Life hacks make life a bit easier, and as long as they don’t compromise on safety, there is no reason why you should make good use of them. If you are thinking of adding an extra outdoor light, then you really don’t have to start from scratch.
Using an existing switch that is serving another outdoor light, you can wire the additional outdoor light quite easily. In this guide, we are going to show you how to wire an outside light to an existing switch.
What You Will Need Wire an Outside Light to an Existing Switch
Well, to start with, you need to have some basic working knowledge of how a switch works and is wired. You also need to know all the basic safety tips with regard to handling naked electric wires. Other than that, you will need a couple of tools that you will use to wire the best outdoor LED Flood light. You may also use any other type of light -we just prefer LED outdoor lights because they are energy efficient.
- Portable Drill
- Non-contact Electrical Tester and voltage detector
- Screwdriver and gyroscopic kit
- Wire-stripping and crimping tool
- Plastic Anchor Bolts
- Drywall saw
- At least 3 hours
- Electrical cable
- Outdoor light
To get started, you need to turn off the power at the main power distribution panel. You will then unscrew the switch that you want to source the power from and pull it back. Next, turn the power back ON. Now, using the noncontact voltage tester, locate the hot wire.
Be sure to test the rest of the wires to ensure only one of them is live. Note its color, and then switch the power OFF again. You obviously should be working on this project is there are kids or a petty around that may touch the naked wires.
Go back to the switch now that the power is turned OFF, and test them both wires with your tester to confirm that indeed none of the wires is live. Moreover, make sure that no one will accidentally turn power back ON while you are working. You can then proceed to unscrew the switch from its housing to have a clear view of the wires.
Not every switch will have a Hot, Neutral, and ground wire. You can try to identify the neutral by locating two white wires that are joined using a metal connector. However, if you notice that you only have a single white wire connected directly to the switch, then you don’t have a neutral.
Moreover, if you don’t understand how the switch is connected, then restore everything to the original state, and screw back the switch. Call a licensed person to come and install the outdoor light for you.
The Switchbox Circuit breaker Must Be Able to Support Two Lights
You will need to check the rating of the Circuit breaker and make sure that it will allow enough current to power the additional light you wish to connect. The sum of the ampere rating of the two outdoor lights should be less than half the rating on the breaker.
How to Wire the Light Switch
This is the most important step in wiring your outdoor light using an existing switch. We recommend that you use a double switch so that you can switch the two lights independently. How you can still use one switch, but both lights will turn ON or OFF at the same time.
- Make sure you have additional the wire connectors for terminating the new wires.
- Check that the hot wire is the one that is switched, and not the neutral wire.
- Make sure that the incoming hot wire is terminated to a wire connector, before it is connected to the switch.
- Next, check to see that from the switch; the hot wire goes out to the existing light.
- Now, connect a second wire from the other end of the switch where the switched hot wire exits to connect to the existing light.
- The new hot wire, which is now switched as well, will connect to the new outdoor light.
- Next, connect a neutral wire from the wire connector where the neutral wire is terminated. There should be another wire exiting from the wire connector and connecting directly to the existing light. This existing neutral wire does not connect to the switch.
- Your newly connected neutral wire will connect directly to the new outdoor light.
- If there is an earth wire terminated at a wire connector, then it should be connected to the earth terminal of the switch and the existing light. Do the same and connect it to the earth terminal of the new outdoor light. Skip this step if there isn’t an earth wire.
- You have now fully wired the cable that will power the outdoor light. Make sure you maintain and observe the existing the color codes.
- Use a tape to cover the naked ends of each wire and only remove them when ready to connect them to the outdoor light.
- Connect the outdoor light to the newly run wire, and mount the light.
- Make sure each wire in the switch and wire connectors is tightly screwed, then close the switch box.
- Turn ON the power and check to make sure both lights are ON.
- You may now turn OFF the lights, and wait for the evening so you can enjoy the additional ambience.
How to Mount the Outdoor Light’s Housing or Bracket
- This is an easy step if you are good with handling a drill and you have a marker.
- Use the marker to mark-out where you will drill holes for mounting the external light bracket or housing.
- Drill the required number of holes.
- Mount the outdoor light using its bracket or housing using the plastic anchor bolts to make sure they fit tightly.
That is How You Wire an Outside Light to an Existing Switch
We hope that you found this guide to be informative, and easy to follow. If you do not feel confident doing electrical stuff, it is always best to call a certified professional to do the job for you.