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Old 05.08.2014, 15:03
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No light fixtures in new house

Hi All

First I would like to thank you all here. We have recently moved to Zurich and we found some great advice here in the forum.

Now I have a question I couldn't find an answer for. We have moved into our flat a couple of days ago and it only includes light fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms. We knew that most new flats do not come with light fixtures in other rooms but our flat doesn't even have cable openings in the ceiling except for the hallway. We didn't notice this when we inspected the flat as it was daylight and we didn't think about looking out for it.

Is it normal for rooms not to have any kind of cable to connect lights to them? The weird thing is that the rooms without any fixtures have light switches which obviously don't turn anything on or off. We don't want to hire an electrician to open up the whole ceiling as we don't want to get in trouble with the landlord.

Should we ask the landlord to provide an electrician for us? Because attaching a light to the cables in the hallway we could manage, but not to open and re-plaster the ceiling.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:21
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

No round plastic cover thingy on the ceiling.

If not, look at the outlets. One should have a little symbol like this:
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The socket with the symbol can be switch on/off by the light switch. Just connect any fancy shmancy lamp to it.
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:26
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

Sounds slightly odd, most rooms usually have a central light.... is it a new build? Might be a new fashion?

If there's a caretaker in your apartment block you could ask them if it's meant to be like that... or ask the landlord what function the lights switches are supposed to have.
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:27
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

our newish apartment didn't have any center lights just the plugs aSwissInTheUS posted a picture of
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:28
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

I would check to see whether and which outlets in those rooms become energized upon flipping said switches.

It is quite likely intended to only light the room from lamps, but this does not stop you from stringing longer light fixture cords along the ceiling, down the wall, and to a particular, switch-driven outlet.

Then again, perhaps the landlord spackled over the openings of perfectly useable wiring receptacles, just to be able to charge new tenants ~1000chf to have the receptacles uncovered installed. [I'm kidding, and not quite that cynical{yet}]

For the hallway opening, perhaps the previous tenant left their lampenkralle in place. If they did not, I would recommend picking one up.

In my newer apartment, finished last year:
yellow/green wires are ground,
blue are neutral,
any other color represent the load or phase. your wiring will probably be different from that, yay switzerland.

do behave and turn off the main breaker when monkeying with installation, and before even that, use the search function to review the few other excellent threads on hanging/installing lights in one's flat.

Much luck, and viel Geduld!
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:42
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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our newish apartment didn't have any center lights just the plugs aSwissInTheUS posted a picture of
The newness of the building is probably the answer then!
The OP needs to ask the concierge or landlord exactly what those switches activate.
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:47
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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The newness of the building is probably the answer then!
The OP needs to ask the concierge or landlord exactly what those switches activate.

no need, just look at the plug sockets

a single plug socket at the top of the wall is usually a light socket too
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Old 05.08.2014, 15:59
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

She doesn't say that there are plug holes/sockets halfway up the wall, she says switches.
If she means switches with a build-in plug hole, then yes.... it's pretty obvious, but that might not be the case.

I have a switch in the kitchen that doesn't seem to do anything, it was weeks before I worked out that it activated the passive extraction unit in the loft!
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Old 05.08.2014, 16:05
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

did you take a look at the picture
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Old 05.08.2014, 16:14
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

We just moved into our house and have the same problem!! Light switches but nothing in the ceiling for any lights. Have to go out and buy freestanding plug in lights....ho hum
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Old 05.08.2014, 16:34
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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did you take a look at the picture
It's not the OP's picture though, but one aSwissInTheUS posted as an example of what might possibly be present.
As rosina.hase hasn't answered to say that that is what's in her flat I'm sticking to my 'switches or switches with plug holes' question.
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Old 05.08.2014, 17:01
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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She doesn't say that there are plug holes/sockets halfway up the wall, she says switches.
If she means switches with a build-in plug hole, then yes.... it's pretty obvious, but that might not be the case.

I have a switch in the kitchen that doesn't seem to do anything, it was weeks before I worked out that it activated the passive extraction unit in the loft!
Our new house has light switches half way up the wall with no plug socket under them. They activate one of the sockets in the three way plug at ground level ( as posted by ASwiss in the US) and are designed for plugging in free standing lamps. The plug activated by the switch is the one with the symbol beside it.
Our electrician tried to tell us that ceiling lights were not necessary these days and everyone just uses lamps but we didn't take any notice and have a hanging lamp over the dining table which we use all the time and another in the lounge area ( which admittedly we rarely use).

In the old house we had one of these switches which controlled sockets in the living room too but we didn't realise what it was and plugged the TV into it. We thought the TV was broken initially but it was fine in another socket. We didn't use that socket for months as we thought it was broken and then we found out what the problem was.
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Old 05.08.2014, 18:09
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

Thank you, BM! That makes sense, and if you're not expecting a system like that could be confusing.

Know what you mean about central lights, we went to loads of trouble to get ones installed in both the living room and the dining room; but rarely use the living room light.
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Old 05.08.2014, 18:56
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

wow - I am starting to think we are the odd ones out who actually use our overhead lights - it would drive me nuts not to have them! Seems odd to me that they aren't there, learn something new everyday, I guess.
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Old 05.08.2014, 19:11
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

Stand lights, with up lighting.

Most rental apartments don't come with light fittings, as we know. The absence of anything electrical on the ceiling, suggests that the owners/agent doesn't want the tenants, as they come and go, electrocuting themselves or tripping out the building circuits.
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Old 05.08.2014, 19:19
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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wow - I am starting to think we are the odd ones out who actually use our overhead lights - it would drive me nuts not to have them! Seems odd to me that they aren't there, learn something new everyday, I guess.
We do too, in our very old house- as well as stand lamps. My bil, a uk architect- said that they do not use central ceiling lights anymore and that they are very old-fashioned, lol. Who cares- would go nuts without them either.
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Old 15.12.2020, 19:04
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

wow I know this is a very old post but this is exactly the same situation that happened to us recently.

We have moved into our flat a couple of days ago and it only includes ceiling lights in the kitchen, bathroom and corridor. For the living room and 2 bedrooms there isn't any cable opening in the ceiling.
We didn't notice this when we inspected the flat as it was daylight and we didn't think about looking out for it either..

We called the agency about that but told us if we want ceiling lights, then we should pay for an electrician.

Probably is our fault as we didn't realized about the fact that there weren't lights on the ceiling, but should't the owners/agency mention this anywhere?

If someone has some experience with that, how did you dealt with it?
Regards to everybody!!
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:21
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

It happened also to me
I had to deal with it with lamps
Not going to pay bazillions for a light

Of course I didn't mention it when I was looking for a Nachmieter and I think they didn't notice too
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:30
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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Probably is our fault as we didn't realized about the fact that there weren't lights on the ceiling, but should't the owners/agency mention this anywhere?
For you as a newcomer fresh from the boat it is unexpected, for everyone else in this country it is totally normal and absolutely usual. We would be astonished if there are still some ugly light fixings from the previous tenant installed.

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If someone has some experience with that, how did you dealt with it?
Regards to everybody!!
Drove to Lumimart, Pfister, Jumbo, Hornbach, Bauhaus, etc. bought a few nice lamps to our liking and installed them. Easy peacy and no electrician needed.

Surprising bills after installing ceiling lights
Ceiling Light wire colours
How to remove this lamp cap placeholder from the ceiling?
Install - single switch ceiling light
How to hang a ceiling light
Installing Lighting on Concrete Ceiling
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Old 16.12.2020, 12:24
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Re: No light fixtures in new house

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If someone has some experience with that, how did you dealt with it?
Uplighters plugged into the appropriate socket controlled by the lightswitch. Or fit those LED low voltage strips. Or check if there's any evidence of a junction in the ceiling. Sometimes, they're just plastered over. You can use a cable tracer sometimes to find them.

There's nothing stopping you making a long cable plugged into the light socket on the wall, running it up the wall (preferably a corner - it's more hidden) - and ceiling (covered in a nice uPVC cover), with then fits into your ceiling lamp.

Be careful with some uplighters - we've one that's a dimmer. If you cut the power, it defaults to off, meaning that we can't use the wall switch with it really.

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It happened also to me
I had to deal with it with lamps
Not going to pay bazillions for a light
You can get cheap sockets and fittings all over the place. I've visited Swiss homes where in some rooms, it's just a bare bulb/socket - and they've been there for years.
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