(1) Replacing Existing Light with Cans; (2) Installing New Cans on 1/2 Hot

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-14-13, 04:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
(1) Replacing Existing Light with Cans; (2) Installing New Cans on 1/2 Hot

First, thanks to those of you on the forum asking questions and providing answers - I've been learning a lot and becoming much more familiar with what to think about when doing home improvement projects.

My upcoming project (for which I am seeking advice/guidance) has two parts:

Project Part #1: Remove an existing dome light and install a (non-lighted) ceiling fan and (4) new recessed/canned lights - for Edison style LED bulbs. The room is already wired with (2) switches - one for the yet to be installed fan, and one for the existing dome light. The circuit for the room appears to be 15 amps. I have limited attic access about the ceiling.

From what I can discern, there is an existing "J" box, and installing the (non-lighted) ceiling fan should be relatively straight forward. Where I am confused is the proper method for wiring the (4) new recessed lights. I want them to all turn on/off at the same time, with the existing switch. I am a bit confused as to whether I need to use 14/2 or 14/3. I am also a little confused concerning what order/wiring formation the four cans should be wired - eg. box or zig-zag
(Imagine the finished product will be a square - lights at each vertex and a fan in the middle.)

Project Part #2: Install (2) new canned lights - for Edison style LED bulbs - on an existing switch (different from the two switches previously discussed above) which appears to only control a 1/2 hot outlet. I have limited attic access above the ceiling. This part of the project is also in the same room as the

I suspect I'll need to run Romex from the existing switch to the new canned lights (Meaning drilling from above, or doing a little patch repair). I also suspect that if I want to make the 1/2 hot "permanently hot" I'll need to change out the receptacle with one that has not had that copper-tab cut. But again, will I use 14/2 or 14/3 to wire the lights? Is there anything I need to be careful of considering the switch already controls the 1/2 hot? (Aside from turning the power off before I start!)

I am at the very beginning of this project, so I have not taken anything apart yet. I wanted to think it through before I started cutting out holes in the ceiling!

I'd appreciate any thoughts on issues I should be considering or conditions I should be on the look-out for. Especially I'd appreciate guidance on how I should be wiring the canned lights so I create an appropriate circuit - especially on the 1/2 hot part, which seems like it could be tricky.

Thanks in advance.

Jason
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-14-13, 06:53 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,452
Received 215 Votes on 204 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

In your first question you want to remove a ceiling light and install a non-lighted ceiling fan.
Shouldn't be a problem but you'll need to confirm that the existing box is capable and rated for ceiling fan duty.

Part B of the first question is how and where to connect the new four can lights. It doesn't matter how you wire them or which order you use. Do you know where the switch line is now to control these lights ? ..... that's where you start. Most likely the switch line is in two wire now.

If you have to run wires in a ceiling where you have no access from above.....you need to be aware of which way the beams run and use that to your advantage. You will probably have to drill holes thru beams at the can locations.


In your second question.

First things first..... remove the switch from the wall and confirm that you have a two wire and three wire cable. If you only have one two wire cable you have a problem. You have to have a neutral in that box to go on. Let us know and we'll continue.
 
  #3  
Old 07-14-13, 07:03 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Are you sure that you want the fan to run only when the 4 lights are on? Suppose you wanted to run the fan with no lights. Either way, 14/2 Romex should be fine & the order shouldn't matter. If it's all in the same room why not put all the lights on one switch & the fan on the other?
 
  #4  
Old 07-14-13, 08:16 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
At PJ Max:

For Part 1A of the project: I'll confirm it is rated for a ceiling fan. (An adjacent room - where I hired an electrician to do the work was no complication, so I am hopeful there will not be an issue here).

For Part 1B: I was thinking I could wire the (4) cans by essentially extending the existing wiring at the dome light. Essentially extending the existing connection in the center of the square to the four verticies. Permissible? Best way to go?

For part 2: I'll check the on/off switch and confirm whether I have one 14/2 and one 14/3. Hopefully it won't be a single 14/2.

Also, if I cut the holes for the recessed lights, I have sufficient clearance (after pushing away insulation) to pull wire over/across - without drilling the beams (unless is the typically required by code). When I say "limited attic access, what I really mean is that the roof (which is from a relatively new home) has been quardened off internally into (3) sections - almost like, but not quite fire breaks... meaning I'd have to basically crawl or pull a Duke's of Hazard move through the partitions to get from one section to the other. So I am seeking to limit my trips into the attic.

At Pulpo:

I could have been more clear. At the entry to the room, there are (3) switches in the wall - in a 3 gang box. First for a 1/2 hot. Second (pre-wired) for the uninstalled fan. Third, for the existing dome light. My goal is for the ceiling fan to use switch #2 and for the 4 canned lights to use switch #3.

Then about half-way across the room, there is a separate (4th switch) which controls a (2nd) half hot.

Thanks for the input!
 
  #5  
Old 07-15-13, 08:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,452
Received 215 Votes on 204 Posts
You have limited access to the attic for wiring. You can't get in but you can wire thru it. You don't have to drill the beams for the wiring since it's not accessible the wire is not in danger of damage.
 
  #6  
Old 07-17-13, 12:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks PJmax:

I've got some pictures of the switch and the outlet I'm going to upload. I am a little confused at what I am seeing.

The Switch appears to have (2) cables;
The Outlet also appears to have (2) cables.

On the Switch, which wires do I use to run to the new ceiling lights?
On the Outlet, do I need to disconnect anything? It seems like I'd have a dead extra cable if I disconnect it from the Switch?

I'll try to attach the photos now.

Pictures #1 & #2 are the Switch
Picture #3 is the Outlet
 
Attached Images    
  #7  
Old 07-17-13, 11:19 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,452
Received 215 Votes on 204 Posts
Yes.....you'll have a dead extra wire in the three wire cable. It looks like now you have a split receptacle with red on one half and black on the other half.

Disconnect and cap the red at both ends.
Replace the split receptacle with a new one that has the jumper in place.
The receptacle will no longer shut off with the switch and your light will connect to the vacated screw on the switch and white.

The reason there are two cable is because there are other receptacles beyond that switched one that use the black to carry "always live" power to it.
 
  #8  
Old 07-18-13, 08:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks PJmax!

I'll change the outlet first and let you know how it goes before I start on the lights.

I have a couple more questions before I start the lights:

1. When I run the cable from the switch to the (newly installed) lights (Halo Brand retrofits, rated for direct contact with insulation) do I run 14/2 or 14/3? I've bought some 14/3 before I thought about what I really needed. Should I exchange it for some 14/2? Would it be safer to use 12 gauge? (since I think I've read something about smaller gauge wire heating more). It is a 15 amp circuit however.

2. When connecting the wire, it seems there are two possibilities: Run wire to a box (maybe in the middle of the new lights) where it then is "split" into two runs of cable that go to the (2) new lights which are about 8 feet apart; OR

Have a run of cable from light #2 go to the box of light #1, and connect all three (the wires provided with the retro fit, the Romex to light #2, and the Romex from the switch) in the box for retrofit light #1.

Is there a best practice for this?
 
  #9  
Old 07-18-13, 08:23 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
#14 AWG is appropriate on a 15A circuit and you should only need 14-2.

Run the cable light-to-light. If you go to a separate box that box will have to remain accessible, so you'll wind up with a blank plate in the middle of the ceiling or a box under your attic insulation that no one would know was there. The boxes on the lights should be made to handle two cables plus the fixture wires. They may already have push-in connectors with two open slots on the ends of the fixture wires.
 
  #10  
Old 07-19-13, 02:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well, I've started the project. I did the outset first since it seemed an easy way to build confidence. I learned that the outlet was not on the end of the circuit, it was in the middle - with the switch and an outlet in an adjacent room actually being on the end of the circuit. I'll add some pictures of the (temporarily) disconnected switch below - I had to tie the wires together so that the outlet in the adjacent room still had power. (leaving a single red wire capped off)

Thanks again to PJMax and Nashkat1!
 
  #11  
Old 07-19-13, 04:29 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,452
Received 215 Votes on 204 Posts
Your welcome.....and keep those questions coming
 
  #12  
Old 07-22-13, 04:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok. I am moving to phase #2 (Installing the 4 new recessed lights and replacing the existing dome light with a non-lite ceiling fan).

I am a bit confused by what I am seeing at both the switch and at the existing light fixture.

At the existing fixture, I have an unconnected black wire and an unconnected bare copper wire. (I assume these are for the fan) Meanwhile I also noticed a hodgepodge at the 3-gang box.

I've included some pictures below. Hopefully someone can make sure I am on the right track? Thanks!

(Please note at the 3-gang box: The LEFT is the on/off/dimmer for the light, the MIDDLE is for a half-hot on the wall, and the RIGHT is for the Fan (not yet connected).
 
Attached Images    
  #13  
Old 07-22-13, 05:32 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I am a bit confused by what I am seeing at both the switch and at the existing light fixture.
In the ceiling, it appears that you have a red wire and a black wire from the switch box, both in one 3-conductor cable. The red wire connected to the switch should be that red wire. Find the cable that's going into and follow the black wire out of it. My guess is that it will be one of the two black wires on the switch on the right.

If so, you can start wiring from the location where you want to put your fan to the new lights. All you need to do is run 14-2/G cable for a 15A circuit, or 12-2/G cable for a 20A circuit to each new light location in a string, or daisy-chain.

The existing ceiling box does not appear to be rated to support a ceiling fan. If so, you'll have to replace it anyway, which will make bringing a second cable into it easier.

Did that answer your questions? If not, ask away.
 
  #14  
Old 07-22-13, 10:11 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks Nashkat1:

Regarding the fan: I was confused by seeing the unconnected bare copper wire and the capped black wire. I assume the bare copper will go to the green on the fan, and that the black capped wire will be the "power" to the fan. But shouldn't there be a connection with the existing white or red when I hook the fan up?

I was also thrown off by seeing a black wire "in" and a black wire "out" of the switch that controls the fan.

Because I want to control the (4) new lights from the existing light switch (the LEFT one), but I want to control the fan from the RIGHT switch.

Thanks
 
  #15  
Old 07-22-13, 10:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 14
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I also meant to add - when you say that replacing the J-box (yes, with a metal/bracket one) will make bringing a second cable into it easier, I presume you mean the cable from the ceiling lights (across the ceiling), and not a new cable all the way through the wall & ceiling from the switch?
 
  #16  
Old 07-23-13, 06:35 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,845
Received 8 Votes on 6 Posts
You can have someone operate the switches to see whether they control the black and red in the ceiling box. You may just need to extend the circuit to the recessed.

That appears to be a pancake box. You would need a larger box if you are adding another cable.
 
  #17  
Old 07-23-13, 11:12 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Because I want to control the (4) new lights from the existing light switch (the LEFT one), but I want to control the fan from the RIGHT switch.
I understand:
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
In the ceiling, it appears that you have a red wire and a black wire from the switch box, both in one 3-conductor cable. The red wire connected to the switch should be that red wire. Find the cable that's going into and follow the black wire out of it. My guess is that it will be one of the two black wires on the switch on the right.
when you say that replacing the J-box (yes, with a metal/bracket one) will make bringing a second cable into it easier, I presume you mean the cable from the ceiling lights (across the ceiling), and not a new cable all the way through the wall & ceiling from the switch?
Yes. Read what i re-quoted carefully. It tells you what to look for in the 3-gang switch box. Of course,
Originally Posted by pcboss
You can have someone operate the switches to see whether they control the black and red in the ceiling box.
using a multimeter or test light.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes