How to add a new ceiling light & switch

Written by joey pellham
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Perhaps you have one room in your house that doesn't get enough light. You may have tried using floor lamps, but they just don't put out enough light. Another option may be to install a new ceiling light fixture and switch to control it with. Al long as you have a nearby outlet, installing a new ceiling light and switch is not hard to do.

If you are lucky enough to have an attic above your ceiling, then almost all of the wiring can be installed there. If you don't have attic access, then you will have to make some cuts into your drywall and studs.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Electrical tester
  • Drop-cloths
  • Screwdrivers
  • Small crowbar
  • Large pry screwdriver
  • Drywall hole-saw
  • Electrical fish-tape
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or pen
  • 14 Guage Romex wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Remodel plastic outlet box
  • Remodel plastic switch box
  • Remodel plastic ceiling box
  • Romex staples
  • Hammer
  • Wire strippers
  • Stud Finder
  • Chisel
  • Light fixture
  • Switch
  • Wire nuts
  • Light Fixture
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Drywall
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall mud
  • Drywall putty knife
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Turn off power to the room you are working in. Use an electrical tester and go from outlet to outlet, testing each one to make sure all power is off. Put down some drop-clothes so the floor will stay clean.

    Locate the nearest power source to where you will place your switch. This is usually a nearby outlet. Remove the outlet cover. Use your tester once more just to make sure no power is on. Remove the outlet using your screwdriver. Disconnect the black, white, and ground wire. Place the outlet to the side.

    Pry the plastic outlet box away from the stud, using your small crowbar. You may have to use your large pry screwdriver to remove the Romex staple that holds the Romex wire to the stud. Pull the wiring out of the box and leave it hanging there.

  2. 2

    Insert your fish-tape into the opening where your old outlet box was before. Feed it upward to see if you run into a fire-block stud that sometimes is placed in the wall, about half way up. If not, then you have a clear run to where you will install your switch. If you do counter a fire-block, then you will have to use your drywall saw and remove the drywall at the fire-block, exposing the stud. Use your small crowbar and remove the fire-block stud. You now have a clear path to run your Romex cable.

  3. 3

    Turn your remodelo switch box over, place it on the wall, and use it as a template by marking around it with a pencil. Cut out a hole for your switch box at 48" height off the ground to the bottom of the box.. The switch box will be installed directly above the outlet and box you just removed from before. Use your drywall saw to make the cut the same size as the box.

  4. 4

    Attach your 12 gauge Romex to your fish-tape that you ran earlier by using electrical tape. Feed the Romex cable downward and pull it about down through the wall. Leave about 12" of Romex sticking out of your outlet hole. Attach a Romex staple to the Romex, just above the hole for your new bow Grab your remodel box and push the new Romex into the back of it. Now reinstall the old romex wire that you had previously removed in the same manner. Install your remodel box by pushing it in and then turning the screws that will activate the anchor into the inside of the wall. Tighten it down.

  5. 5

    Strip back the Romex using your wire strippers. Grab your old outlet. Install black wires to the gold screws, white wires to the silver screws and the green wires to the ground screw. Install your outlet into your box and tighten it down by it's screws. Install your cover. Don't install your switch at this time. Leave the Romex wire hanging out of your switch hole opening until you rum your Romex to where you will mount your ceiling fixture.

  6. 6

    Repeat the process of running the fish tape from the ceiling now, down to your light switch hole. You will need to use a stud finder and mark where all of your ceiling joists are. Remove the drywall at each joist as you come across it. Now use a chisel and hammer to notch out a 1/2" by 1/2" space in each floor joist to accommodate your Romex. Notch out the corner studs too, where the ceiling and wall meet. Install your. Fishtape your Romex down from the corner to the switch box, just like you did before. The continue the run acroos the ceiling, using the notches you made in the floor joists. Use Romex staples at every floor joist. Install your light fixture box and switch box and hookup the wires just like mentioned above for the outlet.

  7. 7

    Install your switch just like you did the old plug. Install your light fixture, following the provided instructions. Do this before you repair any drywall. Turn on your power and make sure your outlet, new switch and light fixture all work of. Remove the light fixture and prepare to do the drywall work. Wear gloves and eye protection.

    Replace the drywall by attaching drywall screws at the floor joists. Mud the seams. Tape the joints. Sand the joints. Repaint the new drywall. Re-install the light fixture.

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