replacing light switches


Old 12-05-00, 01:13 PM
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In my family room, there are 2 switches on the wall. One is for the recessed lights and the other is for the ceiling fan (no light on it). The 2 swithes are located one below the other instead of side by side like on most swithes I've seen. There is not enough distance between the 2 for the switch covers, so I have to cut one to shorten it so it will fit. Can these switches be replace with a side-by-side switch (double switch)?. My thought is maybe I can put it in sideways, instead of across, so that they are still one above the other, but they will turn on and off by moving the switch left or right instead of up and down (Hope that makes sense). Is that possible? I want to change all of my covers to gold-plate, but I can't do that in that room as it is now.
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Old 12-05-00, 06:16 PM
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Here's my assumptions from your post:
(1) These two switches are mounted in separate boxes.
(2) The switches turn on and off by moving the levers up and down.

This is a very unusual setup. I would have to assume that someone other than an electrician wired these switches.

This should be fairly easy. By removing a small section of drywall (is it drywall??), you should be able to raise the top box up enough to allow room for switch covers. Alternatively, you could replace both switch boxes with a double gang box. I prefer this latter solution -- however there may be some obstruction in the wall that prevents this (and explain why it is the way it is today).

Then repair the drywall, retexture and repaint. This doesn't sound very difficult.
Old 12-06-00, 09:15 AM
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Smile electrical switch

Thank you very much John Nelson. That's exactly what I needed to know. I've only been in this house a year and I don't know why they installed the switches like that, but I will take a look behind the drywall and see.

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