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I would like to add lighting and an outlet to my attic. Very similar to this project here with the exception that I would like to have a hard wired light fixture rather than a plug in.

The attic is accessed by a hole in a closet from a 2nd floor closet, with no permanent stairs or ladder. I have to disassemble my closet and put a ladder in the space to get to it. The only thing in the attic is the air conditioning air handler and duct work.

Currently, there is one single light near the access hole, which is a simple pull chain light, mounted vertically against a king post with an electrical box behind it.

For the outlet, I believe switching out the light fixture for an outlet would be simple enough. I would then connect another run of wire to the outlet for the lights.

What would be the best way to get wiring to the other side of the attic? I would have to cross a lot of trusses, perpendicularly. Is it enough to run it high above and out of the way and staple across the edge or should I put the wiring in conduit? Or something else entirely?

If I need to split the wiring to add more than one light fixture, does this change the suggested wiring paths? (i.e., lights on both halves of a truss. )

  • Since your AC unit is up there you should have an outlet an light for that. Since the attic is only accessible by scuttle hole or hatch you should be able to use romex unless local code requires conduit or armored. – Ed Beal Aug 18 '17 at 13:11
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So you have a keyed light (the pull chain is your switch). That likely means the power to the light is always on.

What I would do is add a double gang box below the light box. Disconnect the wire going to your light fixture (shut the breaker off first), and then wire it to an outlet. Now, run a new wire from this new box into the existing light fixture. You can buy an unkeyed fixture or just keep the keyed and stop using the pull chain. Add a light switch to the double gang and attach the neutral to the outlet, while attaching a hot shunt to your switch. Then add the wire to your light. You can then daisy chain additional lights off this light (they're generally designed to be wired in series)

Unless your attic is considered a livable space, you don't need armor clad. Armor clad is to protect wires that are exposed to high traffic areas where the wires could be damaged.

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Thanks for the link in your question. That adds a lot of detail.

For the Romex vs. Armored cable question, in an attic, check with your local code. If it isn't specified, it can be a matter of preference. Armored cable will be safer, but will cost more and is a little harder to work with. If you use Romex, do keep all the wire on the trusses and not on plywood of the roof slope (to protect the wire in case the roof is replaced at some point in the future). Also keep the Romex up and out of the way as you suggested.

To add additional lights in the future, all you would need to do is add them to the "end of the run", connecting them to the first light. Then both lights will go on and off with the switch. If you want to add a 3rd or 4th light, just do the same thing.

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What would be the best way to get wiring to the other side of the attic?

What I have done, for lighting only, is to run new wire from the existing lamp to the new location following the style of existing wiring in the attic. That meant attaching the wire to side (not bottom/underside) of the ridge-board, rafters or top chord of truss.

Where there is no suitable woodwork running in the right direction I added some suitable spruce stripwood (small stuff but strong enough to hold the wire over the span).

I used wire clips at the same intervals as the existing wiring in the attic.

I did assess the existing load on the circuit and the length and diameter of the cable (existing plus new) to make sure I wouldn't have a problem with overloading the circuit, dropping too much voltage etc.

With modern LED lighting, load isn't much of an issue. If you are adding power outlets, you need to consult local code.

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