Under Cabinet Accent Light Wiring

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-01-04, 07:09 PM
Lwlgeorge
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Under Cabinet Accent Light Wiring

I just bought under cabinet accent lights. I have heard them called "Puck" lights. My intention was to run the power cables from the lights to an in-wall dimmer switch. The lights come with extension cord type power cables. As I read the installation instructions, I came across an item that said not to run the power cables through walls. YIKES. That's a problem. Basically, they want you to attach a plug to the end of power cables and then plug the cable directly into a standard wall outlet. It's kind of hard to hide these cables not to mention put them on a dimmer.

What are my options here? How can I use these lights and run the cables, safely through the wall to a switch in an outlet box?
 
  #2  
Old 03-01-04, 08:28 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,223
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
You would need to use a wiring method like NM-B, more commonly called Romex, if you want to install it in the wall. The cables with the lights are NOT made for use in the wall.

Do not add these lights to the small appliance circuits that serve the countertop receptacles.
 
  #3  
Old 03-02-04, 07:27 AM
Lwlgeorge
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Man this was so much easier when it was an idea in my head. I am glad you put that last sentence in there regarding the small appliance circuits. I was going to do that very thing. I am a bit ignorant here. Why can't I use the existing small appliance circuits?

Where can I find info on the Romex wiring?
 
  #4  
Old 03-02-04, 10:18 PM
ltngbolt
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Are you dealing with open walls or is this a finished kitchen
 
  #5  
Old 03-03-04, 07:26 AM
Lwlgeorge
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
It's a finished kitchen. I actually went to the Home Depot last night and found that Romex is standard in wall electric cable with different gauges for different size(amps) circuits.

I decided to run the cables from the lamps into the cabinets through a small hole and into a metal box. Then, I ran Romex from the switch in the wall to a hole in the back of the cabinets and into the metal box. I then spliced the cables from the lamps to the Romex using electrical caps.

It worked pretty well. Does anyone see any potential problems with that solution other than the loss of some cabinet space because of the metal box?
 
  #6  
Old 03-09-04, 07:47 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The National Electrical Code specifically prohibits any lighting (and a number of other restrictions) on a circuit serving kitchen countertop receptacles. Other receptacles in your house that have similar restrictions are in the dining room, laundry area, and bathrooms (with exceptions). In general, you should never tap into any of these circuits.
 
  #7  
Old 03-09-04, 07:58 AM
Lwlgeorge
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
John - I appreciate your info. Can you please tell me why the code doesn't want you to put lighting on the small appliance circuits? Knowing that I shouldn't is good, but knowing WHY I shouldn't is more useful to me.
 
  #8  
Old 03-09-04, 03:22 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The NEC doesn't give rationales, so we can only guess. I think it's a desire to save all the countertop power for all those power-hungry countertop appliances. Otherwise, people are tempted to use extension cords where it would be unwise to do so.
 
  #9  
Old 03-09-04, 03:38 PM
Lwlgeorge
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks again for your reply. I find it interesting that they don't want you to use the appliance outlets. These lights that I bought come with crimp on two-prong plugs with the intention to have the lights plugged into those very outlets.
Anyway, thanks alot for the info. It has been very helpful.
 
  #10  
Old 03-09-04, 03:41 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's a constant struggle. Many things are sold on the market today that are a violation of the National Electrical Code to install. The NEC can't control what manufacturers choose to make. Don't assume that everything is safe and legal just because you find it on the shelf at the home center.
 
  #11  
Old 03-27-04, 03:06 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 137
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally posted by John Nelson
The National Electrical Code specifically prohibits any lighting (and a number of other restrictions) on a circuit serving kitchen countertop receptacles. Other receptacles in your house that have similar restrictions are in the dining room, laundry area, and bathrooms (with exceptions). In general, you should never tap into any of these circuits.
I never knew that it also had the same restrictions on other areas other than kitchen receptacles. I am interested. Could you tell more about the restrictions?

Also I would like to add since I seen that you are using a dimmer on the receptacle, that NEC also prohibts the use of a general purpose dimmer controlling a general purpose receptacle. So you need to either hard wire or no in wall dimmer for the time being
 
  #12  
Old 03-29-04, 12:53 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I cannot reasonably cover all the rules here. But I'll summarize (and therefore distort).

You must have a 20-amp circuit dedicated to laundry area receptacles (no lighting, nothing outside the laundry).

You have two choices with bathrooms: (1) You may put everything in one bathroom on the same 20-amp circuit (receptacles, lighting, fan, etc), or (2) You may put multiple bathroom receptacles on the same 20-amp circuit, with nothing except bathroom receptacles on this circuit.

Dining room receptacles are covered by the same rules as kitchen countertop receptacles (except no GFCI required).
 
  #13  
Old 04-07-05, 02:02 PM
DLo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Similar situation

Thanks for the info John. I was also planning on installing these as we are doing a kitchen remodel. I am down to the studs but the only circuits in the area are countertop receptacles. I may have to rethink the task lighting to pass inspection.
 
  #14  
Old 10-30-05, 09:02 PM
biver
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Suspected rationale

I'd just like to add what I think might be one rationale behind the NEC rule that some outlet circuits must be kept separate from the lighting circuits in the same room:

A circuit overload in the kitchen or bathroom would cut off your lights, presenting a safety hazard. Just a guess(???)

Circuit overloads could be pretty common in bathrooms, utility rooms, and kitchens, where heavy-duty appliances abound. Not sure about that rule applying to the dining room, though.
 
  #15  
Old 10-30-05, 11:49 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 338
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DLo
Thanks for the info John. I was also planning on installing these as we are doing a kitchen remodel. I am down to the studs but the only circuits in the area are countertop receptacles. I may have to rethink the task lighting to pass inspection.
You can tie in to the lighting circuit that feeds the kitchen lights, and if the house is new enough you can also probably get to the outdoor outlet next to the kitchen door. It will not be on the appliance circuit. Generally only one of the dining area receptacles will be on the appliance circuit so you can sometimes tie in to one of the other ones.

In most houses, the circuit that feeds the range hood wil not be on the applicance circuit so you can use that for your undercounter lights as well. If you are wiring in a new range hood, ask your inspoector for his/her call on whether or not to use the kitchen appliance circuit for the range hood. Some allow it, some don't.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: