Add Dimmer Switch and New Ceiling Light Fixture

Details and Photos About Adding a Dimmer and New Ceiling Light Fixture

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Light fixture ceiling hook attached to the ceiling box next to patched hole
Light fixture ceiling hook attached to the ceiling box next to patched hole

Patching the ceiling hole is easy.  I put a piece of wood across the hole and screw drywall screws through the existing drywall to hold it in place.  Then I butter the edges of the hole and the edges of the drywall piece that came out using joint compound and then push it into place.  I use one or two drywall screws to hold it in place.  I smooth out the edges with a wide spackling knife.

The patch will need another coat of joint compound and sanding and painting after that.  I normally don’t come back to do the finish work.  On this particular job the owner planned to finish off the patched holes.

For patching holes in the wall when the drywall was cut at a forty five degree angle, I usually don’t need to put a piece of wood in first.  The joint compound holds it in place.  If the drywall was cut straight, then a piece of wood is needed inside of the wall to hold the patch in place.

Ceiling fixture hanging by a chain with the wires connected, but canopy not installed
Ceiling fixture hanging by a chain with the wires connected, but canopy not installed

Many chain hung ceiling light fixtures use the same type of mounting.  A bracket with an eye hook is attached to the ceiling electrical box.  A canopy cover and a locking ring are slid down over the chain prior to hanging.

An opened chain link connects onto the eye hook.  After the excess is cut off, the fixture wire is pushed through the center threaded nipple up into the ceiling electrical box.

I bend the end of the bare copper ground wire first and push that through.  Then I cut the end of the fixture wire to an arrowhead point to make it easier to push through.  I usually grab the wire with my fingers or long nose pliers and pull upward as the wires are pushed into the threaded nipple.

Extra slack on the wires for chandelier in case the homeowner decides to lower it or use it on a high ceiling in the future
Extra slack on the wires for chandelier in case the homeowner decides to lower it or use it on a high ceiling in the future.

Having the deep octagon electrical box in the ceiling lets me tuck some extra chandelier wire slack up there.  White electrical tape was put on the chandelier neutral conductor to make it easily identifiable.  Normally shallow ridges on the one side of the fixture wire indicate the neutral.

It is best to bring all wires through the same hole on the fixture mounting bracket.

Wires tucked up inside ceiling electrical box
Wires tucked up inside ceiling electrical box

Once all of the splices are made and the wire is tucked inside of the electrical box, the canopy can be pushed up and held in place by the locking ring.

INSTALLING TWO GANG SWITCH BOX

Two gang old work switch box ready to be attached to wall
Two gang old work switch box ready to be attached to wall

It is important to identify the function of each wire before taking anything apart.  You cannot always go by the color coding of the wires.  In this example I used colored electrical tape to identify the conductors so I would know how to put them back together again.

Two gang plastic old work switch box being inserted into the wall
Two gang plastic old work switch box being inserted into the wall

The black wire with the green tape is the switch leg for a light fixture in another room that was in use before this work commenced.  That will continue to operate that light.

The two gang plastic old work electrical box is mounted to the wall
The two gang plastic old work electrical box is mounted to the wall

The wings on the box above will be pulled from behind against the wall and create a tight wedge.  In addition a #8 x 1 1/4″ sheet metal screw was driven through the box into the adjacent wall stud for additional bracing.

Two dimmer switches wired and ready to be installed in the wall
Two dimmer switches wired and ready to be installed in the wall

The wiring consists of one power feed cable, one cable that goes out to feed another switch, one cable that goes to the existing kitchen light, and the new cable that I installed to feed the new light fixture.

Close shot before the dimmers are mounted to the wall. All of the white neutral wires are spliced together and tucked into the back of the box first
Close shot before the dimmers are mounted to the wall. All of the white neutral wires are spliced together and tucked into the back of the box first

All ground wires are twisted together with two pigtails added.  All white neutral wires are spliced together and pushed to the rear of the electrical box.  The two hot wires are spliced together with two pigtails added.  The two black wires that go to light fixtures will each get connected on a switch along with the hot pigtails.

Completed installation of an additional dimmer and new light fixture
Completed installation of an additional dimmer and new light fixture

Lutron Diva dimmers take a standard Decora style wall plate.

Hole in ceiling ready to be patched
Hole in ceiling ready to be patched

A small piece of wood was screwed in place so that the drywall would have something to attach to. This piece of drywall was cut out using “The Grabowski Method” where the Compass Saw Blade is held at a 45 degree angle.

Patched hole in ceiling
Patched hole in ceiling
The patched hole in the wall
The patched hole in the wall
Completed installation of a ceiling light fixture and new dimmer switch
Completed installation of a ceiling light fixture and new dimmer switch

My posts about switches and switch boxes might be helpful to you.