Removing Light fixture/converting switch to outlet

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-02-16, 05:24 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Removing Light fixture/converting switch to outlet

Hi there, new homeowner and I have a question about an electrical DIY.

I have a small breakfast bar in a galley kitchen which has 3 light fixtures. I want to remove the one over the breakfast nook and replace its switch with a double outlet. I've already done most of this, but the outlet isn't working, so I broke the circuit somewhere.

Outlet= First thing I did was flip the breaker off so no power was coming in this fixtures (of course). Then I removed the light switch and behind it were your normal 3 wires, black/white/bare. I switched the wires over, screwed the outlet in, turned on the breaker, and tested the outlet. It worked! Yay. Now to remove the now nonfunctional fixture.

Fixture= Turned the breaker back off, unscrewed the fixture from the ceiling. Strangely the fixture wires were both attached to white/neutral wires. Meanwhile, the black/hot wire was already capped and taped off. I thought this was odd, but shrugged and capped and taped off the two white wires individually. Finally, screwed a plate cover over the box. Turned on the breaker, checked the metal box and made sure it wasn't hot, and I thought, done! But I then tried the outlet and now it doesn't work. My non-contact tester says that power is on to the outlet, but things plugged in don't work.

To fix the problem, do I go back into the fixture box and twist the two white/neutral cords together, then cap them? That's the only solution I can figure, as the fixture was the only part of the circuit disconnected. I just want to make sure that's not gonna cause an electrical fire the moment I flip on the breaker. Thanks!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-02-16, 06:08 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
behind it were your normal 3 wires, black/white/bare.
Which means it was a switch loop and the white is not a neutral. You have no power for a receptacle because there is no neutral. Power for the circuit was at the light.

To fix this you need to determine which cable at the light is from the switch and which is your power in cable. You connect white to white and black to black of those two cables. If there is a third cable you need to determine if it is power out to another light. If so it will also be connected the same way. If you do this you can not cover up the ceiling box. It must remain accessible but you can put on a blank cover plate.
 
  #3  
Old 05-02-16, 06:30 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Name:  2016-05-02 19.22.15.jpg
Views: 601
Size:  33.7 KB

Tried to attach a photo, we'll see if it turns out. In the fixture there were a few wires. There were two blacks capped together which weren't attached to the fixture. Then there were two whites which attached to the fixture. One of the whites is marked with black electrical tape (hot?). You said I can connect white to white, so it's okay if I connect the plain white with the white marked with electrical tape?

Thanks so much for the help!
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-02-16 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Rotate image.
  #4  
Old 05-02-16, 06:57 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 578
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
That's what you would expect to see if it was switch loop wiring. What basically is happening is one of the Blacks is a power coming in, the other black is a power leaving to go to where the switch was in the white with black tape was the black returning from the switch. All you need to do is connect the 2 whites and should work properly. Is there a 2nd ground wire in that box you pictured? If so both grounds need to be connected together also to ensure that you have a ground where you have the new outlet.
 
  #5  
Old 05-02-16, 07:13 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Perfect! Got it working, I thought that was likely what needed to be done, I just wanted somebody to say that it wouldn't explode the moment I tried it lol.

There wasn't a second ground in the box, though there was one in the outlet which I connected. My outlet tester gave it as ungrounded though. The house I'm in was built in 1959 and the entire place is ungrounded. That is a major project for another day.

I understand that the box cannot be covered up via drywall according to code (so somebody else knows there is a live box there), but is it okay to put decor over it or something?

Thanks so much for the help y'all!
 
  #6  
Old 05-02-16, 07:30 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 578
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
but is it okay to put decor over it or something?
That's perfectly acceptable as long as it remains accessible.
 
  #7  
Old 05-02-16, 07:31 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
A removable cover is fine. Didn't know they made Decor covers for ceiling boxes. You need something more like this:

Name:  41VZEvmNmVL._SX300_.jpg
Views: 485
Size:  8.9 KB

http://www.amazon.com/Arlington-CP35.../dp/B007ORUAIO

Code wise though you are skating near the abyss labeled ungrounded circuits can't be extended. The receptacle you use must be two prong (no ground hole) or GFCI receptacle marked no ground. If a kitchen only a GFCI receptacle should be used.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-02-16 at 08:05 PM.
  #8  
Old 05-03-16, 08:52 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,948
Received 32 Votes on 27 Posts
The wiring for the switch loop shown is incorrect. You should not have two whites on the fixture. The white should be the hot feed to the switch.
 
  #9  
Old 05-03-16, 12:29 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
But since the switch is being removed it is a moot point it was wired contrary to code.
 
Reply

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:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: