Adding outlets and a switch...


Old 10-31-06, 08:54 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Adding outlets and a switch...

Hi all, I entered this site at my wife's request. Though I was initially feeling confident in this project, my wife asked enough questions that now I'm not so sure... I'm wanting to run this project by you guys (better safe than burned, right?). Thanks in advance for your time.

First the basic info (assuming more info is helpful): My house was built in 1940. Back then, wiring seemed to be haphazard: it's really hard to trace a circuit. Also, back then 1 or 2 receptacles per room was acceptable.

I just built a wall and some doors down the middle of a room to make 2 separate rooms, and I want to add some receptacles on the wall. I'm not sure how many outlets are already on the circuits [due to the addition of a shed dormer, the back of the room is on a different circuit than the front of the room... I think]. To add some soundproofing, I'm putting some insulation in the wall.

OK, here's the electrical situation:

On one side of the wall, I want to add 2 outlets and a switch to a circuit that ends in a knee-wall. Part of the run will be through raceway, the rest will be in the new wall. At the end of the run will be a switch for an overhead light. I was going to run cable from the switch to the top of the wall then use raceway on the ceiling to the light, but I may want to put in a ceiling fan so thought a surface mounted light wouldn't hold enough weight. Instead I will retrace the cable back through the new wall, through the raceway, behind the knee-wall and up above the ceiling. This whole run is 70-80 feet.

Is it ok to have the cable side by side with itself for this distance (don't know if there's some effect it has)? In the wall it won't be bundled except through the studs, but in the raceway (11' long) it will be.

Also wondering if it's ok to have the bat insulation around the cable, or will heat build up?

Speaking of heat, part of the raceway will go behind a 24-30" steam radiator, the guy at [big blue DIY home improvement center] didn't think it would be an issue if the raceway is at floor level, but I'm open to more comments.

Also, I recall hearing somewhere that outlets and switches shouldn't be on the same run. Is this true?

On the other side of the wall I have a similar situation but not as long: there's a receptacle about 16" from the new wall. I want to tie into that and add 2 receptacles on the new wall, but no switch. But, both sets of connections are taken on the receptacle and it's a pretty tight squeeze in the current 3x2x2 receptacle box. I don't think there's enough room for me to make a pigtail for the new cable run and I don't think the 'bump-out' for the raceway counts as making the box bigger and meeting code for the number of wires. I figure my options are to either replace the box with a bigger one, or add a box next/under it to 'house' the pigtail.

Don't know if it's important, but the cable is 14-2 w/G.

I'm hoping that made sense. I'm open to opinions, suggestions, etc. Thanks. Apologies if this was too detailed and particularly verbose...
Sponsored Links
Old 10-31-06, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
First the lecture. You should know what is on this circuit. You should know hat is on every circuit in your house. Before you even think about this project you need to figure out what is on this circuit, and every circuit in your house. This information could save you hours and dollars if/when a connection fails and you have to find it.

More importantly, this information could save your life.

Take the time, before you do anything else, to completely map out your house and determine exactly what is on each and every circuit, and what breaker or fuse controls each and every light, receptacle and appliance. You should have done this shortly after moving in.

You should have told us where you live. The below information assumes the US. I suggest that you update your profile so we can better supply information.

You are not allowed to extend any circuits that are not properly grounded. This means that you cannot extend any circuit that does not have a ground wire. In the 1940, most circuits were not grounded.

You are doing significant remodeling. Thie means whatever you add needs to be up to code. At the very least this new wall needs proper receptacles on both sides. Some people would argue that the rest of the room needs to be ugraded to current code as well.

If you are planning on adding a ceiling light, do it properly and run the wires in the ceiling. Especially do this if you are thinking about a fan. Fan's are heavy and need proper Attachment to the joists.

I recommend you avoid surface raceways. Make a few holes in the wall and run the wires properly. In the end you'll be glad you did.

You are not allowed to overcrowd a box. You must stay withing box fill requirements. Generally speaking, a single gang box with more than three cables in/out is overfilled.

The best advice for you is to leave the existing circuits alone, and add new circuits.
Old 10-31-06, 11:05 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts

Thanks, that was helpful. I live in Western Massachusetts.

I have tried to map the circuits, but it was exhausting, and each time I stopped before finishing (about 30-40% done). But you reinforced how important it is, and I'll finish the project. I didn't think of it as a safety/life saving issue (when I shut off power, I do the main switch-- just to be safe), more of convenience of where things are, and curious about how convoluted the circuits are.

Some wiring in the house is still original to the house, much has been upgraded. When the shed dormer was put on, a lot of the 2nd floor was updated. The circuits I'd be working with are grounded. I double checked this last week with a gadget I bought at a supply center.

After the 2nd floor dormer was put on we found out the hard way that several recpetacles on the 1st floor weren't grounded, so hired someone to come in and do this (vacuum cleaner was the only casualty).

I didn't consider this project a significant remodel, but it is to code. The new wall is just under 6' long and not load bearing. The local electric code dictates that there needs to be a receptacle every 6'. The area built up by the shed dormer has this, the front of the house doesn't. Since the new wall is under 6', the new receptacles are a matter of convenience.

I'll take your advice to run behind the wall instead of using raceway under serious consideration. I already did decide to run the cable for the light through the ceiling. I'll replace the one box I referred to in my original post with a bigger one.

Still, what are the thoughts about the radiator heat and the light switch at the end of a circuit with several receptacles?

Old 10-31-06, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The radiator heat is not an issue to properly installed cables.

I can't comment onthe wires in the box until I know the size (it its NOT 2x2x3), or the number of wires in the box, as well as what device is in the box.
Old 10-31-06, 11:47 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts

When you said "radiator heat not an issue to properly installed cables", does 'properly installed' mean that the cables can be either behind the wall (ideal solution) or in a protective raceway at the bottom of the baseboard?

I'm pretty sure the box is 3" high, 2" wide, and 2" deep. (will double check when I get home) The receptacle in it is in middle of a line, so I would need a pigtail to tie in to it.
Old 10-31-06, 08:09 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The local electric code dictates that there needs to be a receptacle every 6'. #

Within 6'. EX: 12' wall 1 rec in the middle your coverd.

Disregard any existing ckts. start fresh. A 1940 home, leave the old alone.IE: don't mess with the existing box.

as opposed to surface mount conduit or otherwise, is there access to an attic? You could go up then down to the new location.

You did not mention the use of these rooms. Bedrooms, bath,storage etc. This matters.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: