I have the opening(junction box)) with wires in the ceiling one white and orange but none have power. In another part of the ceiling there is another opening (junction box) with black and white wires but again no power. There is power in the wall switch. There is a speaker between the two junction boxes for fire alarm (we are in an apartment). I want to install a light in the ceiling but I have no power. I checked all GFCIs. Any ideas please?


I rent, I am in Canada and the two junction boxes and the speaker in between in one side of the ceiling.

  • Do you rent or own? What country are you in? Feb 28 at 1:38
  • 3
    Since you rent, you can’t diy electric. Maybe talk to your landlord. Feb 28 at 1:47
  • 2
    Those are NOT power lines, they are for speaker and the fire alarm, not for your light bulbs
    – Traveler
    Feb 28 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking when you rent an apartment you can't do your own electrical work. That's for two very important reasons:

  • Anything that goes wrong and it can become a shouting match between landlord and tenant
  • Anything that goes really wrong can not only burn down your apartment but also everyone else in the building

Even a straight replacement of a switch, receptacle or lighting fixture can be a problem. Installing a lighting fixture where there was none before is almost certainly forbidden in a rental situation, unless you are a licensed electrician.

So what about that switch, anyway? It is quite possible that it is controlling receptacles. That could be:

  • a single receptacle (i.e., either top or bottom) in a duplex receptacle
  • a duplex receptacle
  • multiple top or bottom receptacles around the room

The idea is that you plug a floor lamp into the switched receptacle and have switched lighting. It is confusing for many people, with the common result of tape over a light switch so that nobody turns the computer/TV/etc. off by accident. It is also a bit of a problem if a regular switch is replaced with a dimmer and then someone plugs a non-dimmable item (heater, vacuum cleaner, etc.) into a switched receptacle. But it exists nonetheless, because it saves builders a few $ per room.

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