help choosing power source for 8 can lights


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Old 05-15-17, 12:14 AM
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help choosing power source for 8 can lights

Hi folks, been lurking a while but was finally driven to post by a $1500 bid wire 8 recessed lights that are already installed.

Here is the layout I'm working with. All of the holes were cut and lights inserted. The attic is easily accessible and there is no insulation to get in the way.

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Here is a side view of how the lights relate to a switch on the wall. In this case, the switch was never wired to lights. It currently controls a single switched outlet. Notice the two options for power?

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This is a diagram of how the switch is wired along with two of the outlets in the room.

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So, I have a single 15A circuit feeding 6 110V receptacles. I would be adding 8 cans who are max rated at 75W BUT I will only ever use LED bulbs.

My questions then:

1. Its would be a huge PITA to run a new circuit, would it be OK if I just used the existing line?
2. If I do use the existing line, should I:
A) junction box in attic (see side_view) -or-
B) run some down from the attic down to the switch
3. Anything else I'm not thinking of?

Bonus points to the person who can tell me how the current switch is wired incorrectly. The electrician who gave me the bid said it was and that it would be an additional charge to fix it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 05-15-17, 02:26 AM
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Yes one 15 amp circuit can EASILY power all of that. Note: technically, you are supposed to change the breaker to a 15 amp ARC FAULT once you modify it. I wouldn't if it's only cans but if you get it inspected you will fail without it. If the OUTLET will continue to be part of the circuit then you really SHOULD make it an arc fault breaker - or the line from the outlet to a lamp could get compromised and that is how fires start.

You can junction it in one of the existing lights. Be sure to seal with either fire rated caulk (blue) or low expansion foam ALL the penetrations into the attic - you lose a LOT of heat / AC that way. If you have insulation directly against the cans they need to be rated for that - IC rated.

The electrician clearly thinks you are an easy mark. This is maybe a 1 day job at $30-40 an hour, plus materials.

The switch may or may not be "wired incorrectly". It's *probably" ok if it actually works now. It could be fed directly to the switch then to the lights (most common) or the switch could be backfed from one of the lights.

Good luck!
 
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Old 05-15-17, 03:47 AM
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Note: technically, you are supposed to change the breaker to a 15 amp ARC FAULT once you modify it
Only if his locale is under the latest NEC edition.

BUT I will only ever use LED bulbs
The person who buys your house may decide to use 75 watt incandescent, so you need to plan for the largest load, not what you will use.

We don't know your potential load on the receptacles, and I would never run lights and receptacles on the same circuit, especially in a dark basement. You need to see if one of the lights needs repairing, or one of the receptacles needs replacement. I would run a separate circuit for the lighting, if for nothing else, convenience and the ability to handle future loads.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 05:54 AM
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>> Note: technically, you are supposed to change the breaker to a 15 amp ARC FAULT once you modify it
>> Only if his locale is under the latest NEC edition.


It's likely his locale would. Most states etc adopted it since 2014 or earlier. I'm merely raising the awareness. It's easy for him to check and is appropriate to do so. Many homeowners aren't aware of those requirements.

>> BUT I will only ever use LED bulbs
>> The person who buys your house may decide to use 75 watt incandescent, so you need to plan for the largest load, not what you will use.


Oh? Sorry but I respectfully disagree. There is nothing in code or electrical design that requires a homeowner, electrician or contractor to design every circuit for the "what if" needs of some possible future homeowner. It's his house, here and now. If a future homeowner wishes to use lots of high wattage bulbs that might trip the breaker on that circuit it's not a today problem.

The 15 amp breaker will safely support up to 1440 watts (80% load mixed use). In any case, that is still nineteen 75 watt bulbs.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 05:24 PM
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technically, you are supposed to change the breaker to a 15 amp ARC FAULT once you modify it
I'm merely raising the awareness
Nope, you're telling him he is supposed to do it, not suggesting he does it. Big difference. And we can't assume his local requires it.

that is still nineteen 75 watt bulbs
You are talking lighting only. You have not taken into consideration the space heater, DVD player, TV, Stereo, computer, printer, modem, router, and the plethora of electrical equipment this circuit will normally be subjected to. Doing a load calculation is the best method of determining what is needed.
 
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Old 05-15-17, 06:57 PM
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Hi Chandler,

It's interesting that I'm the only person who thinks that ACFI is worth mentioning or discussing - on a thread where the OP is clearly looking to modify and / or add a circuit? Possibly ironic?

I am reasonably confident that my language was soft enough that the OP wasn't offended or think I was barking at him that he MUST do anything. Heck, I even stated directly that I wouldn't do it if I wasn't getting it inspected. If the OP feels that I came off too strong, regardless of my intent, I will happily apologize to him. He is more than welcome to ask publicly or via PM.

By contrast, you essentially told him outright that he must design things for "the next guy" who might someday buy his house. Oh? Really?

Look - I am not interested in an argument. I'll simply ask you to consider things that a given OP may wish to be aware of, given their question that could be relevant to the enforced code for his area - especially stuff that isn't as well known like TPs, ACFIs, etc. As you know, inspectors have "gotchas" they look for, and I would think that OPs may wish to avoid potential pitfalls.

Have a great night!
 
 

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