wiring for outdoor flood lights

meg711December 13, 2007

Yesterday our electrician came and we talked about adding motion detector floods to a couple places outside our house, near our roof line. I don't know if I understood him exactly but based on where we currently have outlets in the house, and the lack of attic access in certain places, he wants to put the flood fixture in a certain place--backing up to where the outlet is inside the house, if that makes sense.

This place turns out to be pretty exposed, right above the double garage door and almost centered below the window.

This fixture would have two bulbs, one facing toward the street and one toward the house.

I guess my husband and I were thinking of having two fixtures, one on that corner to the right of that window, and one where the two roof lines meet to the left of the window.

Once he drills to the outside, can't the electrician then put in two separate lines, one for each fixture on a corner? Will that look bad too?

The other thing he mentioned is that because this fixture will be close to an outside light, he didn't know if it would work at night at all--and wouldn't be able to tell until we installed it. Can that be right?

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why can't it go on the corner under the eave. i have to do the same thign on mine, and i can run it inside the eave of the house over to where i have attic access, then bring it across. but i do not know how yours is exactly.

what he means by the light affecting it is that the motion detector is disabled during daylight hours. if your front light is on and shining directly on it, it could fool teh detector into thinking it is daylight and not coming on. i doubt that that little light will do it, but he was just letting you know. you can always aim it away fromthe light if necessary.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 3:36PM
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It is possible that the light from a street light will be enough to make your new fixture think that it is not dark.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 3:50PM
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davidandkasie: There is no attic access there, but there is a closet right in that corner. And there's an outlet in the closet too. I think I'd prefer the lights on the corner under the eaves than right in the middle of the shingles. I may not be able to have one on the left side of the window because of what's going on in that room but maybe we can bring a line up from the garage.

And, yes, that's what he meant about our outdoor light tricking the sensor. I was just surprised that there's no way to test it out before hand.

joed: no concern about street lights as there are none! It's very dark on the street.

Thanks again for your ideas and responses. I think I may have to talk with another electrician.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Anything can be done that you want. It's just a matter of how much you're willing to pay for it. If they have to start opening up walls to run cable, it can get very expensive. It sounds like your electrician was offering you an inexpensive way to do this by mounting the light in the same stud cavity as current service.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 8:26AM
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well, if you want to test it before hand, get the fixture and wire it to an extention cord. temporarily affix it to the house where it will go, then see how it acts over night.

And there's an outlet in the closet too.

i thought that was a big time NO-NO? can a sparky answer this for me?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 10:16AM
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it does nto have to have attic access there if the soffit eventually gets to attic space. you fish it in the soffit along the house until you get to attic space or another easy place to enter the house. at my mom's house we simply removed the soffit vents and fished along there almost 3/4 of the way around the house to put in a light. labor intensive, well it can be. but then again depending on you exact layout, it could be a fairly easy thing to do as well. if you want the lights there, you need to ask him to quote you based on where you want them, not on where is the cheapest.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 10:28AM
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cobraguy, Yes he was probably giving me the easiest (and least expensive) option, but I think I'd prefer the lights to be less obvious. Guess it will depend on how much more it costs to move it to the eaves.

davidandkasie, Great idea about testing it overnight, although I'm hesitant to put holes through shingles unnecessarily. I hope you're wrong about the closet. It's a walk-in closet, if that matters. (Actually, we had them add outlets to both those walk-in closets.) I don't know if either inspector saw them. Hmmm.

There is no attic there, but the closet with electricity is there, so that seems to be the best option. I'll have to get a quote both ways.

I have the feeling that this guy likes the easiest way, for which I can't blame him. But I don't want to end up with something that looks bad just because he doesn't want to be bothered with a little extra work. (A little extra work that I'll gladly pay for to get it done correctly.)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 6:58PM
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I think David is talking about outlets in a closet being a no no. That has been posted here before. I would suspect it's more of an AHJ issue. I've seen closets that were as big as bedrooms and needed an outlet for the vacuum. I've also seen a closet that had a dressing area complete with chair, table, light, and clock on the table. There was even a flat screen TV built into the cabinetry.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:15AM
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Right, I understood that David was talking about outlets in a closet being a no-no, and I'm hoping he's wrong about that.

Not to be a complete moron, but what is AHJ?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:13PM
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Authority having jurisdiction.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 2:53AM
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There's no prohibition in the NEC for receptacles in closets, clothes type or otherwise. There are prohibitions against overcurrent devices located in closets that contain easily ignitible material, like a clothes closet. There are also restrictions on types and placement of light fixtures. Put in a whole wall of receptacles if you want. Any prohibition will be a local one.

AHJ is construction speak for the building inspector people and building department.

As to getting wiring into the locations indicated, depending on framing and insulation issues you could wind up with a full day on this - at whatever the hourly rate is.

It honestly looks to me (remember, I'm not closer than the picture)like the easiest way would be to remove shingles and roof sheeting in several places to allow fishing wire and access from above to drill down into the garage area for power, unless something wound up being closer. Then you could decide whether it's cheaper for the electrician or a roofer to put that part back together. This only because this is often the easiest way to gain access without obvious signs you've been there.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 7:37AM
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I'm having a hard time believing how complicated this might be because, in our old house, they just put up the motion detector floods 1-2-3, no questions, no problems. But maybe the attic access in our old house was different.

Thanks for the info. We're going to think on this one. I hate to touch the roof because we're in a very rainy place.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Often times newer homes are much worse for adding wiring latter. A lot are built to never have a single thing changed. Most older houses do not have ceilings all the way to the roof supports, so the attic permits adding lights much more easier.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 11:56PM
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Maybe putting the existing light, next to the garage door, on a motion detector will be easier and suit your security needs. That's what I did at my place; I don't like the look of floods and I'm guessing a regular light can provide almost as much security.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 11:24AM
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