Turning a Light Switch


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Old 05-10-09, 06:00 PM
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Turning a Light Switch

I'm trying to "move" a switch to the inside of the closet. Previously it was on the outside, but I want it on the inside of the closet for aesthetics. I've cut the hole on the inside and pulled the box loose. When I try to turn it around, it is very tight due to the fact that the box was wired to face the other way. Am I safe in twisting this? I don't want to have the rewire the box as I"m at the edge of my know-how at this point anyway. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 06:13 PM
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If you have to use much force, you create an unacceptable risk of damaging the cable. The difficulty you are having is likely due to the fact that the cable(s) are stapled right outside the box. Is it a plastic box? Is the new hole exactly back-to-back with the old hole.

It's probably easier than you think to carefully record the existing connections, disconnect them, pull the cable(s) out of the box, remove the box from the wall, reinstall it from the other side, pulling the cables back into the box as you do, and then remaking the connections.

It would be best if you buy a book on home wiring and read it. This will give you a better understanding of what you are doing. It is extremely unlike that this will be the last electrical work you will ever do in your entire life, so it's a good skill to learn anyway. We're here to help.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 06:29 PM
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It is a plastic box and it is stapled just a little north of the box.

The new hole is pretty much exactly on the opposite side, give or take a few centimeters. I'm now looking at how easy/difficult it would be to "rewire" it which from what I can tell is really only pulling the box off the wires, turning it and putting it back again, right?
 
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Old 05-10-09, 06:34 PM
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How do you plan to resecure the box once you get it fully turned around?

You should replace the box with either a old work style with the flipout wings or use one of the Smartbox style that screws to the stud.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 06:44 PM
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Since you have a hole to patch in any event, make the hole larger on the room side. That will give you enough room to remove the staple, turn the box around without rewiring, and put the staple back in. You can even use the same box because you'll have enough room to put the nails back in. The problem will be, however, that the nails will be on the wrong side of the box (or, viewed another way, the box is upside down). This last issue may require you to rewire the switch anyway. Or, you could get around this by moving the box up (if the cable(s) come from above) or down (if the cable(s) come from below). Then you'll have two holes to patch, but that's no big deal since you have all the patch stuff out anyway. If there are two cables and one comes from below and one from above, then this solution won't work.

A larger drywall hole is no harder, and maybe easier, to repair than a small one.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 07:30 PM
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If you cut a larger access hole you could also just put new nails in installed in the correct direction to allow the box to be nailed to the stud. This may be somewhat ackward since the nails normally angle slightly to the front and would now be angled to the back.
 
 

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