Need help with ceiling light install in older home


  #1  
Old 03-23-14, 06:41 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question Need help with ceiling light install in older home

Hello,

We have a 3 bedroom home. The same ceiling light fixtures are in all 3 bedrooms when we bought the home. 2 of the bedrooms have working ceiling lights controlled by a light switch on the wall.

The 3rd bedroom is not connected. When I remove the ceiling light the wires are not connected to any other wires going into the ceiling like the other 2 bedrooms are which are connected to the light switches. In this bedroom that is not connected, there is a single drill hole into the ceiling like the other 2 bedrooms.

How do I go about finding where to connect this ceiling light to the light switch that is already in this bedroom? There are 3 outlets in this bedroom and 1 is controlled by the light switch meaning if I turn the light switch on the wall to the on position the outlet has power and off no power. The other 2 electrical outlets have power always.

I would like to do this myself and could use guidance in what to do, what tools I need, and anything I will need to purchase to do this correctly. This room is going to be our nursery for our baby that is due soon so I would like to get this project complete before baby is here.

Thank you in advance and if you need to know any additional information or need to see pictures of how anything is setup to help give me the correct information just ask.
 
  #2  
Old 03-23-14, 06:59 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
When I remove the ceiling light the wires are not connected to any other wires going into the ceiling like the other
Are you saying there are no wires in the box except for those from the light or there are but not connected?
there is a single drill hole into the ceiling like the other 2 bedrooms.
Are you saying there is no junction box in the ceiling? Is this a very old house with knob and tube wiring?

Do you have an unfinished attic above this ceiling?
 
  #3  
Old 03-23-14, 07:07 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
The ceiling light has wires in it, but they are not connected to anything just have wirenuts on them. There is no wires coming from the attic to connect the ceiling light wires to.

There is a metal bracket with a long thicker screw that holds the light to it if that makes sense.

The attic is unfinished.

House was built in 1964.
 
  #4  
Old 03-23-14, 07:08 AM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 10,975
Received 729 Upvotes on 644 Posts
Common problem. Apparntly the previous owner never got around to hooking up the last bedroom.
As Ray has asked, you need to clarify what you have in that light. It seems that maybe just connecting the wires is all that is needed. But then again you said the first outlet is still controlled by the wall switch. Have you looked at the wall switch and the first outlet? Are there any wires in those boxes not connected. Send us pics of what you have. Pull the covers off the wall switch, outlet and cieling light.

You need to determine where the power is coming into the room. Is the power coming to the wall switch, or to the outlet? Then you may need to drop another line from the light to where the power enters the room. But it seems as though that has already been done. You need find out where the wires from the cieling light go to. I'm betting they go to the switch but are not yet connected.
 
  #5  
Old 03-23-14, 07:30 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I didn't open up any electric outlet's yet or the light switch; however, I did take a peek inside the closet in there which has 2 outlets and 1 light inside with a pull cord to turn on/off. It has a larger electric wire going from the ceiling to the closet light and outlet.

Here are 3 pictures from floor to ceiling to show what I mean.

I will go take pictures of the outlets and switch, but thought this might help.





 
  #6  
Old 03-23-14, 07:43 AM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 10,975
Received 729 Upvotes on 644 Posts
These pics don't tell me much. Maybe Ray can deduce more from them. What you want is a line from the wall switch to the light and a power line going to the switch.

Maybe I misread your second post. You said the light has wirenuts on it but no power wire to the light? (Just the wires attched to the lights as it was manufactured.) Then you'll need to run a wire to the light from the switch. You can bypass the power from the switch (I'm assuming that power is going to the switch then to the first wall outlet) so that the outlet will always be hot regardless of the switch position. Then with the line coming from the light, pigtail off the power line to the light switch.
 
  #7  
Old 03-23-14, 07:47 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Here is a picture of the inside of the light switch.

 
  #8  
Old 03-23-14, 07:53 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Here is the ceiling light fixture


The ceiling fixture wiring


The ceiling after fixture removed
 
  #9  
Old 03-23-14, 09:22 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Crap, what a mess. The closet has enough code violations to thrill any inspector. The worst is the obvious risk of fire. Unenclosed light fixtures and that close to flammable material are a fire risk. Exposed and unprotected cables are your second code violation in the closet.

The switch shows it to be only a switch loop so for the light the wiring we need to work with is at the receptacle the switch controls. You will need to install a ceiling box for your light and run a cable either to the receptacle controlled by the switch or the switch.

One way to do it:
  • At the receptacle convert the switch loop to a power feed to the switch box.*
  • Remove the switch box and use the hole to fish a 2-conductor cable from the attic.
  • Replace the original switch box with an old work box.
  • Connect black of new cable and black of old cable to switch.
  • Connect whites in switch box to each other.
  • At the ceiling install a octagon box or round box. You can install a ne work box from the attic or an old work box from below. Which ever is easier.
  • Run the new cable added to the switch box to the new ceiling box.
*Details for the steps at the receptacle depend on how it is wired and if you want to make it always on.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-23-14 at 09:50 AM.
  #10  
Old 03-23-14, 09:28 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Anything I can do to fix the closet problems or is it better to leave it alone?

With the light switch do you know of a guide that can help me through the process of doing this or explain how to do this?
 
  #11  
Old 03-23-14, 09:43 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Anything I can do to fix the closet problems or is it better to leave it alone?
At least the type of light fixture needs to be changed and moved at least 12" from the hanger rack and shelf. A one tube 24" fluorescent fixture would be good. The cables should be inside the wall or run in conduit or surface raceway.

With the light switch do you know of a guide that can help me through the process of doing this or explain how to do this?
From my previous post:
One way to do it:
  • At the receptacle convert the switch loop to a power feed to the switch box.*
  • Remove the switch box and use the hole to fish a 2-conductor cable from the attic.
  • Replace the original switch box with an old work box.
  • Connect black of new cable and black of old cable to switch.
  • Connect whites in switch box to each other.
  • At the ceiling install a octagon box or round box. You can install a new work box from the attic or an old work box from below, whichever is easier.
  • Run the new cable added to the switch box to the new ceiling box.
*Details for the steps at the receptacle depend on how it is wired and if you want to make it always on.
 
  #12  
Old 03-23-14, 09:46 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok thanks on the fix idea.

Back to the ceiling light, do I just purchase some wire like this? Cerrowire 25 ft. 12/2 NM-B Wire-147-1602AR at The Home Depot

Also, what do I do with the ground wire because I only see 1 black and 1 white wire in the switch box?
 
  #13  
Old 03-23-14, 09:51 AM
Norm201's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 10,975
Received 729 Upvotes on 644 Posts
Ray,

Thanks for jumping in and saying what I was reluctant to say.

ourfirsthome,

On the positive side, everything is fixable and not too hard to do. I only wonder what the other ceiling lights are like!
 
  #14  
Old 03-23-14, 09:51 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
You keep posting while I'm editing. Please reread my last two posts.
 
  #15  
Old 03-23-14, 09:52 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Scrolling back up to read your edits ray.
 
  #16  
Old 03-23-14, 09:58 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Please note my suggestion on how to do this is technically a code violation. You can not extend ungrounded circuits. To meet code you would have to run new cable with ground from the breaker or fuse box.
 
  #17  
Old 03-23-14, 10:01 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok thanks for the response ray this helps.

So from what you are saying are these the things I will need to take on this project?

Cerrowire 25 ft. 12/2 NM-B Wire-147-1602AR at The Home Depot

Carlon 1-Gang Non-Metallic Old Work Box-B114RB at The Home Depot

Carlon 25 cu. in. Circular Ceiling Box-BH525A-UPC at The Home Depot

Are there any other things I will need or different products I should be using? I have a home depot close by which is where I will be buying the items incase there is something else I need.

Also, what do I do with the ground wire because currently there is no ground wire in the switch box. Just 1 black and 1 white cable.

Thanks for the help I look forward to taking this project on, I just want to make sure I do it correctly and right so any other information would be helpful.
 
  #18  
Old 03-23-14, 10:16 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
what do I do with the ground wire because currently there is no ground wire
The way I outlined is technically not code compliant. To be code compliant your best choice is to run all new cable starting at the breaker or fuse box.
 
  #19  
Old 03-23-14, 10:39 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I opened up the only outlet in the room that is controlled by the light switch. Here are pictures of the inside of it. Because there is a ground in here would it be easier (and more up to code) to run the light to this outlet and connect the wires there?





 
  #20  
Old 03-23-14, 10:42 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Now that I just was thinking about it. If this outlet is controlled by the light switch and there is a ground wire, then there must be a ground wire somewhere around the light switch that is not connected, or am I looking into this wrong??
 
  #21  
Old 03-23-14, 12:01 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
The cable I see is too old to likely contain a ground wire. Why do you think the receptacle is grounded. If it is because it is a grounded receptacle that may be just another screw up in what has been done. It may have been just the wrong type of receptacle used.
 
  #22  
Old 03-23-14, 12:03 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Isn't that a ground wire next to the white wire that says with ground?
 
  #23  
Old 03-23-14, 12:08 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Missed your picture. If that is grounded cable the ground should be inside the cable. That ground may or may not be acceptable depending on where it comes from. Second problem was only one cable in the box. We have a mystery connection somewhere if that is what the switch controls.
 
  #24  
Old 03-23-14, 12:17 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
The more problems I see the more I am convinced you need to run the new light from scratch starting at the breaker or fuse box. It just wouldn't make sense to connect to what you have, too many code violations, and since it is a nursery even more reason to make it code compliant.
 
  #25  
Old 03-23-14, 12:28 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Missed your picture. If that is grounded cable the ground should be inside the cable. That ground may or may not be acceptable depending on where it comes from. Second problem was only one cable in the box. We have a mystery connection somewhere if that is what the switch controls.
Can you explain more by what you mean? There is a cable coming in the back with 2 wires coming out of it, one on either side.
 
  #26  
Old 03-23-14, 12:38 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
If it was grounded cable the ground wire would be inside the sheath with the other wires.

Name:  1983.jpg
Views: 296
Size:  2.3 KB

Under very limited set of circumstances you can run a ground wire separate from the cable but it must be connected to the main panel ground within five feet of the panel. In old houses those add-ons are often just connected to the nearest water pipe and not code compliant.
 
  #27  
Old 03-23-14, 12:42 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
this line is 30 amps on 10-2 to a feeder panel.
There are 2 15 amp breakers in the feeder panel.
But for it to work you would expect two cables. One for power in and one for the switch loop. That means there is a third location, hopefully in a junction box, where the power comes in and the switch first goes to.
 
  #28  
Old 03-23-14, 12:47 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok, I am checking out other areas in the house to see where things are connected. This is a very small house and actually on the other side of the wall where this outlet is located is the utility room where the circuit panel is located.
 
  #29  
Old 03-23-14, 01:07 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Often the connection your looking for is in the attic.
on the other side of the wall where this outlet is located is the utility room where the circuit panel is located.
In that case I would abandon in place the existing wiring and run all new wiring to receptacles and lights. There is no easy way to correct what you have. Scratch would be easier and better.
 
  #30  
Old 03-23-14, 02:13 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I went up and dug around in the attic. Found where the light fixture holes were by sliding a straightened out close hanger through. Measured where the light switch would be. Found the wiring and followed it until I came to this.



The left black and white is what goes to the switch. So now what from here.

I am new to this all and could use as detailed as possible how I would go about getting this ceiling light fixture installed. If there is anymore information or pictures I can give let me know, otherwise a detailed guide on my steps on how to get this light fixture installed would be very helpful. Thank you!
 
  #31  
Old 03-23-14, 02:39 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
We need the box opened so we can see the wires inside. Also we need to know if the conduit (metal tube on the right) goes into the breaker box.
 
  #32  
Old 03-23-14, 03:04 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok here is the box opened up.


Here is where the conduit goes to the right which is a 2nd box.


From this 2nd box if you follow it straight back north /|\ it leads to the circuit breaker box.

Where do we go from here ray? Hope these images help.
 
  #33  
Old 03-23-14, 04:11 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Is the first metal box connected to the second metal box by conduit and if so is the second box connected to the breaker box by continuous conduit? If so we have a ground we can use at the switch and receptacle. For the rest of the post I will assume that is true. If no post back.

I see what was the connection for the bare wire at the receptacle. That can not provide a code compliant ground. I would strongly recommend you replace the cable to the receptacle with new grounded cable. Assuming a 15 amp breaker you would use 14-2 NM-b. If 20 amp breaker 12-2 NM-b.

The cable to the switch needs to be replaced. Use 14-2 NM-b if a 15 amp breaker.
  • Remove the old switch box.
  • Cut the old cable off as far up in the wall as you easily can.
  • in the attic cut the cable off where it enters the stud cavity and shove it into the wall.
  • Use the original hole to the stud cavity to run two 14-2 NM-b cables to the switch box opening.
  • One cable goes to the attic junction box and the other to the new ceiling box for the light.
  • Strip 8" of outer sheath from the two cables at the switch opening and insert into an old work box.
  • Insert the old work box and tighten the retention ears.
At the attic junction box remove the old switch cable and install the new one. Separate all wires.
  • Connect all red and black wires together.
  • Connect all white wires together.
  • Connect all ground wires together and pigtail to a ground screw into the bottom of the metal junction box. Use a ground clip if there isn't a threaded hole for a ground screw.
At the switch box connect the whites to each other and the blacks to the switch. The grounds are connected together and pigtailed to the switch ground.

This will leave the receptacle always hot (not switched). If you want it switched then it gets more complicated.
 
  #34  
Old 03-23-14, 04:32 PM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Yes, that is correct how the boxes are connected.

Thank you for the detailed guide on how I can tackle this project myself. I will pick up the materials this week, and hopefully get to work on it this week or next weekend.

I will post an update if I need any further help. If you or anyone thinks of anything else to add feel free as I am new to this all. I'll post an update when done as well.

Thanks!
 
  #35  
Old 03-23-14, 04:58 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
I will add a couple of things that I didn't write to not muddy the waters anymore. I would use a multimeter, preferably analog, to be sure the conduit is providing a good ground. In the first picture measure between the red wire and the metal box before connecting it. You should get 120 volts.

If your nursery doesn't have at least one receptacle on each wall you should add them. With a child all receptacles should be tamper proof.
 
  #36  
Old 03-24-14, 02:04 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
There is 4 outlets in the nursery room. I will be going to home depot today and picking up the things I need.

What would be the best way to guide the new wires through to their specific spots? Is there a tool that will help me with this or what is the best way to do this?

Thanks again ray for all of your help on this. I appreciate it.
 
  #37  
Old 03-24-14, 06:06 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
For the switch once the old box is if you can't just push the new cables down just tie a large nut on the end of a string and drop it through the hole in the stud plate in the attic, use the hole made by removing the box to grab the string then use it to pull your cables. The tool for this is a fish tape but you probably don't need one.

There is 4 outlets in the nursery room.
If those receptacles are three prong but not actually grounded as was the case with the one in your picture they need to either be replaced with tamper resistant ungrounded receptacles (which could be hard to find) or tamper resistant GFCI receptacles. If you go with GFCI receptacles pigtail all wires to the line side. Normally I'd suggest use just one GFCI at the first receptacle and wire the other non GFCI grounded receptacles from the load side but I'm not sure you can given the weird wiring you have.

Note GFCIs on ungrounded circuits must be labeled GFCI, NO Equipment Ground with the included stickers.
 
  #38  
Old 03-24-14, 06:31 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok great thank you.

I am going to head to the store and see what I can find today. Hopefully I can find everything I need here and get this wiring all straightened out.
 
  #39  
Old 03-24-14, 08:35 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok I picked up everything I think I will need. If I am missing something let me know before I get going on this.

- Klein Tools Electrical Analog Multimeter Test Kit
- Cerrowire 250ft indoor 14-2 NM-B w/Ground Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable
- 5 carlton 1 gang old work box
- Ideal wirenuts assortment (red, yellow, orange and blue)
- Leviton 15 amp duplex outlet 10 pack tamper resistant
- Decora 1 gang wall plate 10 pack
- Leviton 1 gang duplex outlet wall plate 10 pack

Anything I am missing before I begin this?
 
  #40  
Old 03-24-14, 09:22 AM
O
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ok I took out the one outlet box where I saw the ground cable that looked like it was outside of the cabling, and to my surprise, they must have just bent it so it looked that way. Here is a picture, the ground is actually just bent onto the side and is inside the cabling. I am wondering if this changes me having to pull out all of the cable and put new in because I now have ground??

Here is a pic. I am running back to the store in the mean time to get smaller old work box, the ones I got were too deep for the outlet spot.

 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: