Need help swapping light switch and phone line

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Old 03-06-09, 07:39 AM
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Need help swapping light switch and phone line

Hi, I have a unusual setup in my kitchen, where the light switch is difficult to reach as you enter the kitchen. The phone line and light switch should be swapped (see picture). The phone jack and switch are in the same stud bay.

Questions:
1. Do I have to run a new 14/2 cable from the kitchen light to the switch if I want to move the switch? I imagine that cable is stapled and there won't be enough slack.

2. Can I put the phone jack in the box on the right and splice the 14/2 cable in that same box to feed the switch in the left box? I'm not sure at all if it's okay to mix phone and electrical in the same box. If I can do this, I wouldn't have to run a new cable from light to switch.

3. Will I have to take out both boxes and install old work boxes to accomplish this? I would think so, but maybe there is an easier way.

4. Is the phone cable likely stapled to the stud? If so, similar question as #2--is it okay to splice this in the left box and run a short piece to the new jack in the right box?

Thanks much!

 
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Old 03-06-09, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jumpyg View Post
Hi, I have a unusual setup in my kitchen, where the light switch is difficult to reach as you enter the kitchen. The phone line and light switch should be swapped (see picture). The phone jack and switch are in the same stud bay.
Swapping them may be pretty tough. Moving the phone to a new spot between the two boxes and using the old phone box for the switch is a better option. Then just blank the old switch box

Originally Posted by jumpyg View Post
1. Do I have to run a new 14/2 cable from the kitchen light to the switch if I want to move the switch? I imagine that cable is stapled and there won't be enough slack.
You can just use the existing location as a j-box and place a blank on it, Then fish a 14/2, or 14/3 if it is a 3 way (it looks like you have a lighted switch so you may need a neutral), over to the phone box.

Originally Posted by jumpyg View Post
2. Can I put the phone jack in the box on the right and splice the 14/2 cable in that same box to feed the switch in the left box? I'm not sure at all if it's okay to mix phone and electrical in the same box. If I can do this, I wouldn't have to run a new cable from light to switch.
No, phone (low voltage) and power need to be separate.

Originally Posted by jumpyg View Post
3. Will I have to take out both boxes and install old work boxes to accomplish this? I would think so, but maybe there is an easier way.
You might be able fish it from one hole to the other using a wire and a little help. I would cut in your low voltage ring (not a box) between the two boxes first and use that hole to help fish across.


Originally Posted by jumpyg View Post
4. Is the phone cable likely stapled to the stud? If so, similar question as #2--is it okay to splice this in the left box and run a short piece to the new jack in the right box?
Phone can be spliced in a wall with no j-box. If you are all in the same stud space fish a phone cable from the new location to the old. Splice and then push it into the wall. Connect the new jack to the new wire.
 
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Old 03-06-09, 10:14 AM
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Thanks a lot for the info, Tolyn.

First, I'd really like to avoid having a blank face plate. As you can see, there's a GFCI to the far right, and I could actually use another receptacle. How about if the existing light switch box becomes a receptacle fed from that GFCI? Can I then also use that box to splice in the 14/2 to the new switch location? I know the new receptacle has to be on the countertop circuit, just not sure if I can have that other splice in the box.

Finally, you're correct, I'm using a lighted switch. I may not have to if it's in a better location. However, I don't understand what you meant when you said I should run 14/3 if I need a neutral for that. Can you explain. Thanks!
 

Last edited by jumpyg; 03-06-09 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 03-06-09, 12:40 PM
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If you replaced the single gang switch box with a double gang that has a divider plate you could put the switch and phone jack in the same box. The separator plate meets the NEC requirement for separation.They make phone jacks that resemble a simplex or duplex receptacle and have no integrated cover plate. The duplex phone jack would be easiest because plates are easy to find with a switch and duplex receptacle openings.

The positioning of the phone jack relative to the other outlets IMHO makes it just darn ugly and I would remove the box altogethers and patch. the wall
 
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Old 03-06-09, 08:47 PM
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I agree with Ray, the placement of the phone box compared with the others is poor. That is unless it was meant for a wall phone but even then it would be set at 5'

With some lighted switches you need a neutral in order for the light in the switch to work. Others, leak current through the light bulb. My suggestion to you is to run a cable from the existing box to the new box and just loop the switch. If only need 2 wires, then run a 14/2, tape the white black, connect the black/white to the hot and the black to the switch. If you need a neutral, then run a 14/3 and use the red and the black for the hot and switch leg and the white for the neutral.

I agree with about using a blank. extending off the GFCI is a good option but if the phone and the existing switch are in the same stud space, the GFCI is not going to be. So a little drywall repair may be in your future. You will also have to see what size the existing switch box is. It may not be big enough for the amount of wires and with the GFCI installed. But hey, speaking of drywall repair you can then add a bigger box.

The idea of a box with a divider is a good one but I have never seen a old work box with a divider.

No matter what, you should be able to do this with out having to go to the light. If you do open the wall, stay away from the corner and it will easier to repair. I hope you have some of that color paint.
 
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Old 03-08-09, 08:03 PM
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Thanks for the ideas, guys.

I think I will move the switch to the leftmost box. Then take out the existing switch box and widen the hole for a two-gang. Then install the two-gang w/separator that Ray mentioned. Left side will be phone, right side will be receptacle fed from GFCI, as well as the splice to the relocated switch.

Looks like Carlon's two-gang old work boxes can accept an orange divider plate.
 

Last edited by jumpyg; 03-08-09 at 09:26 PM.
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