how to add a new wire to a new-work metal handy box?


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Old 10-09-17, 08:35 AM
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how to add a new wire to a new-work metal handy box?

I am trying to replace the existing wire with some 14/3 in order to make the current switch a three-way switch (and obviously install another three-way switch elsewhere).

How am I going to pull down the new wire and get it into the box? Can I attach it to the existing wire and pull the existing wire out?

If that's not an option, how in the world do you break out a metal tab on one of these boxes when they're in the wall?

Could I just cut out the new-work box and put in an old work box without damaging the surrounding drywall (it's actually plaster or cement board)?

Please help! Thank you.
 
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Old 10-09-17, 10:52 AM
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The wiring currently at that switch box runs the light in a single location. To convert to a three way switch circuit..... you need to ADD a three wire cable...... not replace one.... for the second switch.

Existing wiring will be stapled in the wall. Are you coming up from the basement ? If yes... you need to drill the plate to fish the wire up the wall. You will need two people for the job. The KO's can usually be knocked out of the box from the inside.

Can you replace the box.... maybe. If you're dealing with all NM cable you can switch to a plastic old work box. Pictures of that box would be helpful. how-to-insert-pictures
 
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Old 10-09-17, 11:35 AM
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Okay, thanks. But if the existing wiring is 14/2, wouldn't I need to replace it with 14/3 and then run 14/3 from the light to the new switch as well?

I see red, black, and white wires coming out of the existing wiring, but no ground (maybe I'm mistaken). So if that's already sufficient for the existing switch to become a three-way switch, that would be awesome (I realize the existing single-pole switch will need to be replaced with a three-way switch.)

I've looked at wiring diagrams for a three way switch, but I realize the next step is to determine what kind of wiring already is in place for the existing switch.
 

Last edited by areaman; 10-09-17 at 11:36 AM. Reason: wordiness
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Old 10-09-17, 12:51 PM
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It is only slightly important to know how your switch is wired. Everything is there in that box. Either power comes there and the switch sends it back out or there is power at the light and then a switch loop is brought down.

To add a three way switch requires a new and totally separate three wire cable. You need two traveler wires and a common.
 
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Old 10-09-17, 05:52 PM
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Everything will depend on the wiring method used in your home. You say you do not see a ground, but you have a steel box which would likely mean the wiring is a metallic wiring method. This could be EMT, FMC, or BX/AC cable. IF it is FMC, adding a wire might be easier then you think.
 
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Old 10-09-17, 06:11 PM
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There is no basement in the house at all. The laundry room is an old addition and is on a slab foundation. That's where this switch is located.

I plan to get into the attic above the laundry room and run the wire down that way.

My problem is, when it gets to the box, how am I going to be able to knock out one of those metal tabs? (I'm assuming all metal boxes have more than one tab).

I can add some pics tomorrow when my phone isn't dead.

Thank you all for your help!
 
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Old 10-09-17, 08:01 PM
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Here are some photos to show what I'm dealing with.

The only wires I see coming in from the top of the box are one set: red, black, and white.

Again, my goal is to simply to have the utility room be controlled by two light switches. The switch on the right is the current light switch. I believe I need to replace that with a three-way switch, and add a three-way switch in the kitchen.

The question is:

1) Do I already have wiring in the box that's capable of wiring a three-way switch? (14/3 or similar)

2) If not, how am I going to get the 14/3 wire in there? How do I pop out one of the tabs when the box is already in the wall?

3) Is the sub panel being in the way going to make this job significantly harder?

I realize some of these may be dumb questions, but I will re-check the wiring diagram before doing the work.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Last edited by areaman; 10-09-17 at 08:04 PM. Reason: explain wire coloring
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Old 10-09-17, 08:44 PM
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You need to pull the switches out so we can see the wires and we need to the see the wires at the light.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 03:24 AM
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Okay, will do later. Thank you.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 11:17 AM
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It will be almost impossible to get by the sub panel.

You have a single three wire cable into the box.
One wire is hot in.
One wire is switched hot out to one light.
One wire is switched hot out to one light.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 04:26 PM
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Has anyone ever used a wireless switch like this:
https://www.houzz.com/product/627739...hting-controls

Changing the battery could be a hassle, but the battery should last a long time. Seems like a simple install too.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 05:46 PM
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Here are more pics:

Again, I want to replace the switch on the right with a three-way and add another three way across the room at a current switch box (expand it to a two-gang).

Also, a sub-panel is in the way.

Is there any way at all I can do this? Thanks.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 07:20 PM
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Here is the basic circuit for your new 3-way. The wire connected to to both switches is your hot and goes to the common of the new 3-way switch in original box..

Red now going to the switch will be disconnected and reconnected to the red of the 3-conductor cable.

On the new switch red of the 3-conductor cable will be connected to the common.

Black and white of the 3-conductor cable to the travelers on both ends. White needs to the remarked black.

This is a general diagram that best matches your situation but varies slightly. It does not include the first switch in your box. It uses black instead of white as power in. If I have confused you I can provide a diagram specific to your situation.
 
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Last edited by ray2047; 10-10-17 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:02 PM
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Thanks so much for the diagram. I am looking at the diagrams in the book Home Wiring Step by Step Guide Book. They have three different ones for this particular situation.

So the existing wire in the box, I join the red from it to the new 14/3 wire, and connect the blue (white) and black wires from one three way switch to the other, correct? (I realize I've oversimplified this).

I really appreciate your willingness to help, but again, how in the heck do I get a new wire into that box, especially with that sub panel in the way? Tear out the wall?

I honestly don't know what kind of wall it is. It has a layer of cement and a layer of drywall all joined together in one board. That's the best way I can describe it. I realize there are lots of different types of board. Nevermind that, I'll figure that out elsewhere, just wondering if tearing out the wall might be the only way to get in there.
 

Last edited by areaman; 10-10-17 at 08:04 PM. Reason: better description of wall
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Old 10-10-17, 08:11 PM
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how in the heck do I get a new wire into that box
Terminology you need a 3-conductor cable or 3 wires in conduit or surface raceway. Conduit run on the surface of the wall or, nicer, raceway such as wire mold. Can give more details if you want to go that way.

My previous diagram were incorrect at the light.

Specific diagram for your wiring:
 
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Last edited by ray2047; 10-10-17 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 10-14-17, 08:46 AM
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here's a video of it

Please see this video if you don't mind. This will show exactly what I'm dealing with and some additional details/routes I could use to run the wire. https://youtu.be/olE6V2Ofg0o

I really appreciate everyone's help. Thank you!
 
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Old 10-14-17, 10:34 AM
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As I previously wrote using Wiremold surface raceway is the simplest and wouldn't look bad in a utility room. You can run in the attic part way as you suggested then:
 
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Old 10-14-17, 10:48 AM
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Okay, I might do that then. Thank you.

But the way I described, would that work?

Thanks for taking the time to watch the video and send me back those images. I really appreciate that.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 10:55 AM
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I have literally all but an inch of the wiremold I would need to do the job, haha. I have "600v maximum surface nonmetallic raceway wiremold 800 bac" from when I mounted three TVs on the wall.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 11:11 AM
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But the way I described, would that work?
Yes, just seemed a lot more work to me so was offering an alternative..
 
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Old 10-14-17, 11:12 AM
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Thank you. I'll go with the wiremold. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 10-14-17, 11:22 AM
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Note my diagram shows the utility room switch on the left.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 09:50 PM
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So I believe we've established I already have 3-wire at that switch. I'm going to bring down the new wire to the existing switch (which is currently single pole but will be replaced with a three-way switch), match red to red with a wire nut, and then the white (blue) and black of the new 14/3 are going to be traveller wires. Wire the other end up to the new switch in the kitchen. Right?

As of right now, I've got the box extender installed, and the wiremold backside fastened into the wall.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 11:41 PM
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and then the white (blue) and black of the new 14/3 are going to be traveller wires.
And red to common.

Wire the other end up to the new switch in the kitchen. Right?
The red of the new 3-conductor cable goes to the red to the light. You might want to check that the red of the old 3-conductor cable goes to the light.
 
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Old 10-15-17, 07:01 AM
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So far, the new switch (to go in kitchen) is dependent upon where the three-way switch in the existing box is toggled. I think it has to be toggled in the down position for the new three-way switch to turn the lights on and off.

Any ideas?

I will google it as well. Thank you all. Here are photos. The wire nut (also red) is joining red together.

(I went ahead and tried the wiring per the diagram before running the wire--obvious as you see the pics.)

Thanks guys!
 
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Old 10-15-17, 08:39 AM
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I figured it out!!!!

Thanks anyhow!

Now to fish it all down the wall/through the attic and into the wiremold.
 
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Old 10-15-17, 03:56 PM
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Here it is! I wouldn't have been able to do it without you guys. Thank you very much.

I'm REALLY annoyed that the damn switch in the kitchen is a little bit sideways, but when you're working with plaster or whatever this is, it seems like you have to take what you can get.

I will post elsewhere to learn how to fix it.

The wiremold I put on upside down, but both sides are nearly identical, except it makes the elbow and the coupler look messed up, but it's not too big of a deal.

No more walking through the dark to find the switch. That's all that matters.

Thanks again.
 
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