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Because trying to fish electrical wire through the walls and ceilings of my old house was too daunting, I have resorted to using a lamp cord to power a ceiling-mounted light from an existing outlet on the wall. How do I make the cord stick to the drywall?

I tried hot glue but it didn't hold and cable clips (white plastic loops with nails) fell right out of the drywall.

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  • I know I've seen a product that's designed specifically for this purpose; when I get home later I'll see if I can find some information.
    – Niall C.
    Jul 21 '10 at 20:31
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Do not use lamp cord to extend a circuit to a new outlet! The wire is neither big enough, insulated enough, or grounded. It's illegal everywhere, and I wouldn't consider it to be safe.

Use Wiremold with standard electrical wire. That's why the product exists.

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    +10 for this. If I could amplify this statement loudly enough, I would. Lamp cord is not for use between outlets, even if run inside conduit. It is not heavy enough. It is surely against any building/fire code. It might cause a fire. If it did cause a fire, you might conceivably have issues with your fire insurance. Use approved gauge wiring, properly grounded, something like 14 or 12 gauge Romex run inside conduit. You can use Wiremold for that. It looks quite reasonable, and will be safe.
    – user558
    Aug 23 '10 at 10:57
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    No worries, the lamp cord is used to connect a lamp to its plug. That is its intended purpose. Aug 23 '10 at 13:56
  • What happens if somebody plugs something other than the lamp into the receptacle? Potential fire. Do you have children? Think about one of them plugging a hair dryer into it. Lamp cord can't handle that kind of current. Run standard wiring through surface raceway to the outlet- PLEASE.
    – nstenz
    Aug 24 '10 at 20:39
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    the lamp cord has the lamp in one end and a plug in the other. The outlet was preexisting, and is wired with regular #14 inside the wall. I realize that my question was unclear—you may have thought that I was adding a new outlet and powering it from a ceiling box (horrors). I have edited the question to clarify. Dec 10 '10 at 19:49
  • @nstenz How is that different from plugging something else into an outlet that already has a lamp plugged into it in any other situation? Reread the question and the comments. OP does not appear to be running lamp cord to a new outlet, just from an outlet (via a plug) to a lamp.
    – Tashus
    Nov 27 '19 at 16:32
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Don't - they make special conduit just for that. You can pick it up at Home Depot/Lowes/etc.

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  • I have seen them, but they are big, bulky, and ugly. They are apparently indented mainly for running wire directly on concrete walls in basements. Jul 21 '10 at 20:13
  • @Vebjorn - aside from that, maybe duct tape? :) Jul 21 '10 at 20:19
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    @Vebjorn - Around here they are used a lot by landlords. For example, code requires every room to have a light controlled by a switch, but many older homes don't have lights in the living rooms (they expected you would have lamps). So landlords will do exactly what you are doing and use that conduit to run the cords along the walls and ceilings (since their houses actually have to be up to code). Jul 21 '10 at 20:38
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    @vebjorn: Follow-up to my comment on the question: I was thinking of raceway wiring. It's intended for this kind of application and is basically a less ugly form of conduit. Hopefully, it's not the thing you were thinking of! :)
    – Niall C.
    Jul 21 '10 at 23:32
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    @Naill - not sure if that's what he was thinking of or not, but thats the stuff I had in mind. Jul 21 '10 at 23:39
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There are many sizes of conduit (also known as trunking) available that should do the job. Some are even self-adhesive.

Alternatively it is possible to replace the nails on cable clips with screws and drill/plug those into drywall, but the result is very ugly.

Also, consider that the lamp cord need not take the most direct route. Most old houses have wires that go in very strange directions: I've seen some go up into the ceiling, along to a cupboard, down two floors, then back up a floor to the lightswitch!

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You could also use a "sticky" cord management solution, such as the options on these options from 3M or others, such as this one on Amazon from GE.

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    NEC 400.8 point 4 prohibits attaching flexible cords to building surfaces. Mar 12 '15 at 0:57

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