I just bought some small reading lights that I'd like to install over
my bed and I was hoping to run the wire (single wire for power) behind
the wall down to a power outlet at the baseboard. My concern is that
the power wire is very thin and I'm wondering if this is a potential
fire hazard; any ideas on that? My overall plan is to drill a small
hole just behind the light and let the wire dangle behind the wall, it
would come out near the baseboard where it will be connected to a surge
protector connected to a standard power outlet. Any issues with that
If you don't want hanging wires, put an old-work box the appropriate
distance off the floor, and either mount an wall reading lamp with the pivot
arms, or a recessed clock outlet that you can tuck the excess cord into, and
hang the lamps you bought from the hanger screw.
Wall mounted bed lamps were dirt-common in the 50s and 60s. Some motels
still have them.
"Wiremold" plastic raceway available at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. Sticks to
the wall, wires run inside the raceway. Comes in metal too; I used the
metal stuff to mount a ceiling light over the basement steps - attic access
was too difficult.
bed reading lights are severe fire hazards. all that nice fuffy bed
linens close by nice lint that burns easy close by nice hot lights, now
add the light getting bumped:(
Is this a light that attaches to the bed frame? like headboard?
in any case you should never run plastic covered wires like light cords
they can be damaged easy and start fires fast.
if its a low voltage lamp it MIGHT be ok, but I dont recommend it.
I suggest you return the light.
Of course this after helping a friend and his wife gut their home after
a bed lamp did $130,000 damage to their house
Thanks for the advise, I think you guys have convinced me to stay away
from this solution and go with the sleeve! Although, one question that
I have from the previous reply: you said to never run a plastic coded
cord through a wall, is that true in the case of power cords for TV's
and computers and things like component cables for DVD players etc..?
Those types of things are low or no voltage and if done properly the outer
casing of the wire will not give off toxic smoke if burned. Its called
Plenum rated or some such thing. They are fine.
Its the lamp cord with AC electric that should not be used.
See my other reply for another option.
Power cords should never be run through walls, floors, ceilings, drop
Signal wiring is not only low voltage, it is limited power and designed
to not produce enough heat to start a fire. This includes phone,
loudspeaker, cable, doorbell and various computer signal cables. These
can be run through walls, floors, etc. "Lamp cord" can be used for these
low voltage runs.
Plenum cables are designed for plenums - drop ceilings used as air
returns - to not give much smoke if in a fire. Plenum cable is
irrelevant in a house - there is plenty of other material to generate smoke.
Note the point being 'power cords'; in this case being the wiring to devices
that can be plugged in to a source of AC voltage (typically in North America
that's 115 volts from a wall outlet; in Europe and elsewhere, perhaps 230
Put a compace florescent bulb in it and there is no fire hazzard.
Rather then run the lamp cord to the basement, run romex to the
bedroom and just put a thin surface mounted box on the exterior of the
baseboard. Then permanently wire it in the basement to the nearest
light or outlet. You wont see the outlet under the bed. This way
it's all legal.
Damaged wires are more of a shock hazard than a fire hazard but it depends
on the location and kind of abuse.
To have a shock hazard all you need is some bare wire showing. To make that
into a fire hazard, you need that bare wire (actually the hot and ground or
hot and neutral) to come in contact with something moderately resistive so
the current can be turned into lots of heat or have it contact something
metal (low resistive) so that sparks land on combustable materials (before
the breaker trips)
Your plan sounds fine unless the wall is insulated or covered in paneling
such that many nails protrude into the wall cavity. It might be a bit more
asthetic than a hanging wire.
you can get surface mount conduit for that as well. Save you from putting a
hole in the wall but you still have a track on the surface to look at.
I doubt this is up to code to be covered so I'll either have to put a
cut in box in or have it exposed. I just wish there were better
options out there for exposed wires, it just looks so much better when
hiddent behind the wall. Any ideas on my other cables like TV power
cables and component cables for satelite receivers and such? I also
have a home entertainment system I'm considering and would like to put
those wires in wall as well... any issues with those "heavier duty"
Do not run any flexible cords into wall, ceiling, or floor cavities if you
want your electrical system to be safe and code compliant. Electrical
systems have enough hazards without creating unnecessary ones.
I don't understand quite what you are thinking of doing for your "other
cables like TV power cables and component cables...". Your TV has a
plug, right? The plug fits into an outlet on the wall, yes? Were you
thinking of cutting the plug off, running the power cord into the wall,
then splicing it into the home's electrical system? I can't imagine
this is what you are thinking -- it is very very wrong, dangerous, and
seems obviously stupid too (how would you move or unplug the TV for
repairs, cleaning, selling your house, etc?).
If you have mess of wires running from your entertainment center to
outlets and cable TV jacks elsewhere in the room, then you can remedy
it by just installing outlets and cable TV jacks nearer to your
entertainment center. Just install the outlets (or have them installed
by an electrician) directly behind the entertainment center, use some
twisties to bunch up the extra lengths of cords, plug them in, and
forget about them.
As a basic rule of thumb: no cable of any kind should ever pass through
a finished wall (ie. from inside the wall to inside the living space).
Instead, the cable inside the wall always ends at some kind of outlet
or jack mounted on the wall. An exception is half-ass cable TV coaxial
installations, and half-ass phone installations.
As for your nighttime reading lights, either mount a box in the wall
where you want the light to be (using normal romex inside the wall),
fix the light right to the box, and make the connection inside. Or, use
a simple plastic sleeve of some kind to make the dangling cord look
nicer. And in both cases, make sure the light is fixed securely to the
Dan - The best solution would be to mount the fixture permanently. This
would involve installing a box to mount the fixture on, a wall switch if
desired and running romex wire in the wall from an appropriate connecting
The light you bought may or may not support this type of install. If not,
and you do not just want to plug it in as is, then you may want to get a
You could also just install an outlet high up on the wall. The electrical
code does not specify the location of the outlets in a room if I remember
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