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Deano1 03-20-2010 07:31 PM

Can I install recessed lighting???
I have a 40 yr old home that has poor lighting in the kitchen. It has one ceiling light that provides most of the general light for the room. I would like to add 4-5 recessed lights and do the work myself to avoid the labor costs. The one ceiling light is controlled by 3 (count em three) different switches! One in the kitchen, one in the hallway, and the third in the dining room. Where would be the best place to grab/steal power from and how do I do it? Would like to avoid bringing in a new supply line if possible. Was hoping that tying in 4-5 new lights would be possible since only had one light on that switch currently. What is the best way to go about this? Im not familiar with most of the electrical terminology so go easy on me out there :)

Bud Cline 03-21-2010 12:57 PM

Until one of our local electricians reports in I'll offer this:

1.) Due to the age of your home the first question that comes to my mind is: Are your walls and ceilings plaster, or are they drywall?

If they are plaster you could be asking for trouble doing this yourself. Plaster ceilings can be very difficult to deal with when trying to cut holes in them without wrecking the ceiling.

2.) You are aware that "can-lights" don't really project light throughout the room but they project more towards the floor instead?

3.) You could pull the necessary power from the existing circuit using the same switching you have now if you want everything to come on at the same time. Messing with the switches you have can be very tricky.

4.) How about installing some track-lighting on the surface of the ceiling? That wouldn't require much in the way of new holes.

5.) Do you have access to the ceiling cavity for fishing additional wires?

6.) I'm guessing you could probably add up to about six hundred watts of additional lighting before requiring a new circuit assuming your current light circuit isn't running some wall outlets somewhere.:)

Deano1 03-21-2010 01:29 PM

I have drywall instead of plaster and installing the fixtures should be very do-able. Im interested in tying into the switches and adding the wattage you suggest. What does that process look like?

Bud Cline 03-21-2010 01:39 PM

Can you get into your ceiling? What is above the kitchen?

You wouldn't have to tie-in at the switches, you could pickup where the light fixture is now and go from there.

Sounds very do-able now. Just be sure you buy the retro-fit cans that are made to be installed after the drywall is in place.:)

If you have an attic above the kitchen any worries are basically over.:)

Deano1 03-21-2010 02:23 PM

Thanks for your advice Bud. Attic access is easy so were good there. Not tying in at the switch sounds great! When you type "pick up where the light fixture is now", does that mean that Im going to do some splicing?

Bud Cline 03-21-2010 02:27 PM


...does that mean that Im going to do some splicing?
Yes but that's the easy part.

Is there a box in the ceiling that supplies the current light fixture?:)

Deano1 03-21-2010 02:44 PM

I havent looked but Im sure there is. I guess that's where I go next. Assuming I find the box, what are my next few steps?

Housedoctor57 03-21-2010 03:56 PM

Your existing box where the light fixture is now will either have to be relocated or converted to one of your can lights. You cannot just drywall over this box. Take the existing wires that power your current light and run them to your new can light. Just continue from there to feed the next light, etc. You may want to use Remodel IC can lights. Halo are a brand I like.

Bud Cline 03-21-2010 04:03 PM

Find the light fixtures you want to use. Locate their positions in the ceiling missing the ceiling joists. Install the fixtures. Install the wiring at each new fixture and bring it back to the existing junction box. There should be holes in the junction box already.

Turn off the related circuit breaker.
Connect the new wires in the old junction box to the existing feed wires.

If you will abandon the existing light location you can use a decorative cover plate to cover the old box on the kitchen side after the wiring is complete.:)

The above may not be your exact situation but there wouldn't be much more to it than that.:)

Deano1 03-21-2010 04:31 PM

Well, this project is officially on my list. Thanks for the advice today folks - your have been a big help already. Now I'm going to see if there are any "how-to" videos that show me how to tie into that existing junction box.

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