use existing switch for new light

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Old 02-04-09, 05:12 PM
mik
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use existing switch for new light

my son's room had 2 switches (in the same cover plate) on the wall and 1 operates the ceiling light. I have no idea what the other does: I used a meter & checked every outlet in his room but that switch doesn't work any of them; they're all hot all the time. I removed the cover plate & found three sets of romex coming into the back of the switch box with a red wire coming in from one of those ,and the red wire's attached to top terminal of switch number one(the ceiling light); the blacks, whites & grounds are tied together & tucked into the back of the box & it appears there's jumpers to that 2nd switch. Any suggestions on how I could use that 2nd switch to directly power a light I want to install in my son's closet?
 
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Old 02-04-09, 06:14 PM
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That switch might have controlled one half of a receptacle. You would need to check both top and bottom to find it.

There are strict clearence requirements for lighting fixtures in closets. No bare bulbs allowed. Incandescent fixtures require 12" minimum clearence from the plane of the shelf all the way to the ceiling. Fluorescents require 6" minimum clearence. This measurement is to the closest edge of the fixture to the shelf plane.

Does your closet allow this kind of clearence?
 
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Old 02-04-09, 06:18 PM
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repeat information:
now I need eighteen characters to get this to post

Bud
 

Last edited by Bud9051; 02-04-09 at 06:21 PM. Reason: duplicate of above post:)
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Old 02-05-09, 07:21 AM
mik
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Thanks for the reply pc boss; I checked both the top & bottom of each receptacle in his room & they're all hot all the time, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. The only thing I can figure is that maybe when this house was built (7 yrs. ago-we just bought it) they forgot to dedicate that switch to an outlet by breaking the connection between the top & bottom receptacle of that outlet...? I'm just lost on wiring the new light to this switch; I have photos but can't find an icon on this site to use to attach them here. I am all set with the clearances on mounting the fluorescent light in the closet, and it has a cover so there's no exposed bulb.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 08:46 AM
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It sounds like the switch box is already filled to capacity. Could you please count the number of wires and their size? Also need to know how many wires the box says it can hold. This should be shown on the inside back of the box.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 12:07 PM
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Like I said there's three sets of romex coming into the back of the box so there's 3 whites, 3 blacks, 3 grounds and one red. The red is connected to the top terminal of the light switch to the ceiling light. I have no idea what the 2nd switch is currently wired to, but I only want to use it for the new light in the closet if there's any way that you can help with that? I don't want to add another wire to add to the capacity of the box, I'm asking if I can use the switch that's there to operate a light in the closet since that switch doesn't operate anything now anyway.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 12:38 PM
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In order to do what you propose you would need to connect a cable from the new light to the switch OR find the end of the cable that appears to do nothing and connect it to the new light.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 12:51 PM
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both switches are wired to the same source; incoming wires from the hot are pigtailed then they put a jumper from the 1st switch to the second; nevermind- if I could have attached the photos (without going to some other site & registering) I took it would have explained everything better than I did but thanks anyway.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 01:17 PM
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I know you said you checked the voltage but take the covers off the receptacles and see if there's a red wire hooked to one of them then you'll know and like you said, they may not have broken the tab. Then you can just cap the red on both ends and use that switch and feed. They may have pre-wired for fan/light and if you're not using it then cap it off.
 
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Old 02-06-09, 06:22 AM
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thank you wirenutt1110; that piece of advice is great & closing off both ends of the red should do it; Thanks again!
 
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