New recessed lights, old switch - do I pigtail?

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  #1  
Old 07-02-12, 08:53 AM
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New recessed lights, old switch - do I pigtail?

I'm about to install some new recessed lights into some soffits in my basement. I'm going to repurpose a switch that was originally wired to an old ceiling fan. The soffits are on either side of the room and the switch is at the "bottom." If I wire 3 lights on each side in a "Y" configuration, do I just pigtail the connection to the switch?
 
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Old 07-02-12, 09:08 AM
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Does power come in at the switch or the old ceiling fan? Is the switch a "single location" switch or a "multiple location" 3-way switch?
 
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Old 07-02-12, 09:10 AM
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Looks like power comes into the switch. It's a single-pole, not 3-way. The current fan is being powered off another switch and the fan portion uses a remote control.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 09:32 AM
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Do you have access to the switch box? Please answer Rays questions and we can go from there.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 10:12 AM
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In post #1 you wrote:
I'm about to install some new recessed lights into some soffits in my basement. I'm going to repurpose a switch that was originally wired to an old ceiling fan.
Then in post #3 you wrote:
The current fan is being powered off another switch and the fan portion uses a remote control.
So does that mean the switch you want to use currently has nothing connected to it?

Looks like power comes into the switch.
What led you to the conclusion? Do you have two cables in the box? Does one cable show a 120v when tested between hot and neutral using a test light or multimeter (but not a non-contact tester)?
 
  #6  
Old 07-02-12, 03:14 PM
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Correct, the switch has nothing. Whoever installed the new fan for the previous owners must have disconnected the 2nd switch but left it in the box so they they wouldn't have to go from a 3-gang to a 2-gang. It's that empty switch that I want to reuse.

I know that power is going into the box because I can trace a cable from the box back to the panel.

What I basically want to know is if I can wire the new recessed lights (7 in total) in a "Y" configuration (3 on each arm, 1 at the junction) and only have romex run going back to the switch and pigtail the hot that's also going to the other switches.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 04:08 PM
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In a 3-gang box there should be plenty of room so that should be fine.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 04:30 PM
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What I basically want to know is if I can wire the new recessed lights (7 in total) in a "Y" configuration (3 on each arm, 1 at the junction) and only have romex run going back to the switch and pigtail the hot that's also going to the other switches.
Yes, you can make a T-tap at the first light (at the junction) to add 2 cables, one to each of the other 2 sets of 3.

Yes, you can feed your new switch by pigtailing from the panel feed to the switch and connecting the black wire going to the "junction" fixture there - provided you have enough capacity on that circuit.

What is served by that branch circuit now, and what is the maximum wattage reting of your 7 new lights?
 
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Old 07-02-12, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for all the help. The circuit is only going to have those 7 lights (50W each) and the light/fan (75-100W) so I should be well under the limit.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 08:32 PM
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The circuit is only going to have those 7 lights (50W each)
You should be fine but remember amps is not determined by the size bulb you plan to use but the maximum wattage the lamp holder is rated for.
 
  #11  
Old 07-02-12, 08:36 PM
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The circuit is only going to have those 7 lights (50W each) and the light/fan (75-100W) so I should be well under the limit.
The question is whether you have enough capacity on the branch circuit you're planning to extend - to serve these new lights - to safely supply the total of the existing load and the added load. That can only be determined by answering these questions:
  • What size is the wire from the panel that feeds the switch box with the unused switch? 14AWG or 12AWG?
  • What is the rating of the overcurrent protection device (the circuit breaker) protecting that wire?
  • What is being supplied by that circuit now? What goes off when you turn the breaker off? How many receptacles? How many lights? What is the maximum allowable wattage for each existing light fixture? What other loads, such as fans or smoke alarms?
  • What is the maximum allowable wattage for each of the seven fixtures you's planning to add?
 
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