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rustybuckles 08-28-2010 06:34 AM

electrical questions
Hi there, I am planning on adding 6 pot lights with a dimmer switch to our bedroom. Presently there is one flush mount light in the center of the room where I would like to install a ceiling fan. I was planning on running the new circuit for the pot lights from the existing switch. I know I have to add another gang box and run 14/3 wire to the new dimmer switch. However here is the problem. Presently the existing switch is carrying power to the flush mount and to the light and switch in the master closet. Can I add a pig tail and run power between the existing switch and the new one? I am hesitant to run a new circuit from the panel but I don't know if I will be overloading the circuit by adding the new lights. Any help you can send my way would be appreciated!

speedy petey 08-28-2010 07:27 AM

Why do you need 14/3?
And how do you know you need #14 and not #12?

Otherwise what you plan sounds fine, provided the old box has enough room to add another cable.

budro 08-29-2010 05:45 AM

speedy petey is right. why 14-3? 12-2 w/g is your wire. is the power that energizes the light ran to the light and then tied to a switch leg at the ceiling box? or is it ran to the switch and then travels on to the light? if the switch has only one wire at it, that is a good indicator the power is supplied to the ceiling box. if it is wired the way you explained, then the closet light will only work if the ceiling light is on. i think you are confused and probably have power at the light. if you are not knowledgable in wiring and are going to do this yourself, be careful. if they are several wires in the ceiling box, you probably have hot there. if two or three black wires are twisted together to one white wire in the ceiling then the multiple blacks probably mean you have power at the ceiling box and this is a single pole circuit. do you only turn the ceiling light off and on at one location? if so, read on. if not ,call for help. run a new "hot" wire from the ceiling box to the nearest recessed light and run a switch leg from the new recessed light to your new switch. tie the black hot wire you ran to your new light to the white of the switch leg. come back to the recessed light from the switch on the black side of the same wire. (you broke the color code going to the switch leg but now wound up back on track with black) tie this "switched" black wire to the light and use the white and ground from your original hot wire to complete the circuit. all you've done here is broke the hot wire at the switch. now all the rest of the lights can be wired in parallel to complete the circuit. meaning tie all the rest in the same way after the switching is done. kind of the same as plugging an extension cord into another extension cord. if not sure, label all wires in your on way to put them back if you get lost. code each wire and also code who went to where. make sure power is off while you do this. another hint to. you have joists in the attic. make sure they all fit symetrically for six recessed lights. the joists probably aren't there for a perfect fit for your lights. you may have to do some planning. don't cut the first hole till you know all lights fit. if not you will hit a snag with the joists being where they are. in short, you can shift the cans around in your planning. the joists don't shift. good day, budro

budro 08-29-2010 05:57 AM

p.s. i usually lay it out and drive a nail in the center of where i plan to cut out the round hole. before i even mark the hole i then go in the attic and see where they came out. you'll have to move some insulation around. if the nails give you enough room for the whole circle to be cut out, then go ahead. also, note the square housing part of the recessed light the round can is housed in. it will have to be factored in to be place by the joists. i do all my wire connectors and wiring on the table so when i place the fixture in the attic i simply put the wire from that light in the next hole. you'll have to measure the distance between lights and give yourself a couple feet extra to work with. in short, do everything you can on the ground.

kok328 08-29-2010 06:57 AM

Add up the total watts for (6) cans. If you find that you need #12 instead of what I believe will be #14, then you have no choice but, to pull a new circuit.

Amp test the existing circuit under full load and do some simple math to find out if the circuit will be overloaded.

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