Before adding can lights to any room there are a couple of questions that need to be answered to arrive at a “go – no go” decision.
- Is there room for the can light – above, below, around. No- no go!
- Do we have power available on this circuit to power up the additional cans* Turn off power at branch circuit, main disconnect or neighborhood grid (if you’re a real scardey cat) No – more difficult but not impossible.
- Layout the cans keeping the joists / trusses in mind with WTPB tools/probe.
- Mark the cut outs with your WTPB tape measures
- Cut the drywall with a drywall saw and WTPB dust pan to feel for wires, pipes and heat ducts.
- Install wiring between can lights and switch.
- Wire up using good quality wirenuts and provided single wire fastening methods on can.
- Note: Always test the lights to insure they work properly before installing dimming devices (a short in the system will ruin the dimmers, which are expensive, use a cheap switch or touch the switch leg to the power pigtail to turn on the lights).
- Pat yourself on the back and know that you’ve saved at least $100 a can and even better you’ve proven you’re SelFREEliant!
* Go to your electrical panel and see what the breaker size the room you are lighting has. Codes have changed but older homes required lights and plug to be separate circuits (1/2 hot plugs on lighting circuits). Newer homes simply load calculations to determine the number and size of circuits. It will be either a 15 or 20 amp circuit. A 15 amp supplies approx 1,500 watts and a 20 amp circuit supplies approx 2,000 watts. Using your detective skills determine what is on the circuit to determine what the existing load is and whether there is any room for additional load. The electrician who wired your house probably circuited it based on 1 of 2 things… square footage: 500 square feet per circuit or 12 – 15 devices per circuit. Older homes usually have many fewer circuits and fewer devices, newer homes have more circuits but many more devices… common sense and math will tell you if you can tap an existing circuit or if you’ll have to originate a new circuit from the panel.