Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > The Academy > Tilted Knowledge and How-To


 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 12-01-2003, 06:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
Insane
 
Viking1064's Avatar
 
Location: New Jersey
Electrical? Change switch to Outlet Combo

I do not have an outlet in my bathroom. It would be great for my wife to blow dry her hair in the bathroom, not the bedroom. I took out the switch and wanted to put in a switch with an outlet. There were only two wires in the box. I know this will not work. What can I do so that I will have a working outlet with the switch? Thanks ahead of time.
Viking1064 is offline  
Old 12-03-2003, 06:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
Upright
 
Location: good ol' germany
My guess is that the switch only operates on the phase leads, which carry the electrical pontential. The second one, the ground lead, is probably running through the back of the box. In Europe, phase would be blue and ground brown.
You'd need to cut the ground lead and run a short wire out to one terminal of the new outlet and then connect the cut again, so you get like a T-connection. To the other terminal, you connect the phase lead, but keep in mind to tap into it before it reaches the switch, otherwise the switch would operate the light AND the outlet.

__________________
Die Welt ist dumm und ich erst recht
iHawk is offline  
Old 12-03-2003, 03:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
Junkie
 
james t kirk's Avatar
 
Location: Toronto
Are you saying to use the ground wire as a neutral??

In North America, the hot wire is black, the neutral is white, and the ground wire is a bare wire.

Even though using the ground as a neutral will work, I don't think that codes allow for this. Under certain circumstances, the ground could become energized and you will be in for a nasty surprise. Not only that but the conductors (hot and neutral) are typically 14 AWG (American Wire Gage), whereas the ground is substantially smaller at 18 AWG. Using the ground as a neutral could conceivably overload the neutral.

I would recommend the job be done properly and run a new wire altogether to a separate GFI recepticle in the washroom. (I.e. do not gang the boxes since there will be two separate circuits in one box.)

You could put the recepticle in the ideal location for the drier since the switch is most likely just inside the door.

OR,

Odds are the electrician who wired the house ran the power to the light fixture you could jump a wire off of there.

Remove the light fixture and determine which wire brings the power in. The electrician would have connected the white wire of the switch to the hot wire of the feed, then ran the black wire back from the switch to the lamp fixture.

The neutrals will all be ganged together and feed the other side of the light.

If you have access from the attic, it will be very easy to feed a new piece of Romex into the existing light fixture box, then drop it down inside the wall cavity where you want to locate your recepticle. Then connect the GFI recepticle.

Job finished and properly to boot.
james t kirk is offline  
Old 12-03-2003, 03:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
Détente
 
Bossnass's Avatar
 
Location: AWOL in Edmonton
I agree with the above posts, the two wires are to switch the light, and I would say that they shouldn't be used for anything else.

It also depends on the circuit itself. Years and years ago, my dad performed a similar operation, running a receptcle from the junction box above the light. It just so happened that the orginal electrician who wired up the place in the first place was short on breakers and had run an extensive lighting circuit throughout the top floor, where the bathroom was located. The result, after my dad ran an outlet off of it for the same reason you have, to run a blow dryer, was somewhat problematic. Sure, mom could dry her hair, but if the lights were on in their bedroom, the hallway, and my sister's room, the breaker snapped off. And then I was usually sent to the basement to flip it back on.

A few summers ago while doing some renovations, one of my friends from highschool who became an electrician and I rewired my parents house. A new main panel, replacing the scary old wire, and running about 8 new circuits. What I learned was that if you have an open attic or exposed joists (or a drop ceiling) in the basement, it really is pretty easy to run wires to where you need them. A little coiled wire snake was the only tool I had to buy (I already had a multimeter and required hand tools).

So what I'm rambling about here is that if at all possible, run a fresh circuit, or at least make sure that the existing light circuit will handle the load.
Bossnass is offline  
Old 12-03-2003, 03:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
Tone.
 
shakran's Avatar
 
before we get too excited about running a new circuit. . .

how old is your house? if it was built late enough to use romex (nm-b) wire, then you probably have a neutral wire somewhere close by. Some people (and don't get me wrong, they should NOT do this) split the hot and neutral wires before the switch box. Then they run the black wire in the box while routing the white wire around the box. This means they don't have to cut the white wire.

The way you're supposed to do it is to run the romex into the box, cut all the wires, install the switch, wirenut the white wires together behind the switch, and do the same to the ground wires. I'd check where the black wire comes into the box, look through the slot in the box and see if you see the white wire sitting there.
shakran is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 11:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
Upright
 
Location: good ol' germany
Quote:
Originally posted by james t kirk
Are you saying to use the ground wire as a neutral??

In North America, the hot wire is black, the neutral is white, and the ground wire is a bare wire.
You got something wrong here: We too got three wires here. One hot (blue), one neutral (which I called ground, brown), and a safety-lead (yellow/green). The third one is used to detect ground-faults. If it transports a current of over 10mA, a special breaker snaps off. Usually, the safety-lead is connected to the casing of appliances, so that if a hot part touches the case, it is grounded via this wire and the breaker goes off.
But that's not very important for a light bulb.

iHawk
__________________
Die Welt ist dumm und ich erst recht
iHawk is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 12:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
Insane
 
Viking1064's Avatar
 
Location: New Jersey
Guys, Thanks for the replies. It sounded like such a simple thing for me to do. You are making me think I should have a professional com ein and do it for me. I thought it would be as simple as relacing an outlet or switch.

1. My house (in NJ, USA) was built in 1954. The wiring in the bathroom is the original.

2. There are only 2 wires, a black and a white. NO grounding wire.
Viking1064 is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 12:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
Junkie
 
james t kirk's Avatar
 
Location: Toronto
Quote:
Originally posted by Viking1064
Guys, Thanks for the replies. It sounded like such a simple thing for me to do. You are making me think I should have a professional com ein and do it for me. I thought it would be as simple as relacing an outlet or switch.

1. My house (in NJ, USA) was built in 1954. The wiring in the bathroom is the original.

2. There are only 2 wires, a black and a white. NO grounding wire.

There's only two wires in the box where the switch is correct?

One black, one white, and they both are connected to the switch correct?

If correct on both counts, the electrician has fed the light, then used one wire to bring the hot from the light via the white wire, then return it from the other side of the switch via the back wire. It's done all the time.

If correct on both counts, then under the light fixture will be the feed.

Do you have access from the attic?

1954 probably had no ground wires, but at least you are not knob and tube.
james t kirk is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 04:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
Tone.
 
shakran's Avatar
 
1954 would probably make it armored cable, which uses the flexible metal conduit as the ground. Wouldn't be surprised if there were a pigtail coming off of your outlets and screwed into the back of the outlet box.

I'd probably have an electrician look at it for your first time simply because codes were looser in '54 and I've actually seen some rubber-sheathed (not knob&tube, but rubber-infused cloth weave) insulation that, just like knob&tube, can break down after 25 years and be dangerous. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have sparky check that. . .
shakran is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 05:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
Insane
 
Viking1064's Avatar
 
Location: New Jersey
James t. You are correct on all counts. I will take shakran's advice and get a pro. Thanks for your help everyone!!!!
Viking1064 is offline  
Old 12-04-2003, 08:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
It's a girly girl!
 
basmoq's Avatar
 
Location: OH, USA
being that I just re-ran all the electrical wiring in my house (35years old, but definitly not to code even when constructed) I can say that wiring is not as simple as many would lead you to believe. I agree that you should check with an electrician in your situation being that you seem to have little experience in this subject/field. Best of luck to you, and whatever you do, don't let the sparky out of your sight while he's in your house. I've had more than one try and charge me for things they didn't do (I love X10's wireless cameras) www.X10.com
__________________
"There's someone out there for everyone - even if you need
a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them."
basmoq is offline  
 

Tags
change, combo, electrical, outlet, switch

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:50 PM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360