Replacing Kitchen Ceiling Light with Recessed Lighting


Old 02-14-09, 09:59 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey
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Replacing Kitchen Ceiling Light with Recessed Lighting

Hey there everyone. I'm in the process of doing some small renovations to my kitchen. I would like to replace the one ceiling light with recessed lights. I have a pretty good sense of electrical wiring and such and have attic access to make things easier.

So my questions are:
- The wiring in most of my house is the old metal sheathed copper wire wrapped in cloth (yuck) and it all runs to a 120V box in my basement. When I kill the 15A breaker to my ceiling light, quite a bit of things go out throughout my house (a living room outlet with tv and stereo equip, the front and back outdoor lights, a basement light and a few others things along with my ceiling light in the kitchen). Is there a worry to overload the circuit? Do I need to be concerned with replacing the ceiling light (which had three 65W bulbs) with 4 or 5 recessed lights? should I stick with low voltage or florescent lights? Should I tap into a different line available in the attic?

- Can I use that ceiling light receptacle as the hub and run romex wire to the new cans? Would I just connect the romex ground to the ceiling box itself? Or is that incorrect?

- is there a formula of some kind to determine the number of lights per square footage? or is it just a light every 6-7 feet or so. My kitchen is about 13' by 12'.

- are there preferred recessed lighting types for kitchens? are florecent bulbs a good option? I've haven't taken that plunge yet for any lamp.

Thanks so much in advance.

- Fish

Last edited by fishnyc22; 02-14-09 at 10:19 PM.
Old 02-15-09, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA.
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You could always get an ammeter and check the load on that circuit and base it from there.

Since you're only adding 5-55 watts assuming you're using 50 watt bulbs in the recessed lights, I don't see this is as an issue.
Going green would be better though.

If you feed the lights off this existing light, other than box fill possibly being an issue(depending on the amount of wires in there already) I don't see anissue with that.

I would come out of that existing box first then daisy chain to the other fixtures, not bring them all back to that box.

With an existing ceiling, I would use old work cans as they are easier to install. Get cans that can have insulation around them.

The cans are universal, it's the trims you'll need to decide what fits your application. Whether you just want down light or eyeballs that you can direct the light to accent something etc.

Hope this helps.
Old 02-16-09, 08:40 PM
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Thank you so much for the reply. I made a bit of progress this weekend. I did hit a problem however.

My wife and I decided that instead of replacing the ceiling light we would add the 4 cans and change the ceiling light to a hanging lamp over the kitchen table.

We wanted to have the new cans on a different switch than the hanging lamp. I think we're gonna make them both dimmers.

In an attempt to not overload that popular circuit, I decided to pull power from a different source. There is a Romex line in my attic that doesn't have much on it. So I am planning on running a line down to the switch box and run that to my cans.

I was able to mount the 4 new cans and run the wires between them. I had a 2-switch box near the door that I chopped out an installed a 3 gang Old Work metal box. In the process of porting my old BX cables to the new box I cracked a wire (DAMN!). It's a very short run that goes from the switch box about 3-4 feet up to an outlet. Continuing from there is a grey Romex line runs to the screened in porch light.

So what are my options here? I should mention that the BX line doesnt have a ground (not even the thin flat wire that runs within it) and the house was built in 1952)

Can I run a romex line 3-4 feet to the socket? What do I do with the ground wire in that line?

I was so close to being finished... it's always something, right?

Any help is appreciated.

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