Hot Topics: Running Electric Through Attic
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Original Post: Running in attic with electric
So, long story long here. My wife would like to add recessed lighting in the living room. Above the living room there is an attic. I would need to run a new electrical line from the main box, through the basement, up into the attic, and down to the outlet switch location. I am unable to run in the same stud bay from the basement to the outlet due to HVAC locations.
I was wondering if it is possible and per code to do what I am thinking. I have attached a picture of how I believe the wire would have to be run.
PJmax Group Moderator
That is perfectly OK. When you pull the wiring down from the attic to the switch, you'll be pulling two cables: the power cable and the cable up to the lights.
"I would need to run a new electrical line from the main box, through the basement."
Your living room does not have any outlets? You can just tap into one of those instead of running wire all the way from the main panel.
Pull cable from one of the outlets to the switch, and then to the light. It will be possible to do so with just one cut (other than holes for the recessed lights) to the drywall. Just make a cut above the outlet (far enough from it for easier patching).
Drill a hole from the attic, fish the wire down, and fish this wire into the outlet junction box. Cut a hole the size of the remodel junction box for the switch. Drill the hole from the attic, and fish the wire down to the switch.
Forgot to mention that where the junction box is going to be, there is already one there. It currently has two switches on it. One controls the fan and the other the fan lights. Is it possible to just jump power off of the switch that is already in the junction box I am trying to use?
If there is a neutral in the switch box you can take power from there. Be aware that code calls for a neutral to be present at switch locations. It cannot just be a simple switch loop in the box. If running wire as in your picture, I suggest running two conductor power cables from the basement to light fixtures and then a three-conductor cable from the switch to light fixtures instead of running two conductor cables down to the switch.
How often do you use the light on the fan? You could possibly use the switch that controls that light for the new recessed fixtures. Just a thought.
Attached the switches. Looks like I might be able to tap into the switch. The ceiling fan lights are on a dimmer switch (left side of picture) and the fan is controlled by the switch on the right.
Looks like you have a incorrectly wired switch loop. White wires are being used as a switch loop for the fan, and black wires are being used as a switch loop for the light. This is wrong because electric current should come out and return within the same cable.
The correct way would be to install switches between white and black wires and rewire the fan and light accordingly.
Since you don't have neutral at the switch, you cannot get power from the switch. However, as suggested by Geochurchi already, you can utilize the fan light switch. If you will be installing a recessed light, you probably don't need a fan light, or at least not often. Just feed recessed lights from the wire going to the fan light.
If you want to control the fan, fan light, and recessed light all separately, you can install a ceiling fan remote. Just have a switch powering the ceiling fan, and wire a remote controlled receiver and ceiling fan/light to it. Now you can control a ceiling fan and light with a remote. Use the other switch for recessed lights.
If you really want to go for 3-switch option, you can tap power from the ceiling fan junction box. Since you have a switch loop, I'm sure you have both hot and neutral there. Pull wire from the ceiling fan junction box, run to the switch junction box, and then back to the recessed lights.
In this can, you have three options for the junction box.
1. Remove the existing junction box and replace with three-gang remodel junction box.
2. Cut around the existing junction box, add one more gang (you have extendable metal junction box).
3. Keep existing junction box as-is and install a duplex switch.
Talked to the wife about the suggestions and she thinks we should just get a fan that does not have lights and utilize just the recessed lighting for light. So, if I am understanding this correctly, in order to use the existing fan light wire, I would need to run new wiring from that junction box (assuming it's in the attic) to the first recessed lighting and go from there?
Assuming that is all that would need to be done, would I need the two conductor ran to the first recessed light?
"So, if I am understanding this correctly. In order to use the existing fan light wire. I would need to run new wiring from that junction box (assuming it's in the attic) to the first recessed lighting and go from there?"
"Assuming that is all that would need to be done, would I need the two conductor ran to the first recessed light?"
However, you have to fix the incorrectly wired switch loop you have right now. Use one cable for the light and one cable for the fan—not one wire from each cable.
This is how it should been wired. Also, this is no longer allowed. In your case it is existing wiring, so you are OK.
Post a pic of the ceiling box so we can see those connections. Also, you may be able to just remove the light kit from the fan and keep the fan.
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