Wiring for new light fixture

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Old 07-09-14, 08:22 PM
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Wiring for new light fixture

I am remodeling the dining room in my home that used to be a living room. Currently, there are no light fixtures in the room. Each outlet is split so that the top is powered by switches in the room and the bottom is always hot. I would like to install new outlets to be independent of the switches and a new chandelier to be the light source for the room.

The problem is that there are so many wires that I don't know where to start. Two different cables come through the top of the switch box. One is a black cable that has a black, white, and ground wires (I think this is the main power line). Another white cable runs from the top of the switch box and I think it connects the switches on each side of the room. The white cable contains white, red, black, and ground wires. A third white cable runs from the bottom of the box and it contains white, red, black and ground wires (I think this connects the outlets).

All three black wires are connected with a wire nut. A white and red wire from the top white cable Is connected to the switch, and the red wire from the bottom white cable is also connected to the switch. The white wires from the black cable and the bottom white cable are connected with a wire nut along with the grounding wires.

I know this is a lot of information, but I'm trying to be thorough. My question is how should I go about connecting a chandelier to this mess? I think I will need new wiring for the light fixture since there isn't any right now. Also, am I in too deep? Should I get a professional to look at this?

Thank you!
 

Last edited by Gerb612; 07-09-14 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 07-09-14, 09:44 PM
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What is the wiring at the receptacles the switches control?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-10-14 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 07-09-14, 10:38 PM
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The switches only control half of all the outlets in the room. Top of each outlet is on the switch. Bottom is always hot.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 12:15 AM
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and the red wire from the bottom white cable is also connected to the switch.
That red wire is what feeds the receptacles. You can remove that from the switch and connect it to always live so that all receptacles.... top and bottom..... are always live.

Where you removed the red from that switch is where your new cable's black to the light will connect. The white goes to your neutral splice.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 07:00 AM
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Okay so if I connect red to red the outlets will be on constant? That's easy if I understand correctly. My next question is should I use 12-2 wiring for the light? As far as I can tell all of the wires are 12-2. The circuit breaker that the cables are coming frome is 20amp. I have read that 14-2 is good for lighting, but should I mix the two?
 
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Old 07-10-14, 07:39 AM
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I have read that 14-2 is good for lighting,
It is but the breaker must be 15 amps. Since you have a 20 amp breaker just stay with #12 for everything.

I'd probably do it a bit different than PJ but that is just me. I'd cap off the red both at the switch and receptacle and replace the receptacles with new that have the brass tab in place. Very minor difference, bit more work, same result.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 01:55 PM
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I did some digging in my attic and I found that I was wrong about one of the wiring in the switch box that controls the outlets. There are two white 12 cables with the red wire, and the black cable is actually 14-3. From what I have read in other forums, this is a big problem since the breaker switch is 20amp. Should I replace that 20amp breaker with a 15amp, or will that mess up all of the outlets that run from the switch in the room?
 
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Old 07-10-14, 02:07 PM
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If there is 14 gauge wire (a cable is a bundle of wires inside another sheath) on the circuit, then you should either replace the 20 amp breaker with a 15 or replace the 14 ga wire with 12 ga.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 06:08 PM
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I've run into mixed wiring size circuits before. The problem is at the panel end you'll need to mark the wire with a tag with something to the effect "use 15A breaker only". If you don't mark it.... someone else can reinstall a 20A breaker since it's #12 at that point.
 
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Old 07-11-14, 02:07 PM
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Okay, so now I have the circuit breaker situation figured out and I'm replacing the 20amp breaker with a 15amp. The room that I am putting the light fixture in has two switches, one at each entrance to the room. Does it matter which switch I run the new wiring from for the light? One of the switch receptacles only has one set of wires running into it, so the work would be a lot easier from there. I just need to figure out how to tie in the red wire from the cable to any new wiring otherwise I don't think my outlets will work...

Thank you for all of your help so far!
 
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Old 07-11-14, 02:46 PM
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Distance and box fill is the main determiner if you have multiple boxes to choose from. You could even use one of the switched receptacles if that box is least filled and closest.
 
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