Lengthening a wire?


Old 08-11-05, 02:57 PM
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Lengthening a wire?

Replacing a very old wall switch for an overhead light. Removed the plate and screws holdiing the switch, but there's almost no slack in the wires. Once I unscrew them from the old switch, is there some safe way to splice on a bit more wire to give myself some slack to work with? Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-11-05, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central Florida
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The first thing I would try is loosening up any clamp holding the cable, if it is cable, and gently testing for some slack on the other side of the box. You should be able to see some screws in the back of the box.

If that's not to be found, and if the wire is copper, you can safely splice using 6" lengths of same gauge and color (white/black) wire and appropriate wire nuts. The old wire will need to be straight where it goes into the wire nut - I would cut off the hooks and strip the wire so there is 1/2 inch bare, trying to straighten them will likely fracture the wire. And be sure to to tighten the wire nuts properly!! Old boxes are small, so be sure to fold the wire back into the box so that the wire nuts are on the sides and in the back and the wire continues to fold when you put the new switch in.... You don't want any sharp bends.

If the wiring is aluminum, there are special products I am not familiar with. But someone here will chime in....
Old 08-12-05, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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For this sort of situation, with a very short old wire in a box, I really like to use 'set screw wire nuts' to splice on an extension.

These are little brass sleeves with a set screw on the side; you insert the wires and tighten the screw. I like this because you don't have to twist on the old wire, risking snapping it off, and because you don't have to twist the wires together, so that when the next repair comes along you won't have to cut the wire still shorter.

See, for example, http://www.goodmart.com/products/85311.htm

McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) sells these in packages of 10

Old 08-12-05, 05:53 PM
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Terrific! Thanks, guys

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