New Wall Outlet From Ceiling Fan Box

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blaubner
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:13 am

New Wall Outlet From Ceiling Fan Box

Post by blaubner » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:38 am

I want to install a new wall outlet for a mounted TV. There is an existing outlet below the TV, but that outlet is on a circuit that looks original with the house (home was built in 1961). When I looked at the existing (old) outlet, I noticed that the wiring does not have a ground. Further inspection of that particular circuit in the attic confirmed old wiring.

There is a ceiling fan in the living room where the new outlet would go. The ceiling fan is on an updated circuit with 12/2 residential wiring. I want to use this circuit because it's grounded, new and easily accessible from the attic. Anything I should be concerned about with the proposed diagram (attached)? Do I need to check the existing ceiling fan box for anything?
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Aaron
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Re: New Wall Outlet From Ceiling Fan Box

Post by Aaron » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:48 am

Ok, well first things first. The house was built in the 1960s. If you have an existing three-prong grounded receptacle, have you tested for the presence of ground? Houses in the 1960s often were wired with flexible metallic conduit, and the conduit itself is the grounding conductor. So you may not see a green insulated or bare copper grounding conductor because none was necessary. The switches and receptacles in these old boxes are grounded by their attachment to steel boxes.

If you want to extend your ceiling fan circuit, you have to ensure there is a constant source of power there. Power may originate either at the ceiling fixture or the switch. If it originates at the switch and there's only two conductors up to the ceiling fixture, then you only have power at the ceiling fixture if that switch is turned on.

blaubner
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:13 am

Re: New Wall Outlet From Ceiling Fan Box

Post by blaubner » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:29 am

Thanks for the quick reply. The old wire does looks metallic on the exterior, and the box that houses a three pronged outlet is metal. I used a multimeter to test the three prong outlet on the old circuit for ground but did not find one. Maybe I did that wrong? Put the two test leads into the receptacle and got 120V. Then moved the lead from the neutral slot to the ground slot and registered 0V. Was that proper or do I need to test the box specifically?

The ceiling fan is not on a switch. This pissed me off at first but I think it could work to my advantage. Still leaning towards extending the ceiling fan circuit. Should I be concerned with adding the amps from a plasma TV and apple TV to the circuit?

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Aaron
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Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: New Wall Outlet From Ceiling Fan Box

Post by Aaron » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:41 am

Yeah what you did was right, you should have 120V on hot-to-neutral and hot-to-ground. With the cover plate removed, try testing from the hot terminal screw of the receptacle to the box itself. Then you rule out the receptacle altogether, if it possibly has a bad connection or something.

If you don't have a ground, there should never have been a 3-prong receptacle there. You should replace it with either a 2-prong one, or a GFCI which can act as a sort of "pseudo-ground".

I have heard the old plasmas do take a lot of juice. It's very unlikely it would be so much that both the TV and the fan together would exceed 1500 watts, which is the target maximum that a 15A circuit should have for continuous load. Apple TV is negligible, that thing is probably 10 watts at most. You may want to see what else may be on that circuit--it could go to other parts of the house.

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