How to Move a Light Switch

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Moving a light switch that is poorly located is not that difficult. You may want to lower it, raise it, move it nearer to a door or to a different wall. You can even place it in another room. If you proceed methodically, you can complete this task safely and neatly.

Things You'll Need

  • 14-gauge wire
  • Electrical box and cover
  • Blank cover
  • Drywall mud and tape
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • 2 wire nuts
  • Turn on the light controlled by the switch to make sure it has a good bulb. Turn off the breaker that controls the power to the switch. This is a critical step. Verify that the electricity is off by turning on light switch on an off. The light that went on should not turn on, nor should allied electrical appliances on the same circuit work.

  • Unscrew the switch cover and then the switch itself from the wall. Pull the switch out a few inches but leave the wires attached.

  • Check the new location with a stud finder to confirm it is not on top of a stud. Trace an outline of the electrical outlet box with a pencil on the new location. Cut a hole in the drywall with a utility knife.

  • Run 14-gauge wire from the hole you just made to the old electrical box. If you need to pass wall studs, cut a 1-inch strip out of the drywall for the new wire to follow. Patch this later after confirming that the new switch works fine.

  • Push the wire into the new box. Install the new box by pushing it into the wall. Turn the tabs to lock it into place.

  • Strip 6 inches from both ends of the wire casing. Strip a half-inch from both ends of the black and white wires inside.

  • Twist the plain copper wire around the green ground screw on the new switch. Install the black and white wires to the screws on the side of the new light switch or push them into the marked holes on the back. Screw the switch into the electrical box.

  • Disconnect the wires from the old switch. Twist the copper wires together. Connect the new white wire to one of the white wires you disconnected from the old switch with a wire nut. Do the same with the new black wire and a black one from the old light switch. Push these wires into the wall.

  • Install a blank outlet cover on the old switch hole. Install a regular switch cover on the new one. Turn on the breaker.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can reuse the old switch.
  • It is very important to turn the electricity off at the breaker before you start.
  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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