This type of project
requires adding something called a switch loop to the ceiling light. This entails running a piece of 12/2 or 14/2 Romex™
wire from the ceiling light to the location where you want to install a switch. You must make sure that you match the wire
gauge to the size of the wire in the ceiling light junction box. Installing the switch in a finished wall will require a little
experience with snaking wire. This will minimize damage to the finished wall surfaces that may need to be patched later. If
there is an unfinished attic above the ceiling, then this usually makes the job much easier! Otherwise, you might need the
assistance of a licensed electrician to complete this project.
you will be creating with the 2-conductor wire run to the proposed switch location is something called a switch loop. Simply
put, this is nothing more than a way to remotely break the ‘hot’ wire connection at the ceiling light location.
While I could spend two paragraphs explaining how it works, I find that a picture usually works much better. Here’s
a really good illustration of how a switch loop is wired:
Note that black tape is added to the ends of the white wire in the
switch loop. That is done to re-identify the wire so it is not mistaken as a neutral conductor in this application.
complete this project, you’ll need:
- the appropriate amount of wire (12 or 14 gauge, depending on what is installed
at the light);
- a single-pole switch and a switch cover;
- a one-gang old work box for the wall switch;
- about 3 or 4 wire connectors.
These items should be readily available at any hardware store
or home improvement center.
Lastly, keep in mind the following tips:
1. TURN OFF ALL POWER to the circuit you’ll be working on before starting.
You want to light up the ceiling light – not yourself!
2. Follow all applicable electrical wiring codes,
including the version of the Code that is in force where you live.
3. Beware… many municipalities require
that you obtain a building permit before adding any circuit extensions in your home. Check with your building dept. before
4. Many municipalities will allow homeowners to tackle small electrical jobs such as this, but only
in their own home. If you are working in a commercial building or a multi-family house (even if you own the house), then you’ll
most likely need to hire a licensed electrician to complete this task for you.
trying to wire a 3 way switch. The power comes in at the light and then goes to the switch and then another switch. Do you
have a diagram?
Wiring a three way switch can be
confusing as there are several different ways to do them. I've attached an illustration that I hope will help.