Adding under counter low voltage lighting

“Tape light strips” can be added under kitchen cabinets with minimal effort.

Sample LED tape light strip kit by Commercial Electric from a big box store.
Finished tape light project on a kitchen coffee bar. Yes we have a “coffee problem.”

If you already have an outlet under counter somewhere you can “cut in” an additional outlet box to add a switch using something called an “old work” electrical box that you will find in any big box store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s or you can use the existing outlet with a switch / outlet combination.

Single gang Outlet/switch combo
An existing outlet in the counter serves as the feeder for the outlet that will go above the cabinets.
Measure carefully above your cabinet for the extra outlet box. Check for stud locations prior to locating your hole for an old work box above the cabinets.
New opening with cable pulled to it. Note: Pull cable from old box below to hole for new. This way you don’t have to try to align the romex to the tiny hole on the electrical box feeding power below.

One item of interest is that you can take a jumper off a dual gang outlet and make one outlet “switched” while the other has constant power. I opted for this solution as it also allowed me to put my home security alarm charger above the cabinet.

Outlet on top of cabinet to power low voltage power supply. One outlet is switched, the other is constant power.

Here is an excellent write up I found on the step by step to “cut in” additional outlet boxes.

Note: NEC codes call for 20 amp circuits on anything GFCI protected which is basically anything in a kitchen. 20 amp circuits require 12 gauge wire, not 14.

Once you have everything cut in and wired up, you can drop the thin low voltage DC cable between any channels in the cabinets. Usually all cabinets have some sort of channel on their side or where they meet the next cabinet.

Then tape (or hot glue) your LED strips under the cabinet and plug them in to the DC low voltage cable.

Hot glued LED “tape strips”
Keep your wires tight against the cabinet so they don’t show.

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