How to cap off an unused light switch with 3 black wires

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  #1  
Old 08-10-15, 01:11 PM
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How to cap off an unused light switch with 3 black wires

We have a weird light-switch in our house that has never seemed to work as long as we've owned it. The switch is in a strange location - about thigh-high up the wall near the fireplace. We want to place some bookcases near the fp so I'd like to cap it off and replace it with a blank faceplate.

Opening it up - the switch has 3 white wires capped together, one capped ground wire, and three black wires hooked up to the switch. How do I cap the three black wires so that any subsequent outlets in the chain will continue working? Can I twist all three together? Individually? Two-and-one?

Thanks for any help
 
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  #2  
Old 08-10-15, 01:18 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

That is likely a fan switch for the fireplace. I would just leave the switch and place the book cases in front of it. No harm, no fowl.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 01:22 PM
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The switch is in a strange location - about thigh-high up the wall near the fireplace.
So it is most likely for a fire place blower.
How do I cap the three black wires so that any subsequent outlets in the chain will continue working?
Cap the black (and white) to the blower then connect the other two blacks together. Use a multimeter or neon test light, but not a non contact tester, to determine which cable is power in. Disconnect the other two blacks and see what it kills. Then reconnect the blacks one at a time to see which wire is associated with what went dead.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 01:30 PM
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No harm, no fowl.
No harm, no birds.

(Hint: Look up the definition of foul.)
 
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Old 08-10-15, 01:33 PM
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Jen has not posted her location so it is possible that this IS a three-way switch and the three black wires are because the house has conduit. I personally would not assume it is a fan in conjunction with the fireplace without more information.

Jen, some pictures of the switch and the wiring may help.
 
  #6  
Old 08-10-15, 01:38 PM
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I have a fireplace blower? Wow, 17 years here and never knew that (as I said, the switch has never seemed to do anything. Now I need to investigate that before deciding whether to get rid of the switch.

Oh - I am in the greater Seattle area and the house was built back in 1992. It looks to have been a rush job, every-time we've gone to replace something we've found shortcuts (like particle board underlayment in the bathrooms). The wiring is maddeningly non-logical as well - I've had outlets where one in the middle of the wall seems to be on a different circuit from the two on either side.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 02:09 PM
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It is likely that there is a thermal switch on the fireplace as well in series with the wall switch. This makes it that the fan will not come on until the fireplace gets warm/hot. My house was built in the late 70's and it has a thermal switch.
 
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