Vanity light problem

aliris19April 27, 2012

Hi yall -- Thanks for helping me understand this problem. With big apologies in advance for my poor understanding and use of proper language here.

We have a large rectangular mirror centered on the wall above a single sink set into a vanity of sorts (old sideboard). Trouble is there are two -- what do I call them? -- recessed tins (recessed into the wall) with wires capped off in them in the wall above the mirror. Basically, this is a junction box perhaps? I mean, wires come together here and go out elsewhere, so I'm thinking "junction box"...?

Whatever the right word for these is (they're circular, not a "box"), they're clearly designed to be covered up by a bathroom light wallplate. However they're not centered above the mirror.

Please help me to understand my options.

1. Legally, I think we're not really supposed to plaster one of the "tins" over; I think we're supposed to put an (ugly) plate there if we don't hook it up to a light -- is this correct (I know, probably jurisdictional, but is it plausible at least)? Our inspector's gone; how stupid would it be to just plaster one of these (unused and likely unusable) holes over anyway? Is this a real safety concern or something one could get away with doing?

2. I see some lighting companies sell bathroom lights specifically with longer wallplates -- could one of these work using just the one "tin" that is offset left of center about 6"? I'd need a wallplate at least 18" or so I think to center above the mirror, and then the power source would be behind the wallplate off to the left -- is this doable? That is, hook-up-able (potentially, or are these things designed to hook up symmetrically around a power source)?

3. Can I mount a track light on a wall like this, perhaps across both "tins"/power supplies/power source (sorry, I haven't got the right language again)? Could this obviate the need to cover up one "tin"? That is, could a track light, presuming it is OK to mount on a wall, be installed using two power sources like this? Or ... maybe if all that's needed is a plate for the "tin", a track light could essentially just cover up the "tin" the way a plate would so it wouldn't matter whether the second power source were hooked in?

Thanks for taking a stab at these questions. I know my language is lame and my understanding worse. Any ideas anyone might have of how to deal with this I'd really appreciate.

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The box should be accessible and not hidde with plaster. However, that hasn't stopped people from hiding things. Ultimately, the deed will come to light some day.

Get an electrician in to figure out the circuitry. The boxes could be on the same circuit (in series) and meant to provide 2 mounting locations for 2 lights.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Hi David - thanks for the reply.

Is it unsafe to hide the box?

The boxes are on the same circuit; this I know. And an electrician did this anyway, fairly recently; I'm very positive of this. So yes, they are intended to provide 2 mounting locations for two lights -- but they're fairly severely off-center. I'm wondering what allowances I can use, how to make this up, etc. How to deal with the problem.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 3:32PM
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It is more of a code issue.

It might be possible to mount a wide track spanning both boxes, though it may not suit your decor.

If you intend to stay for quite a while, it might be worthwhile to get it done right.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 2:58PM
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