Proper way to install flood lights

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by protivakid, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    Hello,
    I want to add three flood lights to the front, back, & one side of my house. I want to do this the right way so I am seeking advice before doing it. I have a typical wooden framed split-level with vinyl soffit on the front / back and vinyl siding. I have done some research and so far my plan is to run a new circuit from the breaker using regular 14/2 ROMEX® from the basement to a switch in my middle level hall, and then up to the attic to the three outdoor lights.

    Reading one how-to this seemed as simple as stapling the ROMEX® along the 2x4's in the basement / attic, drilling a hole wide enough for romex to the outside of my house for each light, attaching a metal box to the outside, and finally running the ROMEX® into it from the back. This seems like it will work for the 1 flood light mounted on the side of my house but for the 2 on the front / back I understand I will need a metal bracket behind the soffit for securing the box as the vinyl soffit is not nearly strong enough to support it.

    Is there anything I am missing? Do I need to run the romex in a metal or plastic tube at any point such as to the outside metal box or in the attic? Or will the bare ROMEX® to the metal outside boxes be good enough? Do I need to install a GFCI switch at any point in the wire run? I looked into the NEC but there are so many pages it can be hard to tell what is right / wrong. Below are the two tutorials I found:

    http://www.handymanhowto.com/how-to-install-a-floodlight-part-1/
    http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/overview/0,,437727,00.html

    I reside in MA and though town-by-town laws vary at the state level it is legal for homeowners to run their own electrical on THEIR home. I know the answer will probably be "yes" or "call the town" but wanted to ask anyhow, would running flood lights be something you need a permit for? And to follow-up, do they generally just issue the permit for small jobs like this or need to come out and inspect every foot of the new wire?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2014
  2. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Please don't use the trademarked name for that cable here. We call it NM, the generic term.

    No, you cannot run that exposed to the weather. You can run it in short lengths of thin wall steel conduit or in plastic conduit. For this thin wall is perhaps best.

    Use a weather tight cast aluminum box. Bell is a primary manufacturer of them. Use a water tight compression fitting to fit the thin wall to the box and poke it into the attic. Inside you need a fitting very specific for this situation: it clamps onto the conduit and clamps the NM. This provides the strain relief that the code demands.

    Inside the box there is a bonding screw. Use it. Every metal component in your electrical system must be bonded back to the ground in your main panel. That is the purpose of the bare wire in the NM. By my experience, about 1/4 of all the home handymen have not the first clue on this and think that the wire is there to practice the fine art of wire cutting on!

    Inside the attic you need to stay away from the hatch, I don't remember how far away, blasted code, I want to say 24". And the local authority may want for you to run the cable on top of a wooden runner, but I usually just make a point of running it well away from the center of the attic, toward the eaves.

    Tack the stuff down every 4' or there abouts. Don't put any hard bends in it.

    That is most of it. You don't need a gfi that I know of, but it can't hurt either.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  3. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    Sorry always heard it called ROMEX® haha, sort of like Band-Aid but NM is fine by me.

    So running the metal or plastic tube into the box on the outside to protect the romex will be good? Sounds like i'd only need a few inches of tube and then just staple the wire the rest of the way.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2014
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,626
    Location:
    IL
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  5. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Seriously, Southwire does not want you to use their name for the cable without the TM symbol. See one of the first threads on this board.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2014
  6. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
  7. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    Like I said, fine by me. And in regards to the tube for the NM?
  8. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    What of it? If the box is mounted on the wall, possibly a threaded nipple that looks like a bit of rigid water or gas pipe. The correct stuff for electrical has no sharp bits of the weld inside to chafe the wire. This would screw directly into the back of the box.

    Inside a female coupling would allow you to screw in a NM clamp, to provide strain relief.

    What were you thinking?
  9. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    Just the length of the pipe. I would only need a few inches at most, right?
  10. Bobelectric

    Bobelectric Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Eighty Four,Pa. 15330
  11. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Oh NO! you said Romex® instead of NM. :eek::eek:o_O
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    If you want a weatherproof seal, it depends somewhat on whether you are going to flush mount your boxes or use an externally mounted one. If externally mounted, you should use the proper box, nipple, and run it in to a box on the inside. THen, inside that internal box, convert from NM to THWN (you might be able to use a different type of wire there, but those inside of NM are not rated for use in a conduit). Use the appropriate bushings to provide a proper smooth path for the wire to prevent the possibility of chaffing or cutting them.

    If you are going to mount the box internal to the wall, I think you can just run the NM cable to it, and if the cover is weather rated, you should be fine.
  13. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    So I got this done but have a question. I see on a lot of houses they use those vinyl siding covers that allow you to mount a lamp or something flush to the side of the house but do they also use a box? The ones Home Depot sells seem to look like you just push the wire through and screw the lamp to the box. Attached is a picture of what I mean but it seems like this would not be weather tight or meet code according to you guys.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
  14. protivakid

    protivakid New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    MA
    Out of curiosity I pulled an outdoor light fixture that was installed on my home when I got it that used one of these above brackets. Sure enough it was just a piece of NM coming in stripped, and attached with wire nuts to the light. They didn't even bother to attach the ground to the light bracket. No weather seal at all on the light.
Similar Threads: Proper install
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Proper install of power lead cable for suntouch mat Nov 3, 2009
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Is this subpanel wired properly? Mar 22, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Proper way to test circuit safety Oct 14, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Proper treatment of disconnected circuit Jan 2, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog 2 Properties Connecting to Submersible Well Pump Oct 30, 2010

Share This Page