connect three receptacles into this same box. Please believe me, I'm not trying to make you do extra work.

You MIGHT be able to connect one receptacle into this box and then go from that receptacle to the second, then to the third, and then to the fourth. It all depends on box fill. The receptacles must connect to the incoming power wires, the hot and the white that presently feed the existing light.

All ground wires must be connected together at each box. They must connect to the metal boxes (if applicable) and to the switches or receptacle.

I will say again. Please buy and read a book on wiring. ALL of these issues will be completely explained in great detail, plus a whole lot more.

Also, please heed my advice about installing enough receptacles in this room. Three probably doesn't meet code and won;t be enough.

Better yet, heed the advice to install a new circuit for the receptacles. You would be foolish not to do this.
 
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