Recessed Lighting - Vaulted Angled Ceiling - No Attic

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Old 03-02-10, 11:12 PM
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Recessed Lighting - Vaulted Angled Ceiling - No Attic

Hi Everyone,

For those of you who helped me with my floodlights project, you know my skill level (now a 1 instead of a 0 on a 10 point scale, woo hoo!) and the stupid questions I'll ask.

A favorite quote regarding that...from Mr. Garrison on South Park..."There are no such things as stupid questions, just stupid people that ask questions."

Goal: Add recessed lighting to my living room. Vaulted angled ceiling, no attic above.

My initial assumption going into this was that if there is no attic space, there is no room for canisters. After looking around on the site, I think I've found that to be a myth.

So, is there always enough room between a ceiling and a roof to add recessed lights?

Based on other posts and "How-tos", the installing of the physical lights doesn't seem to be too much of an issue as long as you get IC lights. The problem will be getting electricity to the lights with our ripping out a lot of ceiling or dry wall.

Please verify this is correct. I have two options: Run a new circuit (not going to happen if I do this project) or tap into an exisiting circuit. If I tap into an exisiting circuit, I should make sure that I have enough excess wattage available to add my lights, right? So, if it's a 20 Amp circuit (and 120 V), it should be able to handle 1,800 Watts, right? How do I estimate how many watts are being used and if it can handle my planned addition? Should I go to each outlet on the circuit and see what is plugged into it?

Thanks,
Andy
 
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Old 03-02-10, 11:23 PM
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Ill try to give you some help. yes there should always be enough space for the lights becuase of the ceiling joists. Yes you should use IC cans but i would also use the IC air tight rated cans. Ideally a new circut should be run, let me ask you this. What is the lighting in the room now. Overhead light? Switched outlet? if its a switched outlet i would just go out of that switch for the hi hats. I wouldnt worry about draw on the circut, chances are it dosent have much load on it. Are you sure its a 20 amp circut. And you only have to rate it at 80% if its a continuous load which lighting isnt. You can pull 2400w out of a 20 amp circut. 20ax120v=2400x which even at 80% would be 1920w.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 07:39 AM
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You may want to poke a small 1/8" or so hole and insert a coat hanger wire to see what kind of depth you have available for the housings.

You will also want to use IC rated sloped ceiling remodel housings. If you try to use flat ceiling recessed the bulbs will not point straight down and will give a strange light distribution.

PS, are you sure this project is in your beer budget?
 
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Old 03-03-10, 09:49 AM
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Thanks guys.

LOL, pcboss. My last offer for beer seems to be kind of an empty promise as everyone on this site seems to be on the East Coast. However, with the money I'm saving not paying an electrician, it is definitely in the budget if any of you head out to CA.

Thanks EJoe. You are right. I was thinking 20 amps, but calculated based on 15 amps. I'll double check the breaker tonight and see what it is labeled.

The current lighting sucks in the room. It is one outlet on a switch with a lamp. The room is good size. I'll post pictures tonight. I'm thinking three rows of three 6" lights (so 9 lights total), with each row on its own switch (so I can turn off the rows closest to the TV when watching a movie).

Since it is only the one outlet on a switch, and no wires currently in the ceiling, the running of the cable will be a pain. My thought was to tap into the switch that is controlling the lamp. The problem is that that swich is a two gang switch. Do they make (or is it allowed) to have 4 gang switches? One is for the outdoor light, and the other 3 would go to the recessed lighting. If this doesn't exist, I may just go with three switches. One for outdoor, and 2 for the recessed. Although, I guess, I could just install a 3 gang right next to the 2 gang and keep the outlet on a switch as well.

The current circuit that the lamp switch is on is just other outlets and lights, one of which is my TV area (TV, DVR, Blu-Ray, Xbox). However, I still don't think that would add up to 1500W or so. I'll draw the circuit tonight and post it.

Angled, air tight, IC it is then.

Thanks for all the help! It is greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 03-03-10, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by awk316 View Post
Thanks guys.

LOL, pcboss. My last offer for beer seems to be kind of an empty promise as everyone on this site seems to be on the East Coast. However, with the money I'm saving not paying an electrician, it is definitely in the budget if any of you head out to CA.

Thanks EJoe. You are right. I was thinking 20 amps, but calculated based on 15 amps. I'll double check the breaker tonight and see what it is labeled.

The current lighting sucks in the room. It is one outlet on a switch with a lamp. The room is good size. I'll post pictures tonight. I'm thinking three rows of three 6" lights (so 9 lights total), with each row on its own switch (so I can turn off the rows closest to the TV when watching a movie).

Since it is only the one outlet on a switch, and no wires currently in the ceiling, the running of the cable will be a pain. My thought was to tap into the switch that is controlling the lamp. The problem is that that swich is a two gang switch. Do they make (or is it allowed) to have 4 gang switches? One is for the outdoor light, and the other 3 would go to the recessed lighting. If this doesn't exist, I may just go with three switches. One for outdoor, and 2 for the recessed. Although, I guess, I could just install a 3 gang right next to the 2 gang and keep the outlet on a switch as well.

The current circuit that the lamp switch is on is just other outlets and lights, one of which is my TV area (TV, DVR, Blu-Ray, Xbox). However, I still don't think that would add up to 1500W or so. I'll draw the circuit tonight and post it.

Angled, air tight, IC it is then.

Thanks for all the help! It is greatly appreciated!
You should have no problem getting all the switches in one box. 4 gang boxs are standard and you can go up to 5 and six, but then your using metal boxes than you have to "gang" together. I suggest taking out the old 2 gang and replacing it with a new 4 gang old work plastic box, if you want to keep the existing switched outlet then use a switch over switch, or add a single gang box next to the 4 gang. If your not worried about ashtesics, then you could also just add a 3 gang next to the 2 gang box. You are right, running the wires is going to be tough, especially because you want 3 seperate switches ugghh. But at any rate it will be fun and you will definatly need some beer on hand.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 10:28 AM
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Thanks EJoe.

I'm up for suggestions if the three separate switches sounds like a bad plan.

So all 9 on one switch would be much easier? How about 2 switches: One for the row closest to the TV, and One for the other 2 rows?

Maybe 2 is the best option. Then I can use an old work box 3 gang (1 for outdoor light, and 2 for recessed). I can then just change the outlet that is currently on a switch to a normal outlet.

I'll post a diagram of the current circuit, a diagram of the proposed circuit, and pics of the room tonight.

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-03-10, 02:12 PM
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Here's what is on the circuit:

3 separate switches for overhead lights, 3 outlets, and 2 outlets where the top is controlled by a switch. So, 8 total.

The breaker says 15, so 15 amps on this circuit.

Here are some pictures:
View of ceiling from sofa


Just to the left of the previous view is the switch I would replace. The switch on the right controls the lamp.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 02:20 PM
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I dont think youll have any problems adding 9 cans to that circut. 9x65w would be 585 plus the outside light brings it up to 650 you still have another 800 or so watts to play with. I doubt your running that much off that circut.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 02:33 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

As far as the logistics of running the cable, there is not easy solution, right. Am I going to have to basically cut out small squares of ceiling everywhere there is a stud or joist to drill a hole for the cable to go through?

Basically, go straight up from the light switch to the ceiling, then towards the Tv above the wall on the left?

I thought that maybe I'd just live with all the lights on one switch, since the switch is already run part way down the wall, but due to the window (the lamp is plugged in right below the window on the left wall), I'd have to work around that, so it really wouldn't be much easier, right?
 
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Old 03-03-10, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by awk316 View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

As far as the logistics of running the cable, there is not easy solution, right. Am I going to have to basically cut out small squares of ceiling everywhere there is a stud or joist to drill a hole for the cable to go through?

Basically, go straight up from the light switch to the ceiling, then towards the Tv above the wall on the left?

I thought that maybe I'd just live with all the lights on one switch, since the switch is already run part way down the wall, but due to the window (the lamp is plugged in right below the window on the left wall), I'd have to work around that, so it really wouldn't be much easier, right?
i think the easiest method would include the least amount of wires going up through the ceiling. i would do one run of 14/3. Run to the middle row of 3 then branch of 14/2 to the row over the tv. THis way you would have 2 switches, 3 lites on one and 6 on the other.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 04:14 PM
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Thanks EJoe.

To make sure my understanding of 14/3 as opposed to 14/2...

The third wire will be an extra black? One source white, one black from switch 1 and one black from switch two?
 
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Old 03-03-10, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by awk316 View Post
Thanks EJoe.

To make sure my understanding of 14/3 as opposed to 14/2...

The third wire will be an extra black? One source white, one black from switch 1 and one black from switch two?
Correct, it will actually be a red wire. But essenstially you have 2 hot wires a neutral and a ground.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 04:48 PM
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Before you go cutting a hole for the bigger switch box make sure there are no studs in the way. If I understood you correctly the switch to the right of the door will be the one you want to change.

Here is a thought for you. Is there a soffit outside that runs parallel to the wall with the big window? You might be able to remove the soffit panels and run above it and then turn into the joist bays.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 04:54 PM
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Good thinking pcboss.

I will check for studs and fire breaks in that wall with the light switch I want to modify tonight.

I'm 99% sure the roof overhang outside that window is the same as the one outside the garage in my last project, which was not a soffit. I'll confirm, but I don't think that will be an option.

Assuming it's not, how do I get into the ceiling from the wall? I guess that's a framing question. I can imagine it must me pretty think wood in that corner. Do I drill up into it, and drill from the side, and hope I get lucky and they meet to form a 90 degree angle?

Thanks again!

I'm going to make some better schematics tonight.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 07:26 PM
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Well, good news I think. Here's a shot of my porch...


It looks like it comes down about a foot lower than the corner of the ceiling/wall inside. That would be great if I can run up the wall with the switch, into this area, and back into the ceiling. Do you think that would work?

So if I understand you right, you'd go into the light with the red circle around it first, then split off switch one and two from there?..
 
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Old 03-03-10, 08:57 PM
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yes thats correct. It would be nice if your wire runs do work out nice like that.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by awk316 View Post
It looks like it comes down about a foot lower than the corner of the ceiling/wall inside. That would be great if I can run up the wall with the switch, into this area, and back into the ceiling. Do you think that would work?

So if I understand you right, you'd go into the light with the red circle around it first, then split off switch one and two from there?..
Your joist should run left to right in the pic above. Instead of drilling parallel to the wall on the left I was going to use the soffit outside as a chase and then drill 3 holes in-line with the joist bays the lights are going in. This should save patching the drywall inside instead of drilling the joists and patching drywall.
 
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Old 03-03-10, 10:09 PM
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Thanks guys.

So pcboss, if I run three switches, one for each row from left to right, I see no issues.

My question is if I go with only two switches. One would go to the tv row. How do I split the second switch to control the other 2 rows? In the switch box?
 
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Old 03-03-10, 11:00 PM
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Hopefully this makes sense...


Using the soffit for both:

3 Light Switches: Three 14/2 cables. One for each switch. Within the switch box I would split the source neutral into 3, and run to light. Do the same for ground. Split the hot wire into three, run each to it's own switch, then run three hots from each switch to each row.

2 Light Switches: Three 14/2 cables. Only difference is that the source hot only is spit twice, each run to it's own switch. Then the black from one of the switches has to be split into two: one will go to row 2 and one will go to row 3.

Is that right? I probably made it too confusing.

This seems like a lot of pigtails in a box. Can they all fit?
 
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Old 03-04-10, 06:11 AM
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For the option using only 2 switches you could run from from 2 back out and into row 3, instead of a run all the way from the switch.
 
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Old 03-04-10, 10:29 AM
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Thanks pcboss.

I need to take a better look outside, but I'm worried about having to patch stucco, which is what I think the entire area outside is. Is it the same idea as drywall? Cut out a square to work in, then drill in a support behind the hole and drill the square back in place into that support?
 
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Old 03-07-10, 01:18 PM
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roof rafters and fishing wire

drywall is always easier to patch than stucco
with that in mind here is what you find

at the switch in the wall there will be a block above it
since outside walls have fire blocks typically set at 48 inches to center

which means when you replace the switch box for a bigger one or cut in a new one you probably have to cut a small 4x4 hole to route the romex to, and another 6x5 inch right where the sloped ceiling meets the wall since there will be 2 2x4 plates to go through

as for your ceiling
if you go to the outside gable end ( where the roof ridge runs to the end to a flat face ), is there some sort of ridge span lumber terminating at the eve at he gable end?, since sometimes shallow pitches roofs like yours have trusses, and this makes fishing wire much easier

I would space the lights 5 to 6 feet apart ( assuming 6" down lights ), I also wouldn't use slope cans since you slope is very shallow, but trims with adjustable trims for direction ( or use mr16 based lighting with adjustable trim baffles )

buy or make a cheap fish stick and run 14-3 wire to separate what you want to isolate on what bank for switching purposes, if you only need 2 switches to control it all then all you need is one 14-3 ran up the wall and fished over to the lights, you can designate black as group a, red and group b and wire accordingly as you run the 14-3 to every light

if how ever you have rafters and not trusses, you will not have spaces liek a trus will and you will have to drill between bays ( min 2" from the bottom edge of the lumber ) in those cases a long flex bit works, or i have used up to 4 - 12" extentions ( witch quick release ) with a flat 3/4 spade wood drill bit ), The only caution when drilling blind is you are going to have to try to figure out what might be in the ceiling that you might hit when drilling ( water pipes, other electrical, low voltage )


http://s557.photobucket.com/albums/s...ofrafters1.jpg

http://s557.photobucket.com/albums/s...oofrafters.jpg

http://s557.photobucket.com/albums/s...chcutholes.jpg
 
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Old 03-09-10, 10:21 PM
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Sorry guys, I was out of town.

Wow, mikerios! Thanks a lot for the great post and pics! They're really helpful.

I'm afraid the wife might not like all the cutting of the drywall that we just painted a few months back. I'll have to see if this project is still a go. I have a much better idea now of what I'm getting into though.

Thanks a lot for all the great info!
 
 

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