Blank Switch

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  #1  
Old 07-10-04, 10:52 AM
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Blank Switch

In my kitchen, I have a receptacle and a switch, in the same box. The receptacle cannot hold appliances (it is loose) so I want to replace it. However the switch controls nothing, even though it has two wires connected to it. There's a feed to the existing receptacle in conduit a hot and a neutral wire. Theres another conduit pipe feed for two wires to the switch (one load and one hot). What I'm planning to do is cut back the load wire of the switch (since it controls nothing) and replace the switch with a receptacle. I also want to replace the existing receptacle with a new one. I will hook the hot feed from the old switch to the new outlet and splice the neutral off the existing outlet to the new outlet. Basically this is two hots feeds and one neutral feed powering two receptacles. Can this be done safely? Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-10-04, 01:15 PM
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the switch controls nothing
I suspect is is more correct to say that you haven't found what the switch controls yet. There are many possibilities, but perhaps it controls a receptacle under the sink. If at all possible, leave it alone so that you can figure this out on another day. Do you desperately need another place to plug things in at this location?

The receptacle cannot hold appliances (it is loose)
I recommend you buy a new receptacle and wire it exactly as the old one without changing anything else.

What I'm planning to do is cut back the load wire of the switch (since it controls nothing) and replace the switch with a receptacle.
This project frequently fails because this is a switch loop with no neutral. Before you tap into the other neutral in the box, it is critical to establish that the switch and receptacle are on the same circuit. Otherwise the neutral may overheat and burn your house down. Even so, you gain nothing by using the switch's hot wire since if it's on the same circuit, you may as well just use the same feed that the receptacle already has.

There are many hidden dangers here. Be careful.

Of course, don't forget to make sure all receptacles are GFCI protected.
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-04, 01:18 PM
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First things first. The switch controls something, you just don't know what it is yet. If you remove the switch and leave the wires unconnected, you will eventually find that sdomething doesn't work. Since this is a kitchen, look for an outlet under the sink that a garbage disposal might get plugged into.

Now to your question. Do not mix two hot wires with the same neutral. This would be a code violation. At best you would have a current imbalance in the wires. At worst you would have a hot from one circuit feeding a neutral from another circuit.

If you are determined to remove the switch and replace it with a receptacle outlet, use the wires that presently connect to the one receptacle outlet to power both receptacle outlets. My recommendation with the switch wires is to cap the ends with wire nuts, leaving them NOT connected. This way you will eventually find whatever it is that doesn't have power.
 
  #4  
Old 07-10-04, 01:18 PM
Rlfrazee
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It would be better to feed the old and the new receptacle from the power source of the old receptacle. You risk sharing a neutral from two different branch circuits by using two different hots from different cables. If you are certain this switch controls nothing (it must have been meant to control something) then caps its wires off as unused and feed both receptacles from the old receptacles power source. Dont use the switch loop of the switch.....RL

Looks like we were all posting at the same time
 
  #5  
Old 07-10-04, 02:12 PM
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Actually, the switch has been off since we moved in...and everything has been working fine. I tried turning it on to see what it controls, nothing has been powered. I think it has been put that way becuase of the major remodeling jobs they did some 20 years ago, altering the electrical circuits that were existing. I know in my area, code requires termination under a screw, not under a wire nut....I'll look into the source of the problem. Thanks for your help.
 
  #6  
Old 07-10-04, 04:25 PM
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If the hot wire to the switch is indeed hot (as you say it is), then the other end of that wire is somewhere. You need to find where that somewhere is. You mmay be right, and it may be for a load that had been removed. But that wire starts from (and the load wire terminates at the same place). You need to find that somewhere.
 
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