Adding light in a room with only a switched receptacle

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Old 11-05-08, 10:23 PM
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Adding light in a room with only a switched receptacle

I've been searching dozens of sites and can not find any direct answer from any of them. I bought my house three years ago and the builder did not put a ceiling light in the bedroom. They put in a switch with a recepatcle connected to it for a lamp. I can gain access through my attic without a problem. I believe I understand how I turn my receptacle into a full time running plug, but I have no idea how to run my wire from my stich to a new light in the ceiling. The currents wires behind the switch is 1 red, black, white, ground cable and 2 cables with black, white and ground. The one red wire is connected to the top of the light switch and all of the black wires are pigtailed together and then connect to the bottom of the light switch. Then all of the white are pigtailed together. For my receptacle I have 1 red, black, white and ground cable and one black, white and ground cable. Connected to the receptacle is one white wire on each silver screw and a red wire on the top right gold screw and a black on the bottom right gold screw. I purchased a new plug receptacle because the current one has the bridge (brass tab) broken between it. I also bought additional 12/2 wire. This seems like a popular thing to do amongst builders but I can't find any info that pertains exactly to my situation. If someone could help me with this I will be truly thankful.
 
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Old 11-06-08, 08:14 AM
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Many people don't like ceiling lights in living rooms and bedrooms, so builders these days typically don't provide them.

Adding a ceiling light to a room with a switched receptacle is one of the most common DIY electrical projects we see. There are even web sites devoted specifically to this project (although I can't recall them off the top of my head).

First, determine if the switch controls half of the duplex receptacle or all of it. From your description, it sounds like half.

Then determine if the switch controls more than one receptacle, or just one. From your description, it sounds like just one.

Based on your description of the wiring, it is clear that you can do your project either by running a new cable from the ceiling to the receptacle box, or to the switch box (not every situation offers such a choice). Because of insulation in the walls, it's usually easier to go to the box on the inside wall. Then you need to decide if you want the receptacle to still be switched or not (again, not every situation offers such a choice--but you have the choice in your situation). Once you make these two decisions, we can help you with the details.
 
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Old 11-06-08, 11:37 AM
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Thanks for the quick response

1) The top portion of the the receptacle is controlled by the switch on the wall. 2) As well the switch on the wall only controls the one recptacle in the same room. I want to have the receptacle working full time without the switch that's why I purchased the new receptacle with the bridge attatched to it still. My intention is to run the wire from my switch to the new light fixture or if possible cut the wire going from the light switch to the receptacle and using that cable to power the light. Thanks again.
 
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Old 11-06-08, 06:49 PM
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It's pretty simple. The red wire between the receptacle and the switch now becomes useless, and you can cap it off or cut it off at both ends.

At your new receptacle, simply connect the black wires to brass screws and the white wires to silver screws. The receptacle is now always hot.

Run a new black/white cable from the switch box to the ceiling. Connect the black wire from this new cable to one screw on the switch. Connect the pigtail from the other two black wires to the other screw. Connect you new white wire in with the other two white wires.

At the ceiling light fixture, connect wires by matching colors.
 
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Old 11-06-08, 10:00 PM
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Just a few more questions and then hopefully I can tackle this task over the weekend. For behind the receptacle, am I right in thinking that I do not need to replace the receptacle if I attatch the two black wires to the two brass screws and attatch the two white wires to the two silver screws? The second question is what do I do with the third black wire and the third white wire? Or should I say that it will now be the fourth black and white wires if I add a new line in.
 
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Old 11-07-08, 08:58 AM
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For behind the receptacle, am I right in thinking that I do not need to replace the receptacle if I attatch the two black wires to the two brass screws and attatch the two white wires to the two silver screws?
No this is not correct. The receptacle is passinng power through to the switch and other loads, including your new ceiling light. Because the tab is broken out on the old receptacle, it won't be able to do that. Best to use the new receptacle you bought.

The second question is what do I do with the third black wire and the third white wire? Or should I say that it will now be the fourth black and white wires if I add a new line in.
I assume you are now talking about the switch box. All black wires, except the one going to the new light, get connected together and pigtailed to the switch. I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about because there seems to be one more black wire than there was in the original story.
 
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Old 11-07-08, 01:50 PM
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Sorry I didn't clarify in the last response

You assumed right for the second question. It was the switch I was refering to. As posted originally I said:

The current wires behind the switch is 1 red, black, white, ground cable and 2 cables with black, white and ground. The one red wire is connected to the top of the light switch and all of the black wires are pigtailed together and then connect to the bottom of the light switch. Then all of the white are pigtailed together.
So in total that equals 3 black, 3 white, 3 grounds, 1 red. Thanks for your assistance this far
 
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Old 11-09-08, 10:57 AM
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The answer remains the same as I said before.

All black wires, except the one going to the new light, get connected together and pigtailed to the switch.
All white wires, including the new white wire, are connected to each other.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 11:03 AM
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Thanks very much! I'll let you know how it goes.
 
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Old 11-11-08, 09:33 PM
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Smile Everything works great!

Thanks very much for the assistance. All receptacles and the new light works. Great instruction.Beer 4U2
 
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Old 11-12-08, 08:13 AM
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Congratulations! Good work!
 
 

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