Thursday, March 14, 2013

Weekend Project - Soffit Lighting

We recently bought a house and there was very limited lighting outside.  Every light was either very dim due to the style of the fixture or the fixture was located in a location that was not very functional. So this last weekend we decided to install some soffit lights at all the corners of the house.

The largest challenge is access to run the electrical wire, then getting everything ran.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • how many Amps are you installing and will it fall within the safe guidelines.

  • distance to the light that is the farthest away from the breaker.

  • City/County Code.

Tools you will need:

[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignnone" width="150"]3" CAN LIGHT 3" CAN LIGHT[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_325" align="alignnone" width="150"]3" Hole Drill 3" Hole Drill[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_328" align="alignnone" width="150"]Fishing Rods Fishing Rods[/caption]

Before you begin, determine the Amps that the lights you are getting.  The ones that I used are 120 Volts, 6 Watts that are 0.05 Amps for a total of 0.30 Amps on my 15 Amp circuit.  There are 2 other lights and the garage door opener on the same circuit for a new total of 10.35Amps on a 15Amp circuit

  • 9A - Garage Door Opener

  • 0.60 - Garage Lights

  • 0.05A - Attic Light

  • 0.30A - NEW Can lights

To find out the Amps on your lights use this conversion:

  • AMPS= WATTS/VOLTS  (6W/110V=0.05A)


Step 1 - Locate where you want the lights

[caption id="attachment_333" align="alignleft" width="150"]Soffit Soffit[/caption]

Place the recessed fixtures between windows, near the corners of your home or in areas around your home that require additional illumination. Locate a location along the soffit of the house to drill a hole, you may want to use a stud finder to locate the rafters in the attic.  The corner of the house is NOT a location to set the lights as the main corner rafter will be in the way.  Once you find a location use the 3" hole drill bit to drill a hole 2-3" away from the edge of the house.




Step 2 - Fish the wire and connect light

[caption id="attachment_334" align="alignleft" width="150"]Soffit Vent Soffit Vent[/caption]

Run the fishing rods either from the attic to the hole, or visa versa. This once you have access to both ends of the rod, attach the wire to rod and pull until you get the wire. Connect the can light to the wire with provided wire ties* and insert the can into the hole and plug-in the light and insert the light.  The other end of the wire in the attic will be used to connect to power later.

* If you are running more lights, run a wire from current light to the next light and attach same color wires to each other with wire ties.




Step 3 - connect lights to  power

[caption id="attachment_335" align="alignleft" width="150"]Multiple Light Fixtures Multiple Light Fixtures[/caption]

TURN OFF THE BREAKER.  I am removing old outside lights from use and will use the existing light switch.  Once the breaker is off, cut the wire that goes to the old light near the old light.  Feed electrical cable from your power source to the first recessed light. Attach a junction box to one of the floor rafters in the attic. Insert a flat-head screwdriver into the slots on the junction box to pry out two of the 1/2-inch round knockouts. Insert the threads of a 1/2-inch NM connector into the half-inch round opening. Secure the connector to the junction box by twisting a 1/2-inch lock nut onto the threads of the connector. clamp down the romex in the junction box. Place a cover on the junction box. Once you have this done, you should be good to turn the breaker back on. Flip the switch for the lights and look at the great work that you have done.



[caption id="attachment_338" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Soffit Lights Complete Soffit Lights Complete[/caption]

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