Tapping into a circuit


Old 09-21-05, 02:19 PM
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Tapping into a circuit

I want to install a new switch and ceiling fixture box for a ceiling fan in my living room. In my research I have found that I can tap into a curcuit to do this. I have mapped my circuits and found that all the outlets in the living room are on the same circuit as well as the lights in the entry, kitchen and outside. Total of 4 lights inside, 2 outside, 2 lamps plugged into the outlets, tv, stereo, dish box, dvd player, vcr, phone, & answering machine on the outlets also.

My first question would be is there enough power to add a ceiling fan w/ light kit to this circuit? My second question is how do you tap into a circuit? Do I run wire from the nearest outlet/fixture to the switch? If so, how do I attach the wire? Do I cut an existing wire and twist and cap the wire into that? Am I making any sense?
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Old 09-21-05, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
This circuit is moderately loaded. You haven't stated whether it is a 15 or 20 amp circuit, and that would make a difference. You haven;t provided many details on the TV either (size, type, etc.). Some people report that having a fan on the same circuit as a TV generates interference for the TV. You haven't stated what size light bulbs you use in those lights, etc. You are probably okay, but it's hard to tell.

To attach to an existing receptacle you need to run your new wire to the box and then attach directly to the receptacle. If the screw terminals on the receptacle are all used up then you will need to disconnect at least one of them and make a pigtail so that your new wire and the previous wire can connect to the screw via a wire nut connection. (his is because you can only place one wire under a screw terminal). Do not under any circumstances cut any existing wires.
Old 09-22-05, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
A fan itself uses relatively little power (only about 65 watts on high), but the light kit can use a lot. Some light kits only use 60 watts, while others use 240 watts or more.

I suggest you visit your home center or public library and pick up three books on home wiring. The books will teach you how your electrical system works, how to work on it safely, how to use proper techniques, and how to do simple projects such as yours.

Your project is a great introductory electrical project, but only with sufficient study and preparation. We may not be able to give you a complete tutorial (hence the recommendation for books), but we can definitely help you with questions that come up along the way.

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