View Full Version : Boarderline OT wiring question

03-30-2005, 12:48 PM
I am attempting to wire an additional light or two in my basement to better view my machining activities. My problem is the wiring I have close access to is what I think is called an end of line run. There is wiring then a light then the switch for the light. My question is... is there any way to use this line to run an additional switch and light. I assume not, but just thought I would ask. The thought of cutting into nice drywall makes me sick, and I hate sheetrock work more than just about anything.

03-30-2005, 03:28 PM
With the use of a “remodel” or cut in box and a commonly available 6 foot flexible drill bit, you can add the switch box pretty easily. You cut the hole for the remodeling box and drill up through the 2x4 plate. Tie the wire to the drill (they have a little hole in the flutes for this purpose) or use a fishtape to pull the wire from the attic down to the hole. Stuff the wire through the box, and then secure the box into the hole.

I just noticed that you said “in a basement”. I am supposing that you have a finished ceiling with no access? Making the corner from the wall to the ceiling is a bit more of a challenge, but it can be done with minimal (and possibly no) drywall work.

Repairing drywall is not very difficult. Are the walls/ceiling slick or textured? Matching texture is the only part that requires much skill (not that it is generally real hard to do), if it is finished out smooth, I can help walk you through the repair, no problem.

If you are tapping into an existing switched light, of course you will only be able to turn on the new light when the original light is on if that is your source of power. If the existing light is switched from 2 locations you will have an extra conductor in the wiring and your options should open up. You can also tap into most any handy outlet wiring and have continuous power available for an additional light.

Surface mounting a small wire is a simple and easily changeable alternative. You can buy 14 gauge wire with a white sheath for pretty cheap. Few people will probably even notice it if you do a careful job.

03-30-2005, 03:42 PM
FWIW, I beleive the drill with the hole in the web that Joel is refering to, is known in the electrical trade as a bell hangers bit, if you did not know.

J Tiers
03-30-2005, 05:36 PM
The deal is that

The existing switch "tail" does not carry a return line (neutral). Can't use that at all.

You have to go back and pick up the circuit BEFORE the switch, which should be at the existing light fixture box, in normal wiring.

There, you should see the power coming in, a tap off to the switch, which will be in series with black wire, and the fixture wiring, which will be after the switch. Fixture's other wire should go to white.

You have to tie into the incoming power there, and run to your new light, then put a switch in exactly as you see in the first box (assuming that is correctly and reasonably wired, maybe not a good assumption in many houses).

Having said that, and meaning nothing bad, if you have to ask the question, maybe you shouldn't do the job. It may not look just like I said, or I may not have been clear, and you would need to recognize what is going on and adjust your scheme to fit.

Frankly, that is what electricians get paid for, besides doing the work correctly.