How to wire a light & outlet in an attic

Written by laurie brown
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How to wire a light & outlet in an attic
Standard Light Bulb for Pull Chain Light (light bulb image by David Ng from Fotolia.com)

Attics are a great place for the storage of various home items. However, using a flashlight to see around is just not practical or safe. Installing a pull chain light will allow you to turn on a light bulb as you climb into the attic and provide light to safely enter the attic and locate your items. Additionally, you can install an outlet in the attic as you would any typical outlet installation, to provide electricity as needed.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Outlet junction box
  • Light junction box
  • 1 box romex 12-2 gauge cable, 25 feet
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • 110-volt outlet kit
  • Pull chain light kit
  • 60-watt light bulb

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Locate an existing electrical junction box in the attic that is adjacent to where the light and outlet will be mounted. You may have to move some insulation aside to find a junction box. Turn the power off to this junction box at the main service panel.

  2. 2

    Loosen and remove the screws holding the cover on the junction box. Set the cover and screws aside.

  3. 3

    Attach the outlet junction box to a rafter at the desired location of your choice. Use the screwdriver to screw in the screws on the junction box into the rafter, securing it in place. Repeat this step to attach the lights junction box on a rafter. The light is typically installed near the entrance to the attic.

  4. 4

    Punch out a knock out hole in the back of each junction box using the screwdriver.

  5. 5

    Feed one end of the romex cable through the outlet junction box and over to the existing junction box and pull it through an existing hole. Leave about six inches of cable extending out the front of each box and cut away any excess. Repeat this step to run a similar cable from the lights junction box to the existing junction.

  6. 6

    Strip the insulation off the ends of each cable using the wire strippers. Strip three inches of the outer sheathing away, and one inch of insulation off each the black and white wires.

  7. 7

    Remove the wire nuts off the existing wires in the original existing junction box by unscrewing them. Attach the new wires to the existing wires by twisting the same coloured wires together in a clockwise direction. Twist black to black, white to white and bare to bare. Twist the wire nuts back onto the ends of each of the wire connections. Replace the cover over the junction box and tighten it down with the screws and a screwdriver.

  8. 8

    Connect the new outlet to the wiring out of the outlet junction box. Attach the black wire to the brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw, and the bare wire to the green screw. Attach the outlet to the box using the included screws and tighten them down.

  9. 9

    Connect the pull chain light to the wiring out of the light junction box. Attach the black wire to the brass screw, the white wire to the silver screw, and the bare wire to the green screw. Attach the light to the box using the included screws and tighten them down. Screw a bulb into the light socket.

  10. 10

    Turn the power back on at the service panel. Pull the chain to turn the light on and test for power. Plug in a light to the outlet and test for power.

Tips and warnings

  • Never work on an electrical cable or wire that has not first been turned off. Failure to turn it off could lead to possible electrocution.

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