Adding small lights to stairs

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Old 02-06-06, 09:28 PM
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Adding small lights to stairs

I'd like to install some kind of light on our steps going down to the basement so that we don't miss a step as we have done already twice. The steps are open in the basement so dropping wires down isn't a problem. In mind are either small round lights or lights of the kind in a theater which would run along the end of each step. The light switch at the top of the hallway turns on not only the stairwell light but also the lights in the finished room downstairs which is not closed off from the steps and in which somebody lives. To turn on a light means waking them up. Walling off that room from the stairs is another project. How can we do this?
 
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Old 02-06-06, 09:42 PM
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In mind are either small round lights or lights of the kind in a theater which would run along the end of each step.
And stay on all the time?



> How can we do this?
Tap into some general purpose circuit that has unswitched power available and extend the circuit to the lights.
 
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Old 02-07-06, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
And stay on all the time?



> How can we do this?
Tap into some general purpose circuit that has unswitched power available and extend the circuit to the lights.
You have got to be a trained electrician. I appreciate this reply and as with the other questions on electricity, I am just going to wait until I can hire one to come and handle all of these issues. By the way, can you give me any idea of what the average going rate is for their time? If it makes any difference, we live in northern North Carolina.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 05:10 AM
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I'm no electrician and won't even try to give electrical advice, but it seems to me you're looking for an easy, temporary fix. If you have a receptacle near the top of the stairs, you can buy rope lighting, which is inexpensive and resembles theater lighting, and tack that to your stairs on one side...assuming they're wood, not carpet. You can plug them in when you want to use them, or buy one of those short extension cords with a switch already in it, plug that into the receptacle, put the switch somewhere you can reach easily, and plug the rope lighting into that.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 06:07 AM
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You should decide on what you want first. Try searching "step lighting" and see what you like. I personally like the louvered wall inserts for step lighting. We can then discuss how to install them.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by KenC
I'm no electrician and won't even try to give electrical advice, but it seems to me you're looking for an easy, temporary fix. If you have a receptacle near the top of the stairs, you can buy rope lighting, which is inexpensive and resembles theater lighting, and tack that to your stairs on one side...assuming they're wood, not carpet. You can plug them in when you want to use them, or buy one of those short extension cords with a switch already in it, plug that into the receptacle, put the switch somewhere you can reach easily, and plug the rope lighting into that.
Sweetie, I might be hoping for something easy but definitely not temporary. Even so, I had the feeling that it wouldn't be as easy as it looks when those guys on tv do it. Upon entering the stairway to the basement there is a light switch. This switch lights up the light in the stair hallway and the flourescent lights in the 'finished' room itself with no way to only have one or the other on. There are no outlets in that stairway. Because we do not want to turn the lights on when we need to go downstairs at night, I was trying to find some kind of lighting that would be dim enough not to wake them up (daughter and 3 kids) but bright enough to light the carpeted steps so that we would not fall and break some bones. We both have missed three bottom steps (hubby and I) going downstairs. These steps are open on the other side in the basement, they haven't been closed in so we can drop wires down through them if need be. We have plenty of receptacles in the basement as it was used as a workshop. The walls of the stairway are drywall in all but one spot which is high up. The walls are painted of course. The finished room is open to most of the stairway, another thing we need to correct but it wasn't previously used as a bedroom, but a playroom. I've already been convinced that I need to hire a licensed electrician to do all of these electrical things for me so we will just have to wait until Uncle Sam gives us our money back before we can arrange to have this accomplished. Those line lights I saw at Lowe's are direct wires, they don't have plugs. I thank you for taking the time to answer this question and hope you have a great day today.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 06:56 AM
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bolide, do you normally advise just tapping circuits without regard to the existing load and to the new load. do we just add on to circuits and keep tapping off until the breaker trips. why make panels with 42 breaker spaces if we can just keep tapping off existing circuits.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 08:44 AM
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Now that I understand what you are looking for, I would check out built in LED nightlights. Such as, TradeMaster Decorator Hallway Lights

They have a solar cell that turns them on in the dark and provide energy efficient lighting for these types of applications.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 10:42 AM
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Post digression to address the recent ad hominem attack

Originally Posted by tach
do you normally advise just tapping circuits without regard to the existing load and to the new load.
No. Nor did I.

I did not write:
Tap into some general purpose circuit that has unswitched power and extend the circuit to the lights.


I did write:
Tap into some general purpose circuit that has unswitched power available and extend the circuit to the lights.


If there is not excess capacity sufficient to meet the additional load, then the required additional power is not available from that circuit. Of course, you already know this.


If your concern was simply that the person do a load calculation, then you would have addressed your remarks to the original poster.

It is common that each person contributes a piece of the answer.
There is no rule that every response has to cover all the bases.
Or if there is such a rule, it is your rule. But you should not to try force others to follow it.


Instead of offering helpful advice to the original poster, you made an ad hominem attack on me.
You didn't attack any facts about what I wrote.

You attacked me personally insinuating that I always give questionable advice. You even went so far as to use the word "always" - a clear sign that you were being abusive and trying to start an argument.

You have zero examples to back up your attack - and even if you did, does that justify attacking me?

Neither on this board nor in real life do I ever recommend just tapping some existing circuit. I am far more likely to flat out recommend a new circuit or additional circuits beyond the minimum, or circuits to keep more things separate (like stairway lights, or lights in general from outlets in the same general living space). I never recommend carelessly loading up existing circuits.

So why would you have suggested such a thing? It is possible that you misread my post. I miss a lot of things too in posts.
But if that were the case, why would you attack me? If you thought that information was missing or overlooked, you would have simply added it - unless of course you normally make your "contributions" into personal attacks.

What I suspect happened is that this is sour grapes. I have confronted the misinformation and errors and your other posts by presenting the facts.
I made no attacks on you personally.
I questioned the questionable information that you posted - but never once said a bad word about you or your lack of knowledge. Nor did I insinuate that you always give bad advice.

Nonetheless, to get even with me for pointing out all your errors, you decided to point out something that you thought that I had overlooked by launching a tirade against me about 42 breakers in a box. What you said was completely off topic. A careful reading of my post shows that I did not give the advice that you claimed that I had. Was this your best shot? Can we expect more of this antisocial behavior from you?

If you have a problem what the advice that I give, you can always post your own views. As for me, I'll continue to confront your misinformation with the facts.
 

Last edited by bolide; 02-09-06 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 02-08-06, 02:22 PM
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Ozmee,
As I mentioned, I'm no electrician, but I do most of my own work and know a little about it. I can tell you that what you have in mind isn't difficult for a qualified electrician and won't cost an arm and a leg. If there is already sufficient power available to the current switch, it would be simple to add a second switch to the same location, with each controlling one of the lights. That would only take a few minutes, but that wouldn't be a good permanent solution. Once you fully enclose the room in the basement, I'm sure you'll want the switch inside the room. Still a relatively easy job as far as making the connections but would require some wiring and possibly made a little more difficult if the basement is finished, particulary the ceiling and the outside walls of the bedroom....are they still unfinished with access to the studs and wiring already in place? If so, piece of cake. The best thing to do is call a local electrician once Uncle Sam repays you, and tell him what you want. He'll be able to ask the right questions and should be able to give you an idea of what you're looking at for your area. Good luck.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chris8796
Now that I understand what you are looking for, I would check out built in LED nightlights. Such as, TradeMaster Decorator Hallway Lights

They have a solar cell that turns them on in the dark and provide energy efficient lighting for these types of applications.
Now these sound like something feasible for that area.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 03:00 PM
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If you are using the basement as a bedroom or as separate living quarters, these are other fire and protection codes (besides the electric code) with which you need to comply.
 
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Old 02-08-06, 06:46 PM
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i did not fly off the handle. i asked a question. if you think that was flying off the handle maybe forum responses are not your strong suit. you dont have to keep me nameless in some peanut gallery, everyone can see my post and my username and can even send me a pm.
 
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