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Thread: Can I replace an outlet with wall switch?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Can I replace an outlet with wall switch?

    Doing a small remodel in the kitchen. Went with a larger footprint fridge/freezer unit which requires a small amount of wall building to enclose the new unit. Unfortunately, there is an electrical outlet right where I want to tie the new wall into existing structure. I'd like to change that outlet to a wall switch (and move it to a proper height) for a new light in a small nook that is part of the plan. However, this outlet is mid-run on the circuit so the new wall switch would need to preserve the continuity for downstream outlets. I know little about house wiring, so the question here is whether this is doable (seems like it should be) and as easy as getting the correct switch and proper wiring in the box? I'll farm the work out to assure it is properly done, but for now I'm just wanting to understand the feasibility of what I want to do before I start framing.

    Thanks for your help.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  2. #2
    Certainly sounds do-able, but you may create a hidden junction - unless the existing wire run(s) can reach the new switch box? (...and you'll have enough of the wall opened up.)

    If the wire will not reach, then proper (code) solution would be to re-run wire from new SW box to the appropriate up- & down-stream boxes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Lancaster, Ohio
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    987
    YES
    The existing box would need to be accessible when done. A good electrician can do this for you by moving the box sideways turning it 90 deg or possibly installing two new boxes where the existing wiring will reach.
    Then he would add a new wire to feed the new switch box.
    You need to get an electrician there to look at it, move the box and prep for the new box or at least post a picture for us to see and we can advise you more.
    I could come to your house tomorrow sometime to help you, no charge other than I want to look at your shop. I was a professional electrician for years before moving into building maintenance. Have to go to work today, 2cd shift.
    Good luck
    Ron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Easy to tee a switch run off a run. The problem is where and how to move the existing box. Code says any junction of wires has to be inside a box. And the box has to be accessible after the drywall is up.
    Personally if you have to have a box anyway I would add an outlet in that box. Outlets in a kitchen are nice even if only for a night light. So many little appliances need power.
    Bill D

  5. #5
    Will this work?
    swout.jpg
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. Good to hear I'm not off base on this.

    Re: hidden junctions - The reason the nook exists in the plan is due to this outlet, and I have a little dead space behind the new fridge/freezer cabinet. It gives me a place to land the junctions in the switch box. I don't need an outlet there, just trying to make the little space useful instead of just walling it in. I've pulled down drywall in the area to verify that there's enough existing wire to reposition the switch up on the wall, as long as it's copacetic to pull a wire in thru the bottom of the new box. I'll try to get a picture attached.

    The nook is actually around the corner from the main kitchen area. We've never used that outlet in the 17 years we've lived here, so we're not going to miss it.

    Added pics, unfortunately they are rotated, and out of preferred order. That seems to happen with any pic I take in portrait. The outlet in question is the one on the right. I want to move it up to the mark on the stud with arrow pointing at it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 01-07-2022 at 2:00 PM. Reason: Added pics
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Selzer View Post
    I could come to your house tomorrow sometime to help you, no charge other than I want to look at your shop. I was a professional electrician for years before moving into building maintenance. Have to go to work today, 2cd shift.
    I really appreciate the offer Ron but I can't swing tomorrow. I don't do this kind of work on weekends so the wife can have her weekend time in peace.

    ...I'd be embarrassed to show you my shop. Definitely NOT a thing of beauty, unless you like piles of stuff in a somewhat dusty and cramped area..
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  8. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    Will this work?
    swout.jpg
    Depending on what is supplying it it has to be GFCI in a kitchen.
    Bill D

  9. #9
    I have this one in our main bathroom--

    gswout.jpg
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. #10
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Looks like you have plenty of wire to move it with no problem.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Depending on what is supplying it it has to be GFCI in a kitchen.
    Bill D
    Guess I misspoke on my initial post. This outlet is not in the kitchen proper. It's around the corner more in the family dining area. It's an "open" floorplan.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  12. #12
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    "The outlet in question is the one on the right. I want to move it up to the mark on the stud with arrow pointing at it."

    Go for it. That is an easy fix.

    ".I'd be embarrassed to show you my shop. Definitely NOT a thing of beauty, unless you like piles of stuff in a somewhat dusty and cramped area."

    Sounds like my shop. There is a good reason you will never see pictures of it on here.
    Ron

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
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    683
    Just as a clarification:
    Generally terminations and splices need to be in an accessible enclosure, but not in all cases.

    Wrt this discussion, they do make NEC listed inline splice kits that can be concealed in walls.
    This one is made by tyco, but there are others.

    BFE50BB2-F1A8-431D-8B16-DED3229D861F.jpeg
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    I think any outlet within 6 feet of a faucet has to be GFCI?

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