Changing Switched Outlet to Constant Power

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by MattinCA, Dec 2, 2019.

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  1. Dec 5, 2019 #21

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  2. Dec 5, 2019 #22

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  3. Dec 5, 2019 #23

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  4. Dec 5, 2019 #24

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2019 #25

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2019 #26

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2019 #27

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    I am kind of late coming along here, but why not set a junction box in the attic above the switch, run power from the attic source to the junction box, drop a switch leg to the switch box downstairs and then run a wire to your new light location from the junction box? Leave the existing wires in the back of the switch box downstairs. No mixing of circuits etc.
    Just my two cents worth.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2019 #28

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    I asked earlier if your switch boxes or junction boxes were metal.
    If they are, they might be grounded.
    Either by a bare ground wire that is part of a cable, or by metal conduit, or a green ground wire.

    Let us know what you have for boxes, and conduit if any.
     
  9. Dec 5, 2019 #29

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    That would work fine unless someone went to work on that switch box in the future went and found what breaker controlled the light and then in shutting that off figured the whole box was safe. It is kind of a long shot and you should never assume power is off without sticking a meter on it even after seeing the light goes out.


    If there was going to be a drastic overload by adding the light it would be a way to go. Now a days with all this LED lighting currents are going the other direction in most homes. That’s why I suggested keeping it simple and no mixing feeds in the box.
     
  10. Dec 5, 2019 #30

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    He most likely has steel boxes in a 1950s home. In his OP he described the wire as the old romex with W/B and covered in a paper sheath also pretty common circa 1950.


    He could look inside a few boxes and see if he sees any green wires screwed to the box, but there was no mention so far of that or armored cable being used. The easy place to tell is look at what wires are coming out of the main panel.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2019 #31

    pjones

    pjones

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    It’s ok to wait until you have the budget for it but just keep in mind nobody plans an accident, and the older equipment is the most likely to develop an issue.

    For example, your furnace may develop a short in one of its wires (let’s say it rubs through due to vibration, it happens all the time). The furnace is mounted on a wood floor so it’s insulated from ground and the ducts are isolated from the plumbing pipes as they should be. Your furnace body and ducts are now electricity live, this can include your floor vents as well since it is connected to the ducts. Last time you changed the filter there was no issue because the wire hadn’t rubbed through yet but this time when you go to pull off the filter door you grab onto a pipe to steady yourself and you get a shock. The circuit breaker didn’t trip because there was no current flow. A GFCI on that circuit wouldn’t detect the fault until it someone completed a circuit to ground but when that happens it will shut down the circuit immediately.

    The above example can happen just as easily with a faulty tea kettle, coffee machine, toaster, etc... 63 years without a faulty appliance is pretty good, just don’t try to push your luck too far, sometimes you don’t get a second chance.

    If it were my house I would be placing a fairly big priority on it. Ungrounded equipment is a scary thing.
     
  12. Dec 6, 2019 #32

    MattinCA

    MattinCA

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    If I understand, I was going to "mimic the former outlet wiring, with one cable bringing power from the attic light j-box down to the unused switch, and one cable running back up from the switch into the attic and to the new ceiling fixture, with the hots attached to the switch and the neutrals connected to each other with a wire nut;"

    But you are suggesting I bring just the hot to and from the switchbox by dropping a 2-wire switch leg down to the switch--marking the white wire with black to ID it as hot--so I only have to run one 2-wire cable from the attic to the switchbox instead of two, is that right? Any downsides to that approach (assuming I do a good job coloring the white wire black)?
     
  13. Dec 6, 2019 #33

    MattinCA

    MattinCA

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    That makes sense to me, but that's not much of an endorsement! Certainly easier to run one 2-wire cable between the attic and the switchbox than two. As long as I am careful to mark the white wire black REALLY well to ID it as hot, are there any downsides to this?
     
  14. Dec 6, 2019 #34

    Fireguy5674

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    Yes, to your question about running one wire to the switch, as long as you set a box or make your connections in an existing box. You would tie the black wire in your new cable to your power source. That black wire would end up tied to one terminal of the switch. The white wire would tie to the other terminal of the switch and be marked with black if you so choose. Then that white would be connected to the black wire going to the ceiling light. All other white wires would be connected together. As Bud mentioned above, he had some concern about someone getting into the box and not realizing that there were two circuits present and having a shock hazard. I would do it that way if it were mine. Let's see if there are other opinions.

    Oh, I apologize for my screw up with multiple identical posts. Didn't look to me like it was putting anything up. :dunno:
     
  15. Dec 6, 2019 #35

    MattinCA

    MattinCA

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    I think I thought of the drawback to the switch leg. If I ever want to replace the switch with a dimmer, I will probably wish I had just done what Bud 16415 said and used the hot and neutral already in the switchbox. Looks like most LED dimmers require a neutral.

    Thanks for being patient with me, y'all. This is a great learning experience.
     
  16. Dec 6, 2019 #36

    pjones

    pjones

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    The good ones require a neutral. There are some that don’t but they can cause flickering and have poor dimming profiles.

    I would pull a single three wire into the box if it were myself doing the work. Red and black for the two hot wires then white can be capped off and ready to use if you want it later. Connect the neutral at times he light so you don’t need to open that up again if you decide to use it later.

    As for the GFCI issue, I would install the breaker type into the panel. That should work with any circuits that do not share a neutral and would probably be your best solution for lack of ground issue. You may need to discuss with your local electrician about how to deal with any outlets that share s neutral. In fact, really it should be an electrician doing this whole job, but since you are turning the power off to the whole house at the main breaker then you should be out of harms way if something becomes evidently wrong when you turn it back on. Inside the panel however will still have live wires in it that can create a scary arc flash if something falls onto them or touches them. The problem with doing some things yourself is that you don’t know what you don’t know. This is one of those areas where you are venturing a little far out into the deep end. If you are uncertain about how to wire a light switch then I can say with almost certainty that that you don’t know enough to work inside a panel. I’m not trying to be rude and I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but I would rather it be said and possibly hurt your feelings rather then find out later that you got hurt physically because you got too close and it arced, or something get wired wrong and you damage every single appliance and device connected to the circuits.

    Safety takes time. If you are rushing through a job you probably are skipping steps required for safety. Anticipate the job to take longer than expected so you don’t have to rush.

    Cheers.
     
  17. Dec 6, 2019 #37

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

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    Yeah a single 3 wire works if you want a dimmer later.

    You would think I had never used this sight before. I wrote the above reply this morning and never sent it.
     

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