Installing Overhead light, have question.

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by I26, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. I26

    I26 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    I am installing an overhead light in a bedroom that has a switch already but runs an outlet which I took care of to free up the switch. I am trying to pull power from an outlet but they all seem to have to sets of wires coming into them. Can I just tie into one of the wires up in the crawl space using a another box?
  2. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Too generic of a question, does not make complete sense. Please rephrase with more clarity.
  3. I26

    I26 New Member

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    32
    I need find a power source for an overhead light. Every receptacle outlet that is in the room already has 2 sets of wires in it making it hard to run more plus the box gets pretty full. I know that one of them runs up the stud cavity and into the crawl space. I would like to know if I can just splice into there using a junction box and get power for the light.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,563
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Nothing more interesting than a DIY doing something they don’t know how to do.

    First the crawl space is under the building and anything above is the attic.

    A simple answer to your question is yes the light will have power but it might be on all the time.
  5. I26

    I26 New Member

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    32
    And why do you think there are forums? Its ignorant people such as yourself who think their * don't stink. Many times I hear people refer to the attic as a crawl space if there is no easy access such as a ladder going to it. I have installed overhead lights before and without a hiccup. Just trying to ask a simple question is all but obviously you are way to high on the horse to help, regardless, have a wonderful day.
  6. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

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    422
    Well no one was born knowing electrical wiring. I sure wasn't (although I started right in at age 3 when I took apart an electric train to see what made it go...)

    Anyway there are many ways to solve your situation.

    One way is to learn how to do drywall. Very easy and quite cheap. But an art. Anyway once you know this, you can cut out a portion of wall - say 1 ft. square, then replace an existing electric outlet with a large deep double gang electric box with a single gang "plaster ring". Then suddenly you have all sorts of room in that box for making electrical connections.

    And you can more easily fish a wire up to where you are going.

    When you make wiring connections inside an electrical box and have say 2 wires to connect to only one connection, the way to do it is using what is called a "pig tail". You take a 3rd short length of wire, then twist the 3 wires together and use a "wire nut", then attach that 3rd wire to the connection/screw on the outlet.

    Then junction boxes in an accessible place like an attic or crawl space are a good idea to make splices. Just be sure you can get to these boxes in the future for troubleshooting or whatever. (Don't burry these in a wall where you can't get to them.)

    If you want to learn more about electrical wiring, might want to pick up a book at a home improvement store. Or more advanced books here...
    http://www.buildersbook.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=bbi&Category_Code=40

    There are all sorts of electrical boxes. Some can be installed by just cutting a hole the size of the electrical box in the drywall. I don't know if there are double gang boxes like this?

    Then another trick is to use 2 junction boxes in the attic. Cut the wire, then use 2 junction boxes and a length of the same type wire to reconnect them and use one of them for your new connection.

    ALWAYS turn off the main power to the house before working on any electrical wiring. There are circuits called "Multi-Wire Branch Circuits" where two separate circuit breakers control the wiring in one cable! If you just turn off one breaker, the other wiring will still be live! So turn off ALL the power to be sure everything is off.

    Then also I would suggest reading one of those wiring books cover to cover before doing any wiring. Then you will understand the wiring in your house better. And will understand how to best install new wiring so it is safe.

    A good thing to do is get an electrical permit for any electrical work you do. With this, you get an expert to look over your work to be sure it is safe. And the cost is cheap as opposed to hiring an electrician to look over your work.

    And what are they going to do? Find something which is not safe and ask you to make it safe? Good! That's the idea!

    Plaster ring...

    [​IMG]

    Pig tail...

    [​IMG]
  7. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    P.S. In the picture above there is something which an electrical inspector might catch...

    They are using a smaller gauge wire with the yellow wire. An inspector would probably say they need to use the same gauge (larger) wire.
  8. I26

    I26 New Member

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    32
    Thanks for taking the time to help. I actually have a book and bought the newest edition today, The Complete Guide To Wiring by Black and Decker. Book says it complies with 2008-2011 NEC.

    When I installed a light in another room I used pigtails and such like you mention thanks to the book. The good part was that I was hanging drywall so running wiring was easy. I did notice in the book that they ran 2 runs of NM cable through one cable clamp in a receptacle box, is that allowed?

    Thanks again for the help.

    And yes, I have a plug-in tester, multimeter, and a current tester...don't care to get zapped.
  9. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Sounds like you are all set with the right tools for the job, which includes that wiring book. And those books which say they are up to the latest national electrical code are best. Older books might leave out a lot of things which are required now.

    As to specific code questions, most things are the same everywhere, however many local areas have their own modifications to the national rules.

    For example some areas might require everything to be run in conduit. In my area there are modifications as to where a GFCI is required. Etc. For example I think there is one island in Hawaii which still goes by the 1992 electrical code!

    In my area there is a separate publication which does not cost too much which lists the modifications to the national electrical code. Or available free on the internet. I don't know about other states?

    So I feel it is best to ask your local electrical inspector, then you know for sure. And these guys are the ones who would be inspecting the work anyway, so best to get it from the "horse" I say!

    Also best to ask *before* doing any work. In my area they have specific office hours where you can go and ask questions. So call and find out when you can go and talk to them.

    If you are getting a permit rather than just asking a question about something, in my area they are happy with any sort of diagram and pictures of the area where you plan to do the work.

    The idea is to communicate to them via pictures and diagrams what you plan to do. So you could take a picture, print it out on your printer, then mark lines on it with a pen where you plan to run lines or whatever. That is OK in my area for homeowners. Contractors would of course come in with building plans, but they cut homeowners slack and don't expect this - I don't know about other areas?

    And when taking pictures for the inspector, sometimes they might want a picture of the entire area. So get far away pictures too. For example there are rules about running electric lines over a roof or driveway. So a picture of just the wall where the electric panel will go will not show them the overall area.

    Or there may be specific rules for specific rooms inside a house. Like a dining room may have certain requirements. So a far away picture of the entire room is helpful, the inspector might then notice it is a dining room, then will be able to point out certain requirements for that room. (More information is better.)

    Also what is helpful is to take along "gizmo" information. If you are installing something, take along the installation instructions. The inspector may want to look at the wattage, the weight, or other specifications. Sometimes they will require you to install the gizmo per the manufacturer's instructions -> that is the "code" sometimes! Following what the manufacturer says!
  10. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,563
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Just because you have heard people call something by a different name does not make it any thing other than what it is. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

    If you were so proficient with light installations then explain why you are asking if what you propose will work or not.
  11. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    I think he realizes it will work.

    What he is asking is if it is to code to install a box in the attic. Answer - Yes it will meet code.

    -rick
  12. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    That made me think of a question...

    The word "accessible" as it relates to junction boxes!

    I've seen ranch houses in the southern U.S. which have roofs which barely slope. And attics which look like only a kid could crawl into. So are those attics considered "accessible"?

    (Up here in the northern U.S., some roofs are at a 45 degree angle or steeper and plenty of space in the attic. Actually I'm in my "attic" now typing this!)
  13. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,563
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I didn't see where he was asking about code at all.

    Every box I have installed in a circuit would have two cables in the box except the last one on the end of the run. This is something that anyone that is going to undertake doing work on an electrical circuit should understand fully before even try to change a light bulb.

    Electricity is not something to play with unless you have an understanding of how it works. There are all sorts of hidden dangers involved including burning down your home.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  14. I26

    I26 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Well to be straight to the point, around here they call that space a crawl space if it is not easily accessible and if you can't walk through it. I definitely don't claim to Mr. Electricity else I wouldn't be asking questions here.

    I hope that if you do this for a living you don't treat your customers like this, I know you would not work very long with me with an attitude such as yours. Get over yourself....enough said.
  15. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    Yup its REALLY IMPORTANT to know how many electrical wires are in a box before you change a light bulb. Whatever.

    -rick
  16. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Pull the power from the switch.


    You can pull power from a circuit in the attic but you still need to get down the wall to the switch for your light. You must make sure it's not a switch leg, a 240V circuit or some other circuit that would be illegal to tap (kit counter top receps etc)

    That said, never put a Jbox in a small attic/crawl space unless there is no other option. Keeping your electrical system in "stock" condition is important.

    In your case, I would have eliminated the switched recep and run a cable from the switch to the overhead light. It's not too tough if you have attic access and you pull the switch box out to gain easy access to the wall cavity.
  17. I26

    I26 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    I found the receptacle in the room that was at the end of the run. I had to move quite a bunch of things to get to it. This will be no different than the other 2 overhead lights I installed before. I gotta admit, being an electrician would not be for me, more power to those who do it. I will stick to what I do. Thanks for all the kind help.
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