Best way to wire new light and switch in bedroom closet using existing room power


Your light and switch arrangement needs hot and neutral to function. You tapped it off the light switch in the bedroom, which only has hot and switched-hot (marked as white with black electrical tape). That is not a good place to get power. Here's what's happening:

With the bedroom switch on, the two pins on the switch are shorted out, so both power wires to the closet have the same voltage. It can't function.

With the bedroom switch off, current flows from hot, through your closet switch, through your closet lamp, and then through the bedroom lamps and to neutral. The lights are in series. That would light - dimly - with incandescents, but smart bulbs won't like it at all.

You cannot tap power at the switch if there's no neutral there. You should tap it at the bedroom light, where neutral is...

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Based on what you've provided, I made this diagram to go along with what all you will need for the new installation and how to accomplish it. This is the only working solution without first running a new neutral from the existing light down to the existing switch. You will have to pull power from the light, not from the switch. Also, as you had mentioned, this switch will only work when the bedroom light is on. However, you will not need a 3-way switch (that wouldn't help anything) and you won't need 3-wire cabling.

The red blobs are wire nuts. Black is hot, gray is neutral, and green is the ground.

As you can see, you'll need two runs of 2 wire cable. The size of the wire should match whatever amperage the current breaker is rated at for this circuit; 12/2 for a 20A breaker, 14/2 for a 15A breaker. Then you'll also need your new lighting fixture and a single pole switch.

One last mention, as it might not be the easiest solution, but would probably work...

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Study the diagram below, photos and step by step procedure before attempting. Do not attempt unless you have a complete understanding of the job.


Shut off power to the circuit.


Test the circuit with a tester or lamp prior to working to be sure power has been removed.


Remove the wall plate from the receptacle and save the screws for reuse.


Unscrew the receptacle from the box and save screws for reuse.


Pull the receptacle gently but firmly away from the box.


Identify each terminal screw with a number written on masking tape, affixed close by. A booklet of adhesive numbers (like that in the photo) is great aid for a job like this.


Mark the silver or white terminals with even numbers 2 and 4; the green safety ground terminal (if provided) should be marked 5. The gold terminals on the other side should be marked with odd numbers 1 and 3. Be sure to...

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Connect ground wires.

Provide as shorter lengths (8 inches/20.5 cm) of bare or green insulated wire to this wire-nutted group to allow connection to green ground terminal screws on each device in the box (switches, outlets, fixtures, etc.) - one length of insulated wire per ground terminal screw. If the switch or junction box is metal, it too

must be securely grounded

with a green ground screw or approved grounding clip. This must be done at each and every box that a cable enters and at each device that provides a termination point for ground.



/d/dc/Wire a 3 Way Light Switch Step 26.360p.mp4

It is highly recommended that you complete these ground connections first, and then gently fold them into the rear of the box - out of the way - leaving only the...
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Turn off all power supply to the room in which you will be working. Check that there is no power running through the wires with a circuit tester.

Drill a pilot hole through the ceiling where you would like to install your ceiling electrical box. Insert a wire through the hole, up to the attic. Cut through any rough flooring around the wire with a jigsaw.

Place the electrical box over the pilot hole, and use a pencil to trace around it. Cut this tracing out with a drywall saw. Position the electrical box in the hole, and adjust the arms on the side of the box so that they are tight to the wooden joists on either side. Secure the arms to the joists with screws.

Measure the length from the existing light to where your new light will be. Cut lengths of 14-gauge white wire, green wire and black wire to reach this distance.

Unscrew the wire nut holding the two black wires together on your existing light. Strip the last one inch of your new black wire,...

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Carefully read the instructions that come with the new dimmer switch. “The biggest mistake people make is not reading the instructions,” says Scott. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and even I carefully read all the instructions with a new piece of equipment.”

2. Disconnect the power at the circuit breaker and flip the light switch to ensure that the power is off.

3. Unscrew the switch plate and remove it. It’s a good idea to make sure the wire isn’t carrying any current; use a noncontact voltage detector to check.

4. Remove the screws holding in the old light switch and gently pull it out of the wall. The switch either will be held by wires wrapped around connector screws at its sides, or will have wires coming out of it that are connected to wires coming out of the wall and capped with wire nuts (they look like marker caps).

5. If the wires are looped around connector screws, undo them, snip them and strip them. Follow the package instructions to...

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By Timothy Thiele

Updated October 23, 2015.

Here's a great way to add light switches, receptacles, and lights without installing any wires! It's hard to believe! Well, really it's no magical thing, really. What I'm talking about is installing a wireless switch kit. The kit comes with a wireless plug-in receptacle that is controlled by a wireless switch. When the switch is turned on, it sends a signal to the receptacle and it closes the contacts to complete the circuit to the desk lamp, turning it on.

Another option allows you to screw in a light base into an existing one and that controls the light fixture via a remote switch as well.

The third option is to replace a conventional switch with a remote control switch. Then you add a second switch down a hallway or staircase to have three-way switch controls for a light. The switches talk to each other and turn on the light from either location. Wow! What a time saver!

As you know, there are many...

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Is that sweater black or navy? If it's too dark in your closet to tell the difference, one of these bright ideas might be for you.

By John Gerard

In most homes, especially older ones, closet lighting is an afterthought. Homebuilders tend to put a lot of emphasis on kitchen and bath lighting, but often overlook the closet and storage spaces, providing just a single overhead light bulb with a pull-string, or sometimes no lighting at all.

In newer homes today, closets often contain a flush-mounted light controlled with a switch. It doesn’t look great, but it gets the job done.

If you’re looking for a little more illumination, here are a few ways you can bring more light into your closet, attic or storage space.

Natural light

Unless you’re a vampire, the best light is always sunlight. That’s true for every room in the house, including closets.

Very few closets will have a window, and installing a window in a closet, while possible,...

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Wiring Diagrams for Bedroom Light Fixtures and Switches
Background: Justin, a Homeowner from Santa Clara, Ca


I have an existing circuit in my bedroom and want to add lighting with switches in the closet. I figure I need to add a junction box and connect into the existing circuit. I am looking for a wiring diagram to for this type of situation. Any suggestions or guidance you can provide would be appreciated.


Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Justin.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Bedroom Electrical Wiring

Electrical Junction Boxes
Electrical Code for How Many Wires in Junction Boxes

Circuit Wiring
Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

Electrical Wiring

Lighting For The Home
Lighting Electrical Codes

Light Switch Wiring
Wiring Diagrams
3 Way Switch Diagram

Wiring Diagrams


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The wiring of three-way switches is certainly more complicated than that of the more common single-pole switch, but you can figure it out if you follow our diagrams. With a pair of three-way switches, either switch can make or break the connection that completes the circuit to the light. The whole project can be completed in a few hours if you don’t have to do any drywall removal and repair.

To add the switch, you’ll use one of two wiring diagrams, depending on whether the power comes to your light switch first (the most common situation) or to the light fixture first. Either way, complete these five steps:

Turn off the correct circuit at your electrical panel. Add an electrical box for the second three-way switch in the basement. It’s likely you’ll also need to replace the existing switch box with a larger one to accommodate the extra wires for the three-way switch. Feed a length of 14-3 type NM cable (or 12-3, if you’re connecting to 12-gauge wire) between the two...
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My name is Kelly and I am a late-night snacker. There, I said it.

The problem with this – besides the ramifications to my waistline – is that our pantry has no lighting, so my solo evening cookie searches are conducted in the dark, which makes this whole image of me binging on cookies at 10 pm at least four times more pathetic. Better fix that.

Here’s a shot looking up to the ceiling:

Sorry about the blurry photo, but I like to maintain some mystery around here, so you’ll just have to wonder whether those peanut butter jars are creamy or crunchy.

(You just can’t stand it, can you?)

It’s against code regulations to install an incandescent lightbulb in a closet that small… which we might ignore if my dad wasn’t actually a home inspector, who likes to comment on code violations in restaurants and at other people’s homes. So if we installed an illegal bulb which burned down our entire house, I couldn’t go running home to mom and dad, and...

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Seconds after this photo, I realized I had a big problem. Be sure to read Step 4 to see why this light switch installation was only just beginning.

How do you install a light switch? It seems simple enough. Just walk right up there and install it. No problemo.

I remind Charlotte and Christian about 2000 times per year to turn off the lights in the basement after feeding the cats. Sometimes they remember, other times, not so much.

Regardless, each night I have to trudge down to the basement storage room, which is about 8 leagues under the sea, and check.

The solution. Install a new motion sensing light switch. On the surface installing a light switch seems easy. Heck, even the back of the box shows it in 3 easy steps.

Except, it's not so easy if you haven't done it before. At the end of the post I have a list of 4 gotchas that make this easy project... hard. But first, let's start with the basic light switch installation steps.

How do you...

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Q. 1 I see in many books the lighting is on a different circut. Is that a best practice?

That is a personal design. Receptacles in a bedroom are also considered as general lighting circiut allowed on the same circuit as the lights.

Q. 2 Is there a standard way to wire a room? i.e. all the outlets first then lights down to switches. I'm not sure best way to go

No absolutely not. Ha Ha. Actually if you had one bedroom and 10 qualified electricians they could fine more to wire that bedroom meeting code than you can imagine. Actually the 10 electricians would probably go to lunch and take the rest of the day off trying to convince the other electricians his or her way of wiring that bedrom was the best. All in the eyes of the designer of the circuit.

Q.2 Does the code now require me to wire smoke alarms in my other bedrooms? If so do they all have to be attached.

Per IBC...

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Your ceiling fan has a broken light pull chain. How do you fix this fast and easy? Ceiling fans with lights have a pull chain to turn the fan or the lights on or off. These pull chains get pulled on daily and can be broken. If you pull too hard on the pull chain the chain can break or come out of its socket. Also, the light switch itself may wear out or fail. If this happens the lights will not turn on. We will show you the easiest way to fix either of these problems below. Since you are working on your ceiling fan, find out the best ceiling fan direction for Summer or Winter.

Below are 2 different scenarios, one is a broken pull chain and one is a bad switch.

Always turn off power before taking apart a ceiling fan or light switch.

Pull chain for a ceiling fan light switch

To replace the fan light switch pull chain:

The switch housing needs to be removed. Unscrew the screws holding the lighting assembly to the fan. You should now...
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Jani18, the Fantech ones I bought (one installed in our guest bath, one in the box awaiting installation in our master bath in about two weeks) are the ones with the halogen light. Fantech makes one with a compact fluorescent light which isn't big like the Panasonic, but I actually prefer the warmer (yellower) color of a regular light to the cooler (bluer) color of a fluorescent for the shower. And I like being able to dim the halogen light, which you can't do with the fluorescent, even though most times we'll probably just leave in on high. (I have rope light above and below our vanity and cabinets to use as a "night light", but if you don't otherwise have a built-in nightlight, then turning on the Fantech halogen light at a low setting on a dimmer would work well.) I'm quite happy with the model with the halogen light.

Which model of Fantech fan? That depends on how large your bathroom is. Their smallest fan, the one I have, moves 110 cubic feet or air per minute (CFM) and...

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Programmable timer used to control a porch light

In-wall timers can turn a standard wall light switch into a programmable timer complete with 7-day customization, random vacation settings, and a backup battery.

I use the timer to control the porch light over the kitchen door, so there’s no more coming home to a dark house at night or leaving the light on all night be mistake.

Features of In-Wall Programmable Timers

How to Install a Programmable In-Wall Timer

Turn off power at circuit breaker

Choose Proper Switch: Make sure the timer is rated for the same amperage as your existing wiring. A 15-amp timer will replace most standard light switches. Turn Off Power: Turn off the circuit breaker or unscrew the fuse that controls the wall switch and fixture. Remove Switch Cover Plate: Remove the cover plate and use an electrical tester to verify that the power is off. Unscrew Existing Switch: Remove the screws holding the existing switch in...
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Efficient LED light bulbs used to cost upwards of $100 apiece. With prices now down in the single digits, it’s much easier to make the switch. Photo: Cree via Facebook

Just a couple decades ago, light bulbs were light bulbs. No matter your budget, you really had only one choice when it came to interior lighting options for your home: Head to the hardware store and pick up some incandescent bulbs, choosing a wattage based on how bright you needed the light to be.

But in recent years, technology has brought us bulbs — namely, CFLs and LEDs — that put incandescent lighting to shame. Not only are these new options more energy efficient, they can also last years, or even decades, longer than the standard light bulb we all remember from our childhoods.

And while prices for LED light bulbs were astronomical when we first covered this topic just a few years ago — upwards of $100 for one bulb — you can now pick up a cheap, 60-watt-equivalent LED light bulb for less than...

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Thanks all for the input. Ronnatalie, I think you are right on this one. After I un- wired nutted the white nuetral, and find out there is voltage presents on the neutral, I loosly put them together push back to the box just to get it out of way before I figure out what/how to fix the problem. I went up stair and found out that my kitchen light and garage light no longer functioning (We original think the ceiling box is on the same breaker with living room circuit which is #2) . The kitchen and garage are each tighted to different breaker #1 and 8. "longer functioning" means the fluorescent lights are flicking, can't start up. This probably has to do with my "loosely" tight them together.

Just to be cauouse, I turned off circuit breaker #1, 8 and #2. Once all three are off, that particular neutral wire no longer has any voltage presented.

Since there was no light attached to the ceiling box, we can't be sure which switch controls which lights ( we did as much as...

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You recently bought a new dryer and the 3 prong power cord does not match the 4 prong power outlet in your wall. How do I change the cord?

Today’s modern homes will usually have a newer 4 prong power outlet on the wall for your dryer to plug into. This is now the standard in the United States and is safer than the older 3 prong. So, if you buy a slightly older dryer that still uses the 3 prong power cord, you may run into this predicament. What do you do? You have 2 options…

Option 1 – You can hire a professional electrician to install a brand new 4 prong power cord on your dryer. An electrician will usually charge around $80 dollars to install a new power cord on your dryer. Professional installation does not usually include the cost of a new 4 prong dryer cord. A 4 prong 30amp 250v dryer power cord will usually cost around $15 to $25 dollars if you buy it yourself. If you will be calling an electrician to install the cord, it may be cheaper for you to...

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New Wi-Fi thermostats are available that allow you to remotely control the temperature in your home. Unlike other battery powered programmable thermostats, these new thermostats can't run on batteries alone and even if they can they will drain the battery quickly. It's therefor necessary to connect a "C" wire to these thermostats to provide power. This post details how I provided power to my thermostat that didn't have a C wire running to it by using a plug-in 24 volt AC transformer. With a C wire powering your thermostat you won't need to worry about the batteries dying and you can set the light on your thermostat to be always on to act as a nightlight.

The thermostat I was replacing only controls my gas fired, hot water boiler which provides heat only. I didn't have to worry about cooling as my AC unit runs off a separate thermostat. There were three wires coming out of the wall where my old thermostat was mounted. My heating system only requires two wires, R and W, to...

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