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How to Install a Floodlight

Bob Jackson
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by Bob Jackson

This article explains how to install a floodlight by running new electrical wiring and mounting the light under the soffit.

The light could be controlled by a standard on/off switch, however I choose to wire it into my Insteon home automation system for remote control. The floodlight is the “slaved” unit in the wiring diagram from this related how to guide.

The 150watt floodlight is a CS212WH two-lamp kit made by Thomas & Betts that’s available for under $20 at many hardware stores. The zinc alloy body is durable and weatherproof.

Thomas & Betts Weatherproof Floodlight Kit - CS212WH
Thomas & Betts Weatherproof Floodlight Kit – CS212WH

Floodlight Soffit Mount and Wiring

The new floodlight will be mounted at the corner of the garage under the soffit by the cornice return. This corner placement allows the two lamps to cover both sides of the garage.

Cornice Return and Soffit Location for Floodlight
Cornice Return and Soffit Location for Floodlight

Plan the Electrical Wiring

Before drilling a hole in the soffit for your new floodlight, think about how you will run the new electrical wire and where the electrical connections will be made. Take a look at your existing household wiring and layout a plan on a paper. A simple drawing will go a long ways toward organizing your work and avoiding mistakes. To run the new electrical wire to the far end of the garage, I built a drywall access panel in the bedroom closet over the garage to gain access to the crawlspace behind the gable vent.

Soffit Electrical Wiring

  1. Measure and mark the soffit where the hole will be drilled for the NM 14/2 electrical wire. I centered the hole between the corner of the wall the fascia board.
  2. Drill a 3/4 inch hole in the plywood sheathing of the soffit with a wood spade drill bit.
  3. Push the yellow nylon fish tape up through the hole into the attic crawlspace. Do this with a helper because there’s some of trial and error to get the fish tape to pop out where you can grab hold of it inside the attic.
Hole Drilled in the Soffit and Nylon Fish Tape
Hole Drilled in the Soffit and Nylon Fish Tape

I’ve used both the round nylon and flat metal types of fish tape. Both work well. For long straight runs – especially across flat ceilings – stiff nylon rods are available that screw together in sections. Check out the Greenlee Fishing catalog for ideas.

For this job, I used the Greenlee MagnumPro 3/16in x 100ft Nylon Fish Tape with Case that I purchased at Home Depot.

Greenlee MagnumPro Nylon Fish Tape
Greenlee MagnumPro Nylon Fish Tape

Working in the attic crawlspace behind the bedroom closet (via my recently installed drywall access panel) the end of the fish tape was pulled out from behind the wall and is hanging free.

Fish Tape in the Attic Crawlspace
Fish Tape in the Attic Crawlspace

I’m doing several electrical jobs and bought a 250 roll of Romex 14/2 electrical cable.

Romex 14/2 Electrical Cable - 250 foot roll
Romex 14/2 Electrical Cable – 250 foot roll

In the attic crawlspace at the other end of the garage attic, about 20 feet of electrical wire is pulled off the roll and laid into the crawlspace to the reach the opposite corner of the garage. Take care not to kink the wire.

Unspooling NM 14/2 Wire from the Roll
Unspooling NM 14/2 Wire from the Roll

Fishing New Electrical Wire

The new electrical cable is overlapped with several inches of the fish tape and the two are duct taped together.

Nylon Fish Tape and NM 14/2 Electrical Wire
Nylon Fish Tape and NM 14/2 Electrical Wire

The fish tape and new wire for the floodlight are shown here duct taped together, ready for pulling from the attic to the outdoors.

Fish Tape and Electrical Wire Duct Taped Together
Fish Tape and Electrical Wire Duct Taped Together

This next task is easier if two people work together; one person in the attic feeding the wire and the other person is outside on the ladder pulling the fish tape. The person outside pulls the fish tape and hollers when a couple of feet are exposed.

New NM 14/2 Wire Pulled to the Outside
New NM 14/2 Wire Pulled to the Outside

Back in the attic, the new run of electrical cable is fastened to the wall with insulated NM wire staples as shown.

NM 14/2 Wire Fastened with Wire Staples
NM 14/2 Wire Fastened with Wire Staples

In Part 2, I show how to wire the floodlight.

Best regards,

Bob Jackson

atticcornice returncrawlspaceCS212WHduct tape
Bob Jackson
Bob Jackson
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