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I have a switch that used to control outdoor lighting. It no longer does any more and I'd like to just leave it off permanently. Is there an easy way I can terminate it from within the gang box? Eventually I might want to use it again so I don't want to completely rip out out the wiring/circuit; just leave it off and replace the switch with a faceplate cover.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted
  1. Turn off the power at the panel for this circuit (flip the circuit breaker).

  2. Remove the cover plate from the switch.

  3. Test with a non-contact tester to make sure that there is no power in the circuit box. tester

  4. Unscrew the switch.

  5. Remove the two wires from the switch (unscrew or, if they are press in types, cut them close to the switch)

  6. Straighten the wires and screw a wire nut over the bare end of each wire. wirenut

  7. Wrap electrical tape over the nuts and the wires.

  8. Carefully bend them back into the box.

  9. Put a blank cover over the box.

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The picture above suggests you should be twisting 2 wires together. Whether that's true for you depends on how the switch was wired. If it's at the end of the circuit, you will put the wire nuts over a single wire. – Jay Bazuzi Jul 30 '12 at 1:21
Jay is right! The picture was meant to illustrate a wire nut, but in this case, the nut would cover a single wire. Each of the wires described by the OP should have a separate nut. – bib Jul 30 '12 at 1:55
Good catch Jay. – shirlock homes Jul 30 '12 at 10:13
When I terminate switch conductors in a box, I like to put red tape on the hot wire and black on the load side wire. Just my thing, not a rule. I also cut the bare copper off and put the wirenut on the covered wire, then tape it. – shirlock homes Jul 30 '12 at 10:18
If the other end of this wire is disconnected from the panel and other circuits, it's actually not a bad idea to wire the hot+neutral together. If anyone tries to use this wire, it will blow the breaker and make them go find out why, rather than just working and leaving what should be an unused wire energized. – gregmac Jul 30 '12 at 19:18

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