Switched receptacle and overhead light??

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Master Brian, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    I have 2 duplex receptacles that I'm needing to re-wire after pulling out knob & tube wiring. One of these was switched with the old wiring, but I'm now wanting to switch half of each of them, leaving the other half always hot.

    To complicate things, I'm also wanting to run a wire to the ceiling so that if I ever decide to install an overhead light, this is a living room, the wiring is already in place. At that time, I don't know if I would leave the receptacles switched or not, but the switch would need to definately operate the overhead light.

    I am including a diagram I drew up, I'd like to know if all looks ok with it. The dashed wire going to the light, will not be hooked up for now, but I want to know it will work when/if the time comes where I need it. It will be unhooked in the switch box.

    **Shouldn't matter, but the switch will be a pushbutton, I believe 400 or 600watt switch. Another thing that just came to mind is that this will be wired to an existing 20amp circuit with 6(7?) other 15amp duplex receptacles. I know that is well within guidelines, but I question whether the light, therfore the switched portion of the receptacles, should be placed on the 15amp lighting circuit instead. I have no idea what type of overhead light I might eventually end up with, but I'm guessing no more than 200-400watts worth.

    I can include a drawing of how I'd tie it into the 15amp lighting circuit if that would be better. Don't want to waste my time if not necessary...

    Attached Files:

  2. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Looks fine to me. I would run 12/3 to the light so that if you decide to put in a ceiling fan you can switch the light independently of the fan.
  3. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Great idea, even though I will most likely never put a fan in this room.

    Thanks....
  4. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Nice drawing!

    Be aware that new electric switches have a ground connection on them like outlets do.

    (In other words, if you are installing a single gang electrical box for this switch and you have the choice as to how deep of an electrical box to buy, get a deeper box and it will be easier to "cram" all the switch wiring in there.

    If using an existing electrical box, don't worry about it or if the wiring will not fit because it is a very shallow box, you can always install a junction box in the attic or basement and run just two wires with ground to the switch from the junction box.)

    As to how many outlets you have on a circuit and if it will be overloaded or not, it depends on YOU and what all you have plugged into all those outlets and are using at the SAME time. If there are several high wattage things like refrigerator, microwave, space heater, vacuum, etc. Then the breaker will trip. But if just a few table lamps, a phone, and a TV, then no problem!

    As to placing lights on a separate circuit than the outlets, this is a good idea if totally rewiring a house/building or new construction. Then if an outlet trips a breaker, you still have lights. Especially handy in an office building where there are offices on the interior without windows!

    But for just rewiring one room, I would not bother with it.
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    P.S. When wiring switches for light fixtures, notice that the switch goes into the electrical box and takes up room in there.

    And notice that the light fixture sits flush against the electrical box and does not take up any room inside the box.

    Thus there is more "room" inside a light fixture electrical box for wiring connections.

    For this reason I like to run power to the light fixture switch rather than to the switch box, then run just two wires to the switch. Then make my connections in the light fixture electrical box (wires from switch, wires from power, and wires to light fixture).

    And this becomes REALLY important when you have something like 4 electrical switches in a row (4 gang switch).

    Or if there will be too many wires for the light fixture box, I'll place an octagon shaped junction box nearby in the attic. And you can place one octagon shaped box (without bottom) on top of another octagon box and have a double depth box with plenty of room. Like this...

    Screws on top of a regular octagon box...
    [​IMG]

    FYI - On "box fill"...
    http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/articles/more-wires-need-bigger-boxes.aspx
  6. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Thanks on the pic, but I must admit, I borrowed/stole the pic of the switch and receptacles from a pic online, then just drew my wires in. So can't take full credit!

    I have accounted for the ground screw on the switch, it should have been in the drawing, if not I realize it's there.

    The switch box is an old metal, original to the house, box to the house from 1915, so wiring may be an issue inside. I'll have to open it to see, some of them were deeper than others. It is a double box as it has a switch for the front porch light/fan. That switch is on my lighting circuit and does not have the power coming into the switch box, it comes into the lighting box.

    You know have me wondering if it would be better to replace the wire from the porch light to it's switch with a 14/3, 15amp circuit, and run power into the box for the switched outlets and the future overhead light! Hmmm....

    Replacing the original box might be tough, as it is likely imbedded into the lathe and plaster and the room has been wallpapered.

    This 20amp receptacle circuit services my dining room, hallway(?) and my living room. To date it hasn't been an issue and lighting won't change much, in fact once the basement is finished my TV/Stereo/DVD/Wii, etc will all go downstairs so less will be on the circuit in the future.
  7. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Guess everyone has their preferences. I've always liked having the power in the switch box, so in theory, I can replace a light fixture without having to kill the entire circuit. I will say, with your thinking, I might like your logic better. Never really thought about it that way. Of course, in my old house, I've been using shallaw light boxes, as ceiling clearance is an issue. Originally, there were no ceiling boxes, just wires through holes in the ceiling to the light! NICE!!!

    I have had to use junction boxes on some of the other circuits, I've redone. Try to avoid them, as I thought some might find it sloppy, but sounds like it's perfectly acceptable. I may look into that and thanks for the link to box fill, I'll have to check that back out. I should be fine, but with the push button switches, I may run out of room fast. Hmmm...
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    wire

    IF you run 3 wire to the ceiling for a future fan, be sure to also use a box rated, or secured, for fan mounting.
  9. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    If I run 3 wire, I will, but thanks for the reminder.

    For now the wire won't be hooked up in the switch box, it will be clearly labeled as well, as it will not be placed into a box in the ceiling. It'll just be laying loose in the general area, so that if need be, a hole can be cut in the ceiling, the wire grabbed and then a ceiling box installed, then the wire can be tied in the switch.

    I'm not a huge fan of overhead lights in a living room, but I think it could look good, if I find the correct light for the erra of the house. Not an easy thing to do, most I find, dont have the fixture, just the globe...
  10. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    Because I do worry about space in the boxes, until I open them up to see, I am now thinkig of seperating the receptacles to two different circuits. The unswitched portion would be on a 20amp circuit, the switched portion would be on the 15amp lighting circuit.

    If I decide to do this, then the 20amp power would come into the receptacle furthest to the right and end at the left receptacle. The 15amp power would come from the box for the light, then down to the switch box, then to the 2nd light. I hope the drawing is clear, if not let me know and I'll try to tweak it a bit.

    The benifit of this is smaller wires and hopefully fewer wires in the switch box, plus all lights would be on a seperate circuit and all receptacles, with the exception of the switched portion of two of them would be on a seperate circuit.

    Thanks for looking and adding any feedback.... Which would you guys use?


    ****edit, I just realized, the way I had it drawn wouldn't switch the receptacles, they'd always be hot. I guess that's what i get for being constantly interupted during the day. I have updated the pic, hope that is correct now. That'll leave 1) 14/2 wire and 2) 14/3 wires in the double metal box. Need to see if that'll work with box fill.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  11. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Label the loose wire in the ceiling too so if someone comes across it in the attic or something they won't be wary of it and will know its purpose.
  12. Master Brian

    Master Brian DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Kansas
    yes, will label the ceiling wire as well. I actually like to label everything, sometimes even in the box. Makes it easier if/when I have to go back later.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  13. riecard

    riecard New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    old house wiring

    Interesting, My house is the same year 1915 and it's in Kansas and I made almost the same diagram to do almost the same thing. Mines sloppy looking but it makes sense. Your is better looking but I haven't figured it out yet. Did it work out for U ? I am still in the middle of it all. I can't figure out how to post my diagram on the site. I converted it to a jpeg and used a drawing program to make it. I might add recesses ceiling lights too.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 3, 2010
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