adding light switch & light from basement lights


Old 08-26-01, 11:13 AM
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I have two lights in my basement controlled by a light switch at the top of the stairs. I have added a bedroom in the basement and would like to add a light and light switch to this room. One of the two existing lights is the terminating point of the circuit. The room I added was 3/4 finished when I started. It had 3 walls and had electrical plugs already installed, the walls are also covered by wall board already. Can I continue the circuit from the existing light to the new bedroom switch back to a new light? And if so, when the switch at the top of the stairs is off does that mean the new bedroom light will be not usable as well?
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Old 08-26-01, 11:55 AM
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You could power that bedroom switch from your nearest bedroom receptacle and then from that bedroom switch to the bedroom light, then you have independent control in that bedroom. If you would like to also control the basement lights in the bedroom but separate from the bedroom light then you could run a 12 or 14/3wGrnd from that switch at the top of the stairs down to a second switch in the bedroom. This way you could control either the basement light or the bedroom light independently.

If you power the bedroom light from the end of a switch controled light in the basement you would have a way of shutting off the bedroom light either in the bedroom or at the top of the stairs but you would not have a way of shutting off the basement lights from the bedroom. You would still have to run a 12 or 14/3wGrnd from that top stairs light to the bedroom to be able to shut off the basement light from the bedroom or run upstairs shut off the basement light and run down the stairs in the dark to the bedroom.

I would say the first paragraph would be your better choice.

Now you have thrown a flag in my mind when you said you made a bedroom in the basement. You are required by the Building Code to have an emergency egress and ingress to and from that bedroom usually through a minimum sized bedroom window or a second set of stairs out of that basement in case of a fire or other emergency. This requirment is needed to ensure an escape route so that your children or you do not get trapped in that bedroom without a way to escape. You really need to consider this requirment. It limits you liability and may save someones life in the future if something goes wrong. This is an important consideration to think on.

Try the following links that may help in your wiring.

Good luck

Old 08-26-01, 05:42 PM
Gary Tait
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If continuous power goes to either fixture, you can do
what you want. If power goes to the switch, then WGs
advice is what you follow, you need to get power elsewhere.
Old 09-08-01, 06:24 AM
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I have taken the power to run this light from a receptacle and have run the cable to the switch. From there the cable is routed to the light fixture. What type of switch do I use and how do the terminals connect. I tried a 2-way switch with both white wires on one connection and both black wires on the other. The light would work when the switch was off but blow the breaker when turned on. I then tried a 3-way switch with both black wires on the bottom right connection (dark screw) and one white wire on the top right (silver) screw and the other white wire on the other silver screw. This did not work. What I am I doing wrong?

Old 09-08-01, 06:40 AM
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I am very concerned for the safety of your family. You clearly do not have sufficient understanding of electricity to be doing this job. Please, please go to your local Home Depot or public library and get a book or two on home wiring. Read the book cover to cover. You need to develop some basic understanding. Understand that I am not trying to put you down -- but I am concerned about your safety!

What you are attempting to do is indeed very easy, and within the ability of any educated home owner. Those of us who answer questions in this forum are very good at patiently walking people through the job they are doing, but basic safety requires that you have some understanding of what is going on.

To answer your particular question. Buy a 2-way switch. Hook the two black wires to the two brass screws on the switch. Hook the two white wires to each other but not to the switch -- use a yellow wire nut. Hook the two bare grounding wires to each other and to the green screw on the switch -- use a green wire nut with a hole in the top.

This will solve your immediate problem, but please get the book. You will find it fascinating!

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