Add Light and Switch to Existing Outlet


Old 01-24-09, 09:14 PM
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Add Light and Switch to Existing Outlet

Hi -

I am wanting to add a switched ceiling light fixture to an existing circuit. The existing wiring is 12/2 on a 20A breaker. The main power feed goes into a light fixture in a closet and then from there feeds two outlets that are not in succession. Therefore in that light box, there is a power cable, and a cable to each outlet.

So, at each outlet it would appear to be an "end of run" outlet as only 2 out of 4 prongs are being used.

Can I do either of the following things (Note: I would like the outlet to stay hot while the light is switched):

1) Connect 12/2 cable running from the other 2 prongs of the existing outlet up to the attic and over to the new ceiling light box and then down to the switch from there (the new switch can not be located above the existing outlet wishing to be tapped for power).


2) The cable that runs from the existing closet light fixture to the existing outlet runs through the attic. Can I somehow splice into that cable (using a Junction box of course) and then run from that new j-box to the old outlet and also from that new j-box to the new ceiling fixture and then finally to the new switch? (This would be the easiest by far if possible)

Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.
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Old 01-24-09, 10:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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How is the closet light turned on and off?

Either of your approaches will work. One issue with #2 is whether the existing cable has enough slack in it to add a junction box. Code requires that you have at least 6 inches from each end of the cable inside the junction box. If there isn't enough slack, you can resolve this by adding two boxes with a length of new cable between them.

Get a few books on home wiring and read them cover to cover. Your project is very simple, but you should still make sure you learn the skills to do it correctly and safely. Both of your approaches requires a "switch loop," so make sure you know what one is and how to wire it properly (which requires you to connect a black wire to a white wire).
Old 01-24-09, 10:51 PM
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John -

The closet light is a pull switch.

Thanks for the info. I will double check the lengths you mentioned.

I'm familiar with a switch loop so I feel comfortable there. I'm assuming that at the J-box itself (assuming only 1 is needed) I would simply need to wire nut all three black wires together (both ends from the newly spliced wire and the new black wire running to the new ceiling fixture) and all three whites together.

Then, at the new ceiling fixture, wire a switch loop to the new switch.

Am I correct in thinking that this will accomplish a constant hot outlet in addition to a newly installed, switched ceiling fixtuer?

My peace of mind thanks you many times in advance.
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