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Wiring for can lights using a light switch that currently controls a half hot outlet

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:43 pm
by robertinator
Hi Guys,

Just discovered you on YouTube and I'm glad I did! We're new first-time homeowners and are starting to make some changes to our little fixer-upper :)

I use one of our bedrooms as an office and I would really like to install can lights in the ceiling. There's attic space above, so that's helpful, but my problem is that the light switch controls a half-hot outlet. I would like to instead have them turn on the three can lights I have yet to install. There's no light fixture in the ceiling, just the outlet connected to the wall switch. I think I can manage to install the can lights where I want them (thanks to your other videos) but I have no idea how to make the light switch turn on the lights (and convert the outlet back to normal). If you've already made a video about this, I missed it! Thanks in advance for everyone's help.

Robert

Re: Wiring for can lights using a light switch that currently controls a half hot outlet

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:02 am
by Aaron
What I highly recommend is leaving the switch that switches the receptacle as-is, and instead, adding *another* switch to control your new ceiling pot lights. Then you have the choice when you walk into the room of turning on ceiling lights and/or a lamp. Plus you don't have to mess up a configuration that already is there--you can just add onto it.

Now hopefully there's a neutral and constant hot in that existing switch box. You need each to tap off to another switch to control the new ceiling lights. If this doesn't exist, you will need to find some other source of power (such as a receptacle), but you could still have your new switch next to the other one--it just will involve more wiring and fishing.

Why don't you start by first turning off power to that room at the panel, removing the cover plate from the switch, and the two screws that bolt the switch yoke to the box. Pull the switch away from the box and bend it to the side and pull out any pigtails connections and take a picture and post it here. That will give us a good idea of what is coming into that box so we know what course you should take.

Re: Wiring for can lights using a light switch that currently controls a half hot outlet

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:07 am
by emtnut
As mentioned, we need to know what wiring is in the switch.

If it is a switch loop, then you would run your cable from the current switched receptacle up to the attic. You'll have the choice whether you want the current receptacle switched still or not.

Re: Wiring for can lights using a light switch that currently controls a half hot outlet

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:38 am
by Aaron
...and if that were the case, hopefully that receptacle is not on an outside wall.