Options for laundry room light

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Old 05-27-16, 11:35 AM
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Options for laundry room light

Hi folks, just curious if you have any options for me here. I have a pull chain light socket above our washer and dryer that has been there for easily 20 years. It recently broke, so I ran to Home Depot and bought a new one for a few bucks. Of course the new one only lasted for about two months, and the pull chain broke. I shut off the electricity and opened it up to see if it was easily fixable, but the insight piece just snapped and it's not fixable.

What I would love to do is install a normal light, and then drag an electrical wire across the ceiling and down the wall and install a light switch. I thought it would look a little nicer, and hopefully last longer than a few months.

You'll see in the picture attached where the current light socket is at the top center. Then I tried to capture in the picture the rest of the ceiling to the left and the wall to the left where I would propose to put the light switch.

I guess I'm curious if it would be a complete pain in the butt to get a wire to go across the ceiling and down the wall if I wanted to do it inside the ceiling and in the wall as opposed to running the wire on the outside in either that plastic or metal conduit.

I'm obviously a novice here, but I have replaced lights and sockets and switches before. Just curious if I'm off-base here, or if I should just go buy another pull chain?

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Old 05-27-16, 12:25 PM
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Since the appliance nook ceiling is lower than the room ceiling..... the framing should run in your favor.
From the light to the corner (red line) the ceiling should be open.
From the new switch location to the corner (green line) the wall should be open.

Where the black line is framing in the corner that will need to be drilled.

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Old 05-27-16, 12:43 PM
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Since those are bifold doors you might want to see if you can install the switch on the outside so you don't have to completely open the door to turn on the light.
 
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Old 05-27-16, 01:39 PM
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You should also consider Wiremold (surface race). It wouldn't look bad and might be the simplest.
 
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Old 05-28-16, 12:21 AM
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When you say the ceiling and the wall "should be open", what do you mean?
Do you just mean free of insulation?
 
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Old 05-28-16, 12:27 AM
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Thanks...are you talking about this stuff?

Wiremold 10 ft. Metallic Wire Channel-700WH+ - The Home Depot
 
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Old 05-28-16, 12:53 AM
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Wiremold raceway and surface boxes. You would use an extension box at the light.

This is similar to what I am suggesting.
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The switch box can be a standard depth box not deep box. Circular ceiling box fastens to the existing ceiling box. THHN/THWN individual wires are used not cable, two black one green sized to breaker.
 
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Old 05-28-16, 08:00 AM
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I'd add that, if possible, you install a light that is "flatter" to the ceiling, as opposed to a vertical light. The reason being that you lessen the risk of hitting the light as you put things on your top shelf.
 
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Old 05-28-16, 10:08 AM
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Mikedel Suggested:
if possible, you install a light that is "flatter" to the ceiling
Good idea. An enclosed two foot two tube fluorescent would work well in this situation.
 
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Old 05-28-16, 04:20 PM
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Ok, one more follow-up (hopefully):

Let's say I'm going to run the wire inside the ceiling and wall, and install it the normal way (instead of using the wire track alternative). There are currently two wires coming out of the socket (one white and one black). The reason I mention that is because sometimes aren't there 3 wires (white, black, and bare aka copper)?

How do you install a switch inline? Do you install it on the line or the load wire?
 
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Old 05-28-16, 05:07 PM
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The wiring is the same regardless of how it is run. The black wire is interrupted by the switch. It may be grounded if the box is metal and you have metal conduit or metallic cable (AKA Bx). If older non metallic cable then it just isn't grounded but that is okay, just not quiet as safe. How old is the house? Do you have grounded receptacles?

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Old 05-29-16, 11:06 AM
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The house is from 1988. Yes, I believe our receptacles are grounded.

There are three groups of wires coming into the plastic ceiling box. Each group has three wires - white, black, and bare. All of the whites are tied together with a wire nut, all of the blacks are together, and all of the bare wires are together. Then from all of the white wires one comes down to the light socket, and from all of the black wires one black comes down to the light socket. All of the wires are metal.

So I guess it depends if I buy a new light that has three wires or two wires, right? If it has a grounding wire, then I assume that I hook into the existing group of bare grounding wires that are wire-nutted together. If I get another pull chain light like the one that just broke, then I only have to hook up the black and white wire again.

Attached is my attempt to take a picture of the wires.

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Old 05-29-16, 12:53 PM
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If it has a grounding wire, then I assume that I hook into the existing group of bare grounding wires that are wire-nutted together. If I get another pull chain light like the one that just broke, then I only have to hook up the black and white wire again.
That is correct. The fixture you have never has a ground wire. When you add a switch you will need to run a ground to it. The bare wires in your box need a wire nut. I don't see one.
 
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Old 05-31-16, 08:38 PM
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1. Yes, The bare wires in the box do have a wire nut, you just can't see it in the picture. There are three bare wires tied together.

2. I'm going to try using the same (broken) light that doesn't have a ground wire.

3. Since you said to ground the new light switch, should I buy 14/2 wire (that actually has 3 wires inside)? The two wires inside the 14/2 are for interrupting the black wire, like you mentioned. And the third (bare) wire in that 14/2 is to go from the ground of the light switch to the bare wires that are wire-nutted together in the box. Does that all sound accurate? (I hate trying to squeeze another wire inside a wire nut)

4. What is the "switch loop" in your picture?
 
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Old 05-31-16, 09:44 PM
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3. Since you said to ground the new light switch, should I buy 14/2 wire (that actually has 3 wires inside)?
Yes, if the breaker is 15 amp. The white wire of the cable must be remarked red or black or any color but (white) gray, or green. This can be done with bands of colored tape or felt tip marker.
And the third (bare) wire in that 14/2 is to go from the ground of the light switch to the bare wires that are wire-nutted together in the box.
Yes.
I hate trying to squeeze another wire inside a wire nut
It will fit fine with a red wire nut.
What is the "switch loop" in your picture?
That is the what the diagram is. If you mean what the arrow ponis to that is the xx-2 cable that forms the switch loop from light to switch.
 
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Old 06-09-16, 11:49 AM
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Ok, had to put this on the back burner for a few days, but picked it back up again yesterday. I successfully ran a wire from the light's box to a new switch in the wall. It was somewhat easy to run across the inside of the ceiling because the room next to the laundry room is the boiler room. So I could "kind of" see in the ceiling above the laundry. There were two copper water pipes up there, but I steered clear of them since one seemed to be somewhat warm.

I'm almost done, but have 2 simple questions for the expert:

1. I'm about 98% sure this is ok since we already talked about it, but I'm using the 14-2 wire (with the three wires inside). Is it ok to use this type of wire, even though the (black) wire going away from the light to the light switch is run inside (and smack next to) the (white) wire going back towards the light? The reason I ask is because in the past when I had to run power and audio wires in my car, I was always told to run power on one side of the car and audio on the other. That was mainly for interference reasons, though, so this is a little different. Just wanted to confirm that it was ok to have them like this.

2. In the diagram below, is it ok to not use wire nuts #1 and #2? For #1, can I just go straight from the switch to the screw terminal on the light socket? And for #2, can I just go straight from the switch to the existing wire nut (#3)?

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Old 06-09-16, 01:24 PM
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Who ever drew the diagram needs some educating but it is basically correct. Wirenuts 1 and 2 aren't needed.
 
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Old 06-24-16, 07:16 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks again for the help. Got it all installed and the house hasn't burned down yet! So far so good. And don't make fun of my drawing - that's Microsoft Paint at its finest! :-)
 
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Old 06-24-16, 08:52 PM
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Thanks for letting us know the outcome. Would never knock a Paint program. All mine are done in KlourPaint (with a bit of help from Gimp and IRFanView).
 
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Old 06-25-16, 04:41 AM
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..... and I'm not even talented enough to make a Microsoft Paint drawing!
Glad you got the project completed
 
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Old 06-25-16, 10:21 AM
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Just a note for future viewers, there is no positive or negative on the switch. Alternating current does not have a positive or negative.
 
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