Monday, February 6, 2012

how to move a light switch

when flipping our master bedroom around, we realized we needed to move our closet light switch. previously, it was on the outside of the master closet. with the new furniture arrangement, it was now going to be behind a bookshelf--which is a bit impractical.

i don't have a lot of pictures here. apparently my handyman didn't appreciate my raw onion breath thanks to my spinach sald, so i was sent to brush my teeth + rinse my mouth out before i was allowed to help [read: take photos].

*note: this project involves electricity + we are NOT trained electricians.


[supplies: stud finder, wire caps, screwdrivers, pliers, and a little hand saw]
3: remove the plate cover + unscrew the switch plate from the existing switch. you may want to take a photo of how the wires are attached to the switch, just for reference when it comes time to re-attach in the new location.

 4: detach the wires from the switch plate, exposing all wires.

5: cut your new hole. use the new plastic gang box as a guide [you can actually re-use your existing gang box if it's in good shape] being sure not to cut the hole too big. for us, it was directly opposite the wall and a few inches over. it's important to make the new placement relatively close to the current placement, otherwise the wires may not be long enough to reach the new switch.

[you can see the prior switch box through the new hole]
6: un-ground the wires as necessary. we had copper wires clamped together with a little clamp. yours may be a little different.

7: with all of the original wires loose + a hole on the other end, you are ready to thread the wires out of the existing box and into the new hole.

8: once the wires are through the new hole [you may need to use a string to "snake" the wires into place so that you don't lose them through the wall], you can thread them into the new gang box. you may have to punch out a perforated hole in the gang box to allow the wires to come through--it should already be perforated for you.

9: re-attach the wires to the switch plate. refer to your photo from step #3 if need be. be sure to ground the switch with the ground wire, using a wire cap or copper clamp.

10: screw the switch to the box. attach with the switch plate cover.
you may want to test that it works before attaching the cover plate, so at this point, you may turn the breaker back on for the test. BE SURE TO TURN IT BACK OFF BEFORE YOU ATTACH THE COVER PLATE--just to be safe.

11: cover the pre-existing switch hole with a plain cover. no need to patch the wall.

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