Removing a light switch

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  #1  
Old 05-31-07, 04:21 AM
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Removing a light switch

Presently I have two light switches that control one outlet in my formal living room (the two switches are near the two entrances to the room). Since there are two switches that control the same outlet, and one is in the middle of the wall, I would like to remove this so that I can better utilize the wall space. Can I simply remove this switch and cap the wires and then put a black wall plate over the box?

Thanks,
 
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Old 05-31-07, 04:38 AM
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The general answer to your question is yes, but I have several comments.

The junction box must remain in place and accessible. That means that you cannot bury it behind drywall. You can hang a picture over it, or put furniture in front of it, but it must be accessible without removing any portion of the house itself.

Consider if you want to do this. Code requires there to be a light or a receptacle in most rooms of the house that are controlled by a switch. In some places of the house (bottom and top of some stairs, for example) there must be two switches. In other places they just use two switches so that the light (or a light plugged into the switched receptacle) can be turned on and off from either entrance to the room. The issue is safety. Having to walk into a room and find a light in the dark, or having to walk up or down stairs in the dark could cause an accident. Consider if you want to take this chance.

if you remove this switch, you will have to cap the wires correctly to have the remaining switch keep working as a switch. If you cap all three wires together, or all three wires separately, the receptacle will either be always hot or never hot. To have the switch work properly you must cap one traveler with the common wire,and the other traveler separately. Which traveler you pair with the common will determine whether the remaining switch is up for on or down for on.

If you do make any changes, I suggest that you keep the switch and make notes on how to hook it up. When you sell the house someone buying it might just want you to put the switch back, especially if they have a home inspector who points out that the room should really have another switch.
 
  #3  
Old 05-31-07, 05:16 AM
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Thanks so much for the reply. As to your questions, yes I was going to keep the box accessible. I was simply going to put a blank face plate over the opening (after properly capping the wires)--such that I could move a large bookcase in front and not have to worry about the light switch sticking out.

Second, the room is going to be controlled by the other light switch--right next to the door when you walk in. So, one doesn't have to search around for the light, it will remain on the wall next to the entrance.

Thanks for the suggestions regarding the hot and traveler wires. I'll make sure to take your advice and cap them properly.

Also, excellent advice about making a note on the switch for future reference. I'll make sure to do that and save it just for those issues you raised. Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 05-31-07, 05:31 AM
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The switch you remove will have two traveler wires connected to it and one common wire. Depending on the age of the house and/or the switch, there may also be a ground wire attached to it.

The ground wire would be a bare or green wire attached to the green screw at one end of the switch.

The two traveler wires are the ones connected to the screws of the same color. The common wire is attached to the screw of the odd color.

If you get the traveler and common wires mixed up, you can go by trial and error, since there are only three of them.
 
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