swap a light fixture wiring box for an outlet?

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  #1  
Old 07-31-05, 09:02 AM
natlee
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swap a light fixture wiring box for an outlet?

I have a wiring for a light fixture in the basement. Can I swap out the box to an outlet box and use the existing wiring for an outlet receptacle?
Thanks
 
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Old 07-31-05, 10:05 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Maybe.

First, there would be no need to swap out the box, unless you want to. You can mount a receptacle in the existing box, and buy a cover for it.

Here is the catch. The circuit should be properly grounded, and it may not be. If the circuit is old and not properly grounded (IE only two wire) then I would recommend running a new circuit. Since this is a basement, the new receptacle must be a GFCI receptacle, or you must provide GFCI protection in some other manner.
 
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Old 07-31-05, 10:16 AM
natlee
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Thanks for the info. I believe there are more than 2 wires but I'll double check of course. I believe there are 2 sets of black and white wires. But are you saying there should be a ground wire? I just need to know what to look for. Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 07-31-05, 10:54 AM
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How old is your house, and is this wiring original or is it recently added.

Years ago there was no requirement for general purpose branch circuits in residences to be grounded, so they used two conductor cable, that is cable that has a black and a white wire only. They would then install two prong receptacles only. Certain circuits would be grounded, such as kitchen and perhaps laundry and bath, but most circuits were not grounded.

Today, all branch circuits must be grounded, and only three prong receptacles can be installed. This, of course, applies to new construction and remodeling. There is no requirement to bring old houses up to code until significant remodeling is done.

However, you are not allowed to extend (that is add on to) ungrounded circuits in residences, without properly grounding at least the new portion of the circuit.

Keep in mind also that you do need light in a basement, so unless you have other means of light, you probably don't want to swap out the light.

There is also the load you anticipate for the circuit. If you are looking to run a machine, such as a table saw, you may overload the circuit. This of course depends on what else is on the circuit.

As I stated before, you would be best to leave this circuit alone, and add a new circuit. A new circuit will be properly grounded, and you won;t have to worry about overloading it if this one receptacle is all you place on it.
 
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