Danger Zone ??

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by molo, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Hello all,

    Is this light dangerous? I have provided four photos of the light above my medicine cabinet. Can you experts tell what's wrong with this light if anything? It is old, but if it's safe I will reinstall it.
    If it is dangerous, I have the challenge of finding a new light that is approximately 14" long (the width of the medicine cabinet. There is currently no GFCI outlet in this bathroom, do they make new lights with GFCI outlets on them?

    I appreciate the input from anyone,

    Thanks in advance, Molo

    Attached Files:

  2. snafflekid

    snafflekid Electrical Engineer

    Messages:
    45
    It looks unbroken, are you concerned that one side is a little rusty? If it is not damaged then there is no reason to think anything is wrong. Usually the convience plug is facing down so it can be used, intended for an electric razor. You won't find a GFCI light fixture because only receptacles are GFCI protected.
  3. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I believe I see a ground wire in the wall box ...

    I would try to fish some wire down the wall alongside the cabinet (maybe about halfway down), then install a GF outlet and power it from the original wire ... then run protected power back up to the light and remove its 2-prong outlet altogether.
  4. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Hello all,

    In particular, I am wondering if the fact that the back of the light fixture being so open is OK? Essentially the wire nuts that are connecting the box to the light will be hangin in the open wall cavity. So essentially it will be a junction made outside of a metal box. Is this safe?

    TIA,
    Molo
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,607
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    light

    There should/must be a ground wire to the light's housing and the receptacle has to be removed, or at least disconnected. Normally the light's wiring would be connected directly to the wires in the box, rather than having the pigtails to extend the leads.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,990
    Location:
    New England
    I can't tell for sure, but it looks like the neutral is bonded to the case of the light fixture. I'd replace the thing, move the box so that it is centered over the cabinet and the light can be anchored as designed. I'd much prefer a safety ground on the light, especially since it is in a bathroom. If you then fix up the drywall, plaster, whatever there, your choice of fixtures goes up to nearly infinity...there is a huge quantity of lamp available. Before you move the box, check out the light, you may find one deeper than you want, and need to raise it a bit so the light doesn't hang over the top of the cabinet.
  7. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    The outlet is not safe and the wall being torn up is possibly more unsafe.

    If there is an elec problem, it is generally at the wire connections. The boxes are designed to contain these problems for a reasonable time. If you have arcing in this j box, you have an open cell into the attic.

    Repair the wall and properly install a new fixture. If the wies and lampholders look good, just disconnect the outlet and use the old fixture.

    You could add a GFCI outlet below this fixture but if there is only one set of wires in the fixture the GFCI will only be hot when the light is switched on.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Not if you power the light through the GFCI.
  9. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Thanks for the help. Are you suggesting that I could repair the wall, disconnect the outlet, and use the light if the "wies (wires?) and lampholders look good"? If so, could you please tell me what the lampholders are?

    Also, I had the same thought about the GFCI only being run by the switch. This would be fine as the only light in the bathroom is controlled by a switch, and can't imajine someone shaving in the dark. The original setup was this light only. Now I took power from the box (in the photos) and brought it up to a bathroom celing fan/light. Which is also controlled by the one switch in the bathroom. If I did the GFCI out of that box, I would have 4 wires going into that box.

    Thanks for any input,

    TIA, Molo
  10. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    As long as you're opening walls & fishing wires, why not run the gfi from the switch box, where you have constant power? Just a thought...

    Some people use rechargeable cordless shavers, would you ant to have to leave the light on to charge it?

    There's a limit to how many wires any particular box can hold, something to do with heat buildup. An electrician (or maybe alectrician) would tell you for sure, but I think 4 sets of wires would be too much for your box.

    Definitely want all connections to be inside a box. No splices in the wall cavity.

    "Lampholder" is sparky-speak for the bit where you screw the bulb in: what you and I would call a socket.
  11. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    If splices "in the wall cavity" aren't allowed (which I am aware of), then the design of this light, with it's open back allows for splices on the outside of the wall cavity. The back of this light is 14" wide and 4" high of open space where the wires can drift around outside of the box where they are coming from. Are these kinds of splices safe? Also, I agree Frenchie, as long as I have it open right now I might as well incorporate the GFCI, and do whatever I need to do to bring the box size to meet code. Presently the power comes into the box that is directly behind the light, and is run over to the switch. The box behind the light and the switch box are the only two boxes in the bathroom. I would like to add a ceiling fan/light (controlled by the same switch), and a GFCI outlet.

    TIA,
    Molo
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    ???????

    Is there something else that comes on with this light?

    What I am seeing is two whites and two blacks connected to the light.

    I don’t see where there is a switch leg being dropped out of the box.

    All splices and joints as well as conductors MUST be in the box.
  13. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Hello JW,
    This light also has a switch on top. The switch and light are wired into the box. From the box (out of the top) is where there is a leg going to the switch. (the white is colored black, and the black is black. I would like to add a vent/light to this switch, and a GFCI outlet. If all splices must be in a box, how could this be done with this light?

    Thanks for any input, and constructive criticism,

    TIA,
    Molo
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is there more than two wire nuts in the box?

    I can't see but two.

    Could you take and post a picture of all the conductors in the box?
  15. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Yes, I will have some detail photos there in 30 minutes.

    TIA,
    Molo
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good deal
  17. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    detail photos

    Here are some photos,

    1. Medicine cabinet and switch
    2. Medicine cabinet and new vent/light. (it is in place but not wired yet)
    3. The light that was above the medicine cabinet, (still trying to determine if I can reuse it)
    4. The light receptacle that the light was attached to. The wire on the right is the wire I have run for the vent/light. The red handle points to the power leg coming into the box.
    5. The switch (there is only one wire coming into this box)

    The goal: To safely install or reinstall the medicine cabinet light. To wire the new vent/light. To havde both the medicine cabinet light and vent controlled by the one bathroom switch. To add a GFCI outlet not controlled by the switch.

    Thanks for any help,
    TIA, Molo

    Attached Files:

  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Install a box and cable for the GFCI receptacle. Move box at light to where it is behind the fixture at the point of joints for light.

    The white for fan, light, receptacle and feed under one wire nut.
    The black from the feed, receptacle and the identified with black tape to the switch under one wire nut.
    The black from the fan, light and from switch under one wire nut.

    This will not give you a twenty amp circuit for the receptacle but it will be safer than what you now have.
  19. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Thanks JW,
    Does it seem right that I will have to put the GFCI outlet box just to the left of the existing light receptacle over the medicine cabinet? I am thyinking about how to get a power leg into the GFCI, and it seems I will have to move the one from the light box to the GFCI or use a junction box. (which I know I am not supposed to conceal), therfore I shouldn't simply use the exisiting light box as the j-box.

    Sound right, or am I missing an easier way to get power to the GFCI outlet box?
    NOTE: Here is a link to the fuse system that I have. Would I have to run power from this?
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14007
    TIA,
    Molo
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2007
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Not knowing how the bath sink and cabniet is set up it would be hard to give advice on where to install the receptacle.

    looking at the light it seems that it could be turned with the lampholders covering the box that is already installed.

    If space allows drop down to just over the sink but below the cabinet and install the GFCI
Similar Threads: Danger Zone
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Elecrical Dangers: Road Worker Fatal Accident May 26, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog What are some dangerous things you pros have seen homeowners do? Jan 13, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Pole transformer exploded - danger from burning transformer oil w/ pcbs? Dec 24, 2008
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Running 2 Taco zone pumps off one Taco controler Mar 3, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Sprinkler zone not working Oct 21, 2011

Share This Page