Relocating or removing a recessed light

jon-hNovember 19, 2012

In my home, I have some recessed lights right in front of my kitchen wall cabinets, directly over the kitchen counter.

All of the wall cabinets are of the shallow variety (~12.5). The recessed lights are about 6 inches in front of the face of the cabinet.

I've replaced one base cabinet and wall cabinet with a single, tall, deep (~24") pantry cabinet for additional storage. Unfortunatley, the location of this cabinet is partially under one of the recessed cans. Most of the light from this one recessed can hits the top of this cabinet, the top of which sits about 3-4 inches below the ceiling.

I'd like to either relocate or remove this recessed light altogether. If I relocate, I'd like to move it around a foot. I imagine doing so would require cutting out a big section of drywall from my ceiling, moving the light, rewiring, and re-drywalling and painting. The problem here is running new wire from the switch to the can, since extending the wire via wire nuts is probably the wrong way of doing things. Of course, if there is a foot or so of slack wire, that would be great, but somehow I doubt there is.

The easier option I'm considering is unscrewing the light bulb, finding a cover plate for it, and leaving everything else as is. Is doing something like this okay from a code and safety standpoint?

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You could run a short cable from the old fixture to a new fixture and install a removable cover over the old one, thus leaving the connection accessible as required. Using a retrofit style fixture for the new one should preclude any need for ceiling repair.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Good luck working through the existing can light hole with only 3 or 4 inches of clearance. This should have been addressed before the cabinet was installed. Better yet, after the old cabinet was removed but before the new one was installed. It is just going to make what would have been a simple job much harder than it needs to be. Sorry if it seems I am being critical. This is just a typical scenario where nobody thinks about the electrical until it is too late. Worse yet is when the customer then has the nerve to complain about the price being "higher than it should be".

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 4:25PM
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True, but perhaps the cabinet can be temporarily uninstalled. I don't find that working inside old cans to be much fun even when there's no obstruction.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 5:08PM
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This is somewhat easy if the joist runs in the direction of where you want to move the light - if so, here is what you need to do:

1. replace the existing light can with a j box. j box "face" has to accessible from the living space post-move
2. run wire from the j box to your new location and install the can
3. cap over the j box with a blank. Paint to match the ceiling color.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:26PM
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