switched outlet to overhead lighting

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Old 09-04-12, 11:30 AM
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switched outlet to overhead lighting

Electrical is not my strongest, but a few friends said it was easy and told me what to do. Now that I've opened up the switch and outlet it's not exactly what they were telling me.

Project: switched outlet in spare bedrooms to overhead lighting

switch:
1 black
1 white

outlet
1 black
3 white pigtailed
3 black and 1 white taped off

what do I need to do?
 
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Old 09-04-12, 11:36 AM
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You need to take a trip to your local library and check out several DIY type books on electricity. On the way home make a stop at the big box mega-mart homecenter and purchase Wiring Simplified which you will most likely find in the electrical aisle instead of the books and magazine section. When you get home scan through the library books and then read Wiring Simplified cover-to-cover. This will give you the basics necessary to understand what questions to ask.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 11:40 AM
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on a DIY forum your suggestion is to go get information somewhere else? thanks, that was helpful.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 11:45 AM
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I'm trying to save your life and your home. Electricity is an equal opportunity killer and working with electricity without understanding the hazards is dangerous. You have already admitted that you don't know much about electrical work, please educate yourself BEFORE you injure or kill yourself or someone else.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-04-12 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 09-04-12, 11:47 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Do you have access above the ceiling?

You need to convert the switch loop between the receptacle and the switch to a power feed. You need to install ceiling box(es) where you want the overhead light(s) to be, and you need to run a new cable - 14-2 for a 15A circuit; 12-2 for a 20A circuit - between the switch box and the nearest ceiling box, and between ceiling boxes, if there are more than one.

We can help you do that.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 11:55 AM
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easy attic space, and already have the ceiling boxes in......it is a 20A circuit.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 01:25 PM
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easy attic space, and already have the ceiling boxes in......it is a 20A circuit.
OK, great so far.

Have you run any new cable yet? It all needs to be 12AWG, since the circuit is 20A.

You've answered the question about one, or more than one, ceiling outlets. There's one thing I forgot earlier, though: If you want any of the ceiling outlets to have a fan, now or in the future, you should run 12-3/G between the switch and that ceiling box, even if it's not the first one. Just make the jumpers 12-3 from box to box until you get to that one. Is a fan in your pans, or to you want these to always be just lights?
 
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Old 09-04-12, 01:45 PM
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these will be always lights. just the one light in the room. I have not run the wiring yet from the new light outlets.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 01:48 PM
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however, since i'm up there might as well run it for a future fan using the 12/3
 
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Old 09-04-12, 01:52 PM
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these will be always lights. just the one light in the room. I have not run the wiring yet from the new light outlets... however, since i'm up there might as well run it for a future fan using the 12/3
Just one ceiling outlet? OK.

Since you want to make it fan-ready, you need to install a fan-rated box for it too.
 
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Old 09-04-12, 02:01 PM
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thanks, didn't even think about that since I wasn't originally planning that. I may even put the supports in for the potential fans as well while i'm already up there.

The trickiest part for me is the actually wiring. What needs to run to/from current switched outlet, switch, and where do we tie in the new 12/3 on the switch?
 
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Old 09-04-12, 02:45 PM
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switch:
1 black
1 white

outlet
1 black
3 white pigtailed
3 black and 1 white taped off

what do I need to do?
With the power off at the panel:

Run all of the cables.

At each box,
  • Strip about 8" of the outer jacket off the new cable ant install it, with a clamp or through a clamping inlet, into the box. Have the cable jacket showing about 1/2" or so inside the box.
At the switch,
  • Splice the grounds together with one or two (if the box is natal) bare copper pigtails. Use one pigtail to bond the metal box. Connect one to the ground terminal on the switch. Curl the end of the wire, clockwise, around the ground screw, crimp it tight, and tighten the screw;
  • Remove the white wire from the switch and splice it to the white wire in your new 12-2/G cable. (Strip about 5/8" of insulation from each of the two white wires and twist them together, clockwise, with at least three twists. Trim the end of the splice and tighten a wire nut onto it.);
  • If the black wire from the receptacle is pushed into a hole in the back of the switch, release it, strip a bit more insulation, and terminate it on one of the two screws on the switch;
  • Terminate the black wire from your new cable to the other screw on the switch;
  • Tighten a small wire nut onto the end of the red wire;
  • Fold the wires into the box. Try to leave the wire nuts pointing up. Mount the switch and cover the box.
At the receptacle,
  • Bond the box to ground, if the box is metal;
  • Connect ground to the receptacle, if it isn't already;
  • Remove the black wire from the receptacle;
  • Undo the 3-black-and-one-white splice; remove the tape from the white wire;
  • Add that white wire to the 3-white-pigtailed splice;
  • Add the loose black wire to the other blacks; add a black pigtail; make that splice;
  • Terminate the black pigtail to the screw where you removed the black wire. Note: If any connections are backstabbed, change those to the terminal screws;
  • Mount and cover the receptacle.
At the ceiling box,
  • Connect the ground to the metal box and to the ground wire(s) on your light fixture;
  • Cap the red wire with a small wire nut;
  • Connect the fixture to the new wires color-to color;
  • Mount the fixture, put bulbs in it, and turn the power back on.
 
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