Sign In to join the community | Help

Is it possible to hang a chandelier from a ceiling with no electrical box?

Can I hang this chandelier from a ceiling with no electrical box? i.e. can I hang it from a hook and run a cord to a plug? Is this possible for this particular light fixture?
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2014-07-16T03:38:02+0000  by chandelier chandelier
Good morning chandelier!

Welcome to the community.

The only possible way you could install this chandelier (thank you for the link) without a junction box would be to use a hook DIRECTLY MOUNTED into the ceiling rafter (not just hollow sheetrock).

However, for stability and just sheer looks, it would be better to install a junction box and run chain/wire to be plugged in.

The diagram below shows this in more detail. This image I created came from a post a few years ago entitled how to convert a chandelier into a plug-in fixture. Read it for further information regarding how to make your chandelier into a plug in type.

How to Convert a Chandelier Into a Plug-In.JPG

Whether you use a hook or junction box to hang the chandelier, the key is to ensure it is installed directly into the ceiling frame member,aka rafter. Failure to do this will cause the light to fall down and damage the sheetrock as well.

Let us know if you have any further questions,
Posted 2014-07-16T11:57:56+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
Fixtures like this are designed to be hard wired.  Can you make it work is a different question than should you.  I can't imagine it being very attractive either.  With fixtures like this the ground wire is separate from the cord so you're going to have an extra wire deal with.  Not to mention an extension cord running up the wall and across the ceiling.

With all due respect to Joseph, you can NOT use a pancake box as he shows in the illustration because there's no way to get the cord out of the box without pinching it between the box and the canopy or the box and the ceiling.  This is line voltage and electrical mistakes cause fires, injuries, and even death.

If you can't get power to where you need it in the ceiling, then a surface mount raceway like Wiremold would be a much better solution.
Posted 2014-07-16T13:05:13+0000  by Adam444

I'm not sure if you read the link I posted on this message, but it states in it that:

"With whatever box you choose, you will need to create a slight opening on the side of the junction box to allow the wire safely out. This can be done by cutting a small hole to the side of the junction box outside where it meets the drywall."

I am very aware that not creating a hole would pinch and possibly fray/damage the wire. That is why I mentioned that caveat in there. I've told my customers this for many years ONLY after making sure they use a hit-lock connector or clamp connector in the knockout of the box so the wire won't fray.

3/8 in. Non-Metallic (NM) Twin-Screw Cable Clamp Connectors (5-Pack)3/8 in. NM Plastic Connector (5-Pack)

Sorry if you did not see it, but I did factor that in. Nor did I mention this was a permanent line voltage solution since lamp cord was going to be used in lieu of solid NM Romex.

You did bring up a good point with installing a surface mounted raceway from Wiremold, but using a swag system can work as effectively, it's just a matter of aesthetics.
Posted 2014-07-16T13:49:42+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Neither of those connectors would work with a pancake box because there is no knockout on the side.  Can you modify one by "notching" it?  Sure, but it's not going to meet code.  If you do notch it, how are you going to protect the wire from being damaged?  The connector serves two purposes - to secure the cable and protect it from damage.

Swagged or not, the light fixture is assumed to be permanent.  Lamp cord or Romex there's still 120v in the line and roughly 1500 times the amount of current it takes to stop the human heart.

If the OP can't get power into the ceiling, an approved surface mount raceway is really the best way to go.

Posted 2014-07-17T03:30:16+0000  by Adam444

I never intended to 'notch' or modify the junction box, regardless of the depth. Since the drywall would be removed where the lamp cord (not solid jacketed cable) would come out of it.

Versus just swagging it without a canopy, it looks and functions better than having nothing at all. I only recommend this for flexible lamp cord, and no other type of wire.

If done correctly so the connector has enough clearance on the rafter, then it is possible to still swag it this way. Again, I'm not disagreeing with you to use raceway or even a deeper box, but this is another option as well.
Posted 2014-07-18T11:21:08+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

So your plan is to come out of the bottom of the junction box and then feed the cord between the box and the drywall?  There's one little problem with that, lamp cord isn't rated to go through walls.  That's one of the reasons NM-B has a heavy jacket - to protect the conductors from damage.

The fittings you show aren't rated for lamp cord either.  They protect the cable as it passes through the box wall and secure it.  If you read the specs of any connector it will tell you what they're approved for. 

I guess private messaging when with this abomination they call and upgrade but I have an idea that might work assuming someone wanted to ignore code.  I'm just unwilling to share it in a public forum.

Posted 2014-07-19T00:33:17+0000  by Adam444

As the original illustration shows, the cord would only be out of the box for mere inches to go outside the drywall to be swagged.

Is this code? It depends on what national (which I know what all are based off of), municipal, or local codes are there.
Would it work safely, if done correctly ? Yes.
Would the person need to change this configuration before moving or letting the new tenant know about it, yes.

If anything, this setup just gives you a cleaner version of having a ceiling canopy covering the top where it meets the ceiling. Would using a surface mounted box and a metal raceway instead of swagging it work and look cleaner, yes.

Using the wire connectors alongside using extra electrical tape/insulation around the wires would work, but just having that setup would work if they wanted to use the junction box.

Even the swag kits we sell at our store have an illustration of them working on a ceiling fan, which as we know, MUST be installed with a rated junction box.

This was the entire reason I mentioned using a box, and having only a small amount of wiring coming from the top of the box and come down into the ceiling. Most customers I have seen just skip the box and straight swag it, but I believe the canopy does give it a bit more of a finished appearance.
Posted 2014-07-23T18:00:20+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question