Add a Wall Switch to a Ceiling Fixture

2-4 hours

Install old-work boxes that hang on drywall with built-in clamps

Add a Wall Switch to a Ceiling Fixture

Adding a wall switch to a ceiling fixture can be done in a matter of hours. The biggest challenge is planning the cable route and running it from the fixture to the new wall switch position. If the wall is heavily insulated, push conduit through the insulation and then feed wires or cable through the conduit. 

This project guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of installing the switch, running cable and wiring the switch. 

If your project requires cutting drywall, use a pencil to mark the location of the hole (check for studs with a stud finder) and score the paper surface with a utility knife. Cut along the inside of the knife cut with a drywall saw. The resulting hole will be free of ragged edges. You can also cut drywall with a spiral cutting tool or a saber saw.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT

1
Turn off power at the circuit breaker box and run new cable
Turn circuit breaker new cable - Wall Switch  Ceiling Fixture

• Turn off power at the circuit breaker panel box. Use a voltage tester to ensure power is off at the outlet.
• Plan a cable path that crosses as few studs or joists as possible. You may have to cut an access hole to run cable through framing with a fish tape.

2
Run cable to the switch box
Run cable switch box - Wall Switch Ceiling Fixture

Add nailing plates wherever you bore holes in the framing. Cut a hole for a remodel switch box and pull cable through. Strip the wires as needed.

3
Connect the ground wire
Connect ground wire - Wall Switch Ceiling Fixture

• Ground the fixture by connecting it to a grounding wire.
• This wire should lead to a neutral bar in the service panel. From the service panel, heavy-gauge copper grounding wire should run to one or a combination of the following: Cold water pipe, grounding rods driven at least 10 feet in the ground or a metal plate sink in a footing.

4
Wire the fixture
Wire the fixture - Wall Switch Ceiling Fixture

Remove the black wire from the fixture lead, splice it to the new white wire to the switch and mark it black. Splice the new black wire to the fixture’s black lead.

5
Connect the ground at the switch
Connect ground switch - Wall Switch Ceiling Fixture

Attach both wires to terminals and mark the white wire black. Restore power to the circuit and test. If necessary, repair the access hole in drywall.