Adding hanging lanterns to your home may present a problem because the length of their power cords is limited, and they cannot reach standard outlet locations, which are closer to the floor. Running extension cords up the side of a wall ruins the aesthetic appeal of adding hanging lanterns to your decor.
Fortunately, it is relatively simple to run a line from an existing outlet to the ceiling location. You may choose to add an outlet from an existing floor outlet on the same floor or from an upper floor, depending on the intended location of the ceiling outlet and the nearest available existing outlet.
How can you tell which existing outlet to use to power a ceiling outlet?
You will need to check nearby outlets to find an outlet that is at the end of a circuit. Outlets that are at the end of a circuit have only one set of three wires attached, while outlets in the middle of a circuit line have two sets of three wires.
You can check the outlets by removing the face plates that cover them. Turn off the circuit breaker to an outlet that you wish to inspect before removing the face plate. If you're not sure which breaker is correct, plug a working appliance into the outlet and shut off the breaker that you suspect to be the correct choice.
If the appliance turns off, the outlet is safe to inspect. You can remove the face plate by removing the center screw with a flat head screwdriver. If you see wires connected only to the top portion of the outlet, you can use it to power your ceiling outlet. If both the top and bottom portions of the outlet have wires attached, repeat the process until you find a suitable outlet.
What you will need to add a new ceiling outlet
An outlet, face plate, and old work outlet box
A simple 15 amp outlet will be fine. The old work outlet box, for use in existing walls, will have screws with small flaps in opposite corners for use in securing the box inside the ceiling.
A three wire sheath of 14 gauge (for 15 amp line - check the breaker for the amp rating) or 12 gauge wire (for a 20 amp line) is needed. The length required will be determined by the distance from the existing outlet to the new ceiling outlet. Add several extra feet for running the wire around obstructions.
- Utility knife
- Wire stripper/cutter tool
Preparing to add the ceiling outlet
Trace around the opening of the outlet box at the intended location of your ceiling outlet, then cut out a hole in the ceiling with the utility knife. Break off a punch out hole in the bottom of the outlet box.
With the breaker turned off, remove the face plate from the existing outlet, and loosen the two screws that hold the outlet inside the outlet box in the wall. Pull the outlet from the box and let it hang from the wall. Knock out a punch out hole in the outlet box.
If the ceiling outlet will be above the existing outlet, feed the wire sheath through the ceiling hole until it reaches the location of the existing outlet. If the ceiling outlet is below the existing outlet (the existing outlet is on an upper floor), feed the sheath through the hole in the existing outlet box until it reaches the ceiling outlet location.
Neither of these options may be easy to accomplish unless the two outlets are close together in a straight line from each other. Running wire through existing walls takes patience and persistence.
Connecting the outlets
Assuming the wire sheath has found its destination, allow several inches of wire to protrude from each outlet location before cutting the wire sheath. Slip the new outlet box into the ceiling and tighten the securing screws, pulling the wire sheath through the punch out hole.
Strip one inch of insulation from each of the three wires in the sheath at both outlet locations. At the existing outlet, connect the black wire to the bottom gold terminal, the white wire to the bottom silver terminal, and the green or copper wire to the green terminal at the top of the outlet.
Connect the wires in the same manner to the top portion of the new ceiling outlet, then push the outlet into the outlet box and tighten the securing screws to hold the outlet in place.
Add the two face plates, turn on the breaker, and let the lantern lights shine as you beam with satisfaction from a job well done.
for more information, contact an electrician in your area.