Installing a Track Light and Wall Switch
How to Install a Track Light: I want to install track lighting on the ceiling, will I need to install a double switch?
Electrical Wiring for a Track Light
- The track light will be located above a sliding glass door that leads to our patio.
- There is an existing single light switch on the wall by the door that controls the patio light outside.
- I’m going to use wire molding to bring the electric from the track light along the surface of ceiling and down the wall.
- Will I need to install a double switch, 1 that controls the outside light, and 1 for the track light and how would I wire the track light?
- I haven’t looked yet, but won’t there need to be existing wires to the switch box?
- What do I do if the right wires are not there?
This electrical wiring question came from Denise, in McHenry, Illinois.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Denise.
How to Install a Track Light
Application: Installing a Ceiling Track Light Fixture and Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
- Checking for the Required Circuit Wires
- The wiring in the existing wall switch box will need to be examined to make sure there is the proper circuit wires available, which would include the black power wire, a white neutral wire and a ground wire.
- Keep in mind that a white wire may be used for switching the circuit power for the existing light fixture, however a white wire that is attached to a switch is not a Neutral wire.
- If the full circuit wiring is not in the existing switch box then another power source will be required. Depending on the area and location, a wall receptacle outlet may provide a power source.
- Installing the Wiring to the Track Light
- The circuit wiring typically extends from the switch box up to the a ceiling light fixture box where the track light will be located.
- When installing wire molding as a protective conduit for the electrical wiring you must plan the configuration of the wire mold and obtain the proper angle fittings.
- Insulated single conductor wires of the same gauge as the existing circuit are installed into the mounted wire mold to the track light attachment or adapter fitting where the connections are made.
- The Track Light Switch
- To make use of the existing switch box a stack switch or tandem switch could be installed providing two separate switches for the described lights.
- If a dimmer switch will be used then a tandem dimmer switch may be installed otherwise the single switch box would need to be extracted and replaced with a double switch box which would allow installing two full size light switches that would be compatible with the type of lamps that installed into the track light fixture.
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