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Electrical wiring through insulated attic

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[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario

Electrical wiring through insulated attic

Hello guys,

I'm trying to add a single pot light to existing light fixture. I've never done this before. I've looked in the internet and figured out that I need to wire toward the rafters along the side of the joist and go through joists (drill in the middle). Please correct me if I'm wrong.

One question I wanted to add is, should I put wire through plastic barrier? or there special way of handling it. Check the photos please.

Sorry for dummy question and thanks for your support.
Josh
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19 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 21, 2003
5316 posts
2555 upvotes
Stoney Creek, ON
You are correct that you need to run along the sides/through drill holes as opposed to running on the top face where they can be stepped on.

I would push the cable through the vapour barrier and then use some tuck tape around the opening to keep it as sealed as possible.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
ChicoQuente wrote: You are correct that you need to run along the sides/through drill holes as opposed to running on the top face where they can be stepped on.

I would push the cable through the vapour barrier and then use some tuck tape around the opening to keep it as sealed as possible.
Thanks. I can not wire straight, right? I should go towards rafters and then wire through?
Deal Fanatic
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Jun 21, 2003
5316 posts
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Stoney Creek, ON
vahk33 wrote: Thanks. I can not wire straight, right? I should go towards rafters and then wire through?
I don’t understand what you mean.

If you mean laying the wire loose from light to light then no you can not do that. If you’re running along the side of the rafter you need S1 staples to support the cable. If you’re running perpendicular (through drill holes) those count as support instead of staples.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
ChicoQuente wrote: I don’t understand what you mean.

If you mean laying the wire loose from light to light then no you can not do that. If you’re running along the side of the rafter you need S1 staples to support the cable. If you’re running perpendicular (through drill holes) those count as support instead of staples.
Got it. Thanks
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
ChicoQuente wrote: You are correct that you need to run along the sides/through drill holes as opposed to running on the top face where they can be stepped on.

I would push the cable through the vapour barrier and then use some tuck tape around the opening to keep it as sealed as possible.
Hey, I was checking another thread and I wonder if I need ESA permit when I'm doing my electrical work like this single potlight installation?
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2016
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Mississauga
vahk33 wrote: Hey, I was checking another thread and I wonder if I need ESA permit when I'm doing my electrical work like this single potlight installation?
Technically Yes.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
IndyBeak wrote: Technically Yes.
I have an electrician that replaced the switch with a dimmer. No inspection has been done. What happens in this case? Or what happens if I don't get one? If I get an inspection I would wait for summer, to finish all electrical and then get an inspection for everything together.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
vahk33 wrote: I have an electrician that replaced the switch with a dimmer. No inspection has been done. What happens in this case? Or what happens if I don't get one? If I get an inspection I would wait for summer, to finish all electrical and then get an inspection for everything together.
Ok called them and got the answers. They were not confident about the dimmer and said probably not required if you replaced a switch with dimmer. for pot lights, I can get inspection scheduled for this one and ask them wait for summer to schedule the rest. Simply you pay one fee for all the potlights but inspection for remaining items will be scheduled during summer.
Member
Dec 21, 2020
354 posts
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Replacing a switch or outlet and replacing a light fixture are the few electrical things that don't require a ESA inspection and permit. Pretty much anything else does.
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
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vahk33 wrote: Ok called them and got the answers. They were not confident about the dimmer and said probably not required if you replaced a switch with dimmer. for pot lights, I can get inspection scheduled for this one and ask them wait for summer to schedule the rest. Simply you pay one fee for all the potlights but inspection for remaining items will be scheduled during summer.
The box is staying in the same location and you're not touching the wires or anything else, so no permit is required in this case.

There is usually one inspection for rough in and one inspection for final, however it may differ if its only potlights and depending on your inspector. Might just need pics for the final one. IIRC you can leave your permit open for a year without any issues.

Lastly, with potlights you always have to be careful for number of devices. You're adding to an existing circuit that probably has an outlet or something else that isn't a fixed load on it. If thats the case, you are limited to 12 fixtures/devices.

How many potlights are you planning to install, and how much is on that circuit already. For most of the rooms I added potlights too, I ended up running a dedicated circuit, or switching some things around accordingly.

Edit: The fees you pay are for one rough in and one final inspection. So if you're splitting up the work on one permit, you will have to pay extra for another inspection, however, still cheaper than a new permit.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: The box is staying in the same location and you're not touching the wires or anything else, so no permit is required in this case.

There is usually one inspection for rough in and one inspection for final, however it may differ if its only potlights and depending on your inspector. Might just need pics for the final one. IIRC you can leave your permit open for a year without any issues.

Lastly, with potlights you always have to be careful for number of devices. You're adding to an existing circuit that probably has an outlet or something else that isn't a fixed load on it. If thats the case, you are limited to 12 fixtures/devices.

How many potlights are you planning to install, and how much is on that circuit already. For most of the rooms I added potlights too, I ended up running a dedicated circuit, or switching some things around accordingly.

Edit: The fees you pay are for one rough in and one final inspection. So if you're splitting up the work on one permit, you will have to pay extra for another inspection, however, still cheaper than a new permit.
In my son's room I'm adding just 1 pot light to existing fixture. Later this year I'm going to add 8 potlights to existing light fixture in the living room. Will that be ok?
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Jun 26, 2019
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vahk33 wrote: In my son's room I'm adding just 1 pot light to existing fixture. Later this year I'm going to add 8 potlights to existing light fixture in the living room. Will that be ok?
If your existing circuit already has 12 lights and outlets, it would not be allowed, but hopefully it's not maxxed out.

I assume you would likely not be able to add 8 lights, but count up what's on that circuit, but odds of being 4 or less is probably pretty slim.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2008
1366 posts
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SubjectivelyObjective wrote: If your existing circuit already has 12 lights and outlets, it would not be allowed, but hopefully it's not maxxed out.

I assume you would likely not be able to add 8 lights, but count up what's on that circuit, but odds of being 4 or less is probably pretty slim.
12 max rule isn't required if the load of each lighting is known and there are ONLY lighting and no outlets. If all devices on the circuit are led lights then he can just do load calculation to ensure he's not reaching max.
rule 8-304
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: If your existing circuit already has 12 lights and outlets, it would not be allowed, but hopefully it's not maxxed out.

I assume you would likely not be able to add 8 lights, but count up what's on that circuit, but odds of being 4 or less is probably pretty slim.
Hmm, so to count those I need to switch circuit breaker and count what's disabled? I'm totally new to this. Thanks for explaining all these
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
I guess I have many things on the circuit. I think in this case I will need an electrician
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Jun 26, 2019
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ditachan wrote: 12 max rule isn't required if the load of each lighting is known and there are ONLY lighting and no outlets. If all devices on the circuit are led lights then he can just do load calculation to ensure he's not reaching max.
rule 8-304
This is true, but I think the odds are that 99% of circuits in homes have an outlet on them, which means you cant calculate a fixed load.
vahk33 wrote: I guess I have many things on the circuit. I think in this case I will need an electrician
As per the above, if you have an outlet or other non fixed load on the circuit, then the rule of 12 applies.

If the 8 pot lights is going to put you over the limit, then you'll have to run a new circuit from your panel. Complexity will vary based on where you room is from the panel and how easy it will be to fish the new wire.
Member
Dec 21, 2020
354 posts
289 upvotes
vahk33 wrote: Hmm, so to count those I need to switch circuit breaker and count what's disabled? I'm totally new to this. Thanks for explaining all these
One of the first things I did when I moved into my new house was to map out what circuit every light and outlet and electrical device was on. I kept it all organized so that if I need to make any changes or updates I can refer to my notes to see what effect the change would have or if it would be ok to do. Also when you get an electrician in it gives them a head start when they may have to do the same thing as well.
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1885 posts
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GTA
RCLapCar wrote: One of the first things I did when I moved into my new house was to map out what circuit every light and outlet and electrical device was on. I kept it all organized so that if I need to make any changes or updates I can refer to my notes to see what effect the change would have or if it would be ok to do. Also when you get an electrician in it gives them a head start when they may have to do the same thing as well.
Also, I was surprised at how well this works:

https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/to ... em=99W8977

Has saved me a lot of time.
[OP]
Member
Jun 21, 2018
204 posts
102 upvotes
Ottawa, Ontario
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: This is true, but I think the odds are that 99% of circuits in homes have an outlet on them, which means you cant calculate a fixed load.



As per the above, if you have an outlet or other non fixed load on the circuit, then the rule of 12 applies.

If the 8 pot lights is going to put you over the limit, then you'll have to run a new circuit from your panel. Complexity will vary based on where you room is from the panel and how easy it will be to fish the new wire.
The living room is right above the unfinished basement. So should be easy for someone with experience. I couldn't see where the cables go to the first floor, so need to look more. But let's say I don't find it. I don't know what's in between first floor and the basement. Can be there any insulation? How do I cut through? I enjoy learning and doing things by myself. But too many questions.

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