Removing existing box

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  #1  
Old 12-22-04, 12:42 PM
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Removing existing box

Hi,

I'm attempting to add a ceiling light box where none was located before. I have added the ceiling box and run wires down from the attic to an existing switch which currently controls half of an outlet in the room.

What I didn't consider was how to remove the existing switch box so I can access the new wire . It is a plastic box and there are no fasteners visible (it's next to a stud). Based on some pictures in the book I have, there are 2 nails above and below the box holding it to the stud. So I guess if I do not want to cut the dry wall I would have to cut the box up to remove it and then install a new one - the type with the drywall "clamps".

Is this about right?


Also, the wiring of the switch is not exactly as I expected - there are only 2 wires coming into the switch box. That means that the hot to the switch must be coming from the hot side of the receptacle then the switched wire is connected to the switched side of the receptacle. That means that my light will be powered in parallel with the receptacle (I'll re-wire the switched side of the receptacle to be always on). I hope this is legal (even assuming capacity is not exceeded) because I already added the ceiling box and it's on the second floor of a slab house.


Thanks
 

Last edited by AlexH; 12-22-04 at 12:53 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-04, 12:57 PM
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There are a number of ways to do this. But before we get into that, let's make sure you're even attempting to do the logical thing. Answer these questions:
  • How many wires are in the switch box total? Is it one black and one white? two black and two white? two black and two white and one red? something else?
  • How do you want the receptacle to work when you're done? Same as now? Unswitched? Fully switched? Don't care?
  • If I told you to fish the new cable to the receptacle box rather than the switch box, would it be just as easy?
  • Is the thing you're adding to the ceiling just a light? A ceiling fan? A ceiling fan with a light? Something else?
So answer these questions before doing anything. But let me give you a couple of ideas. One way is to fish the cable into the box. Drop a lightweight chain from the attic down the hole in the top plate just past the switch box. Stick a coathanger with a hook on it out through one of the top openings in the box, hook the chain and pull it into the box. Securely tape the cable to the chain up in the attic and pull it into the box with the other end of the chain.

Another way is to use a sawsall or hacksaw blade, slipped between the box and the stud, to cut the nails holding the box to the stud. Then replace it with an "old-work" box.
 
  #3  
Old 12-22-04, 12:58 PM
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You cannot get power for your light from this switch as there is no neutral in the switch box,.

The above statement assumes that you want the receptacle to remain controlled by the switch.

If you want the receptacle to NOT be controlled by the switch when you are finished then you can use the switch, but you will have to rewire at the receptacle.

As for removing the box, do not attempt to do so. If you still want to try to use this switch, then feed your wire into the box. This is tricky, but it can be done.
 
  #4  
Old 12-22-04, 01:05 PM
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Thaks guys, you are too fast. I added the wiring description - two wires, one white one black which means the power is coming from the receptacle.

Your'e correct racraft there is no neutral in the box. I'll have to get power elsewhere. There is an outlet/box/light in the attic. It looks like it was put there to allow easy servicing of the AC unit. Is it reasonable to tap into this?

Also, I will re-wire the outlet to have both sides always hot which means the existing wires to the switch won't be used.

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 12-22-04, 01:08 PM
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If you rewire the receptacle to be always hot then you can rewire the current wire to the switch so that it has an always hot and a neutral. Then the new wire you fish into the switch box can carry the neutral and the now switched hot to the new light. No need to touch the box in the attic.
 
  #6  
Old 12-22-04, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
If you rewire the receptacle to be always hot then you can rewire the current wire to the switch so that it has an always hot and a neutral. Then the new wire you fish into the switch box can carry the neutral and the now switched hot to the new light. No need to touch the box in the attic.

Why don't I think of these things! I'm actually a EE/PE also but I think in general many of us are the worst at residential wiring. No need to be worried, I don't work in the power industry
 
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