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I have two light switches in my bathroom. I'd like to swap the lights that they operate with each other.

I have no experience with this kind of thing, but I'm hoping the proximity of the two switches makes it simpler.

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This is unlikely to be easy for someone with no electrical or cable running experience. The proximity of them just means there is less drywall to rip up. –  Steven Sep 13 '12 at 2:38
    
How close are the lights they control? Or do they do something like one turns on the fan and the other turns on the light in a shared vent? –  Matthew Sep 13 '12 at 15:11
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We really need to know what the wires inside of the boxes look like. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 13 '12 at 21:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your honest statement, "I have no experience with this kind of thing," is both refreshing and cautionary. Electricity can be dangerous. Most of us who dabble in it have learned a good bit by watching those who are much more experienced. When in doubt, call a pro (or at least a well-seasoned amateur). What follows is not a recommendation for you to proceed. Think about getting more experienced help.

The switches can be switched. How difficult it is depends on how they are presently wired.

The switch on the left, Switch A, has a full circuit in the box, that is, a hot, neutral and ground, which powers the outlet. Switch A above it is probably on the same line and works by interrupting the hot current to the light it controls, Light One. The neutral and ground that feed the outlet are probably tied in to the controlled light. The question is, where does the switch on the right, Switch B, and the light it controls, Light Two, get their power?

If Light Two gets its power (hot and neutral) directly from the box that contains Switch A, and the line to Switch B is just a two wire hot line that Switch B either connects or disconnects to Light Two (back through the box containing Switch A), then the lines in Switch A's box that control both lights can be swapped to reverse the switches.

If Light Two draws its power directly from the box on the right (rather than through the Switch A box), you cannot reverse the controls without running a new line. The most likely solution is to open a channel in the wall between the two boxes and run a new line to Switch B. Then Switches A and B can be reassigned. The channel can then be patched with drywall tape and compound.

The way to tell whether you have the easy or the hard setup is look in the box containing Switch B. If there is just one line with a black and white wire (and a bare ground), but no other wire, you have the easy setup. If there are two or more lines in Switch B box, you have the harder setup.

Exactly how to swap the wires is a bit complex, and if you do not already know how to do this, you really should have help.

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If you cant pull down the wall its probably not going to be a friendly task. there is likely to be 2-4 studs between those 2 switches that you would have to drill through to swap wires. If you can get in to the celing or floor depending on where the wires were run you may be able to do it that way.

step 1 is to find how the wire runs from the switch to the light. if that light is under another level of the house its not going to be fun as it means tearing up the wall and running the wires that way. if you can get in to a crawl space or attic to get to the wires as they run from the light you can put a new section of wire on the switch end and pull it in to place as you pull up the old wire.

step 2 once you have a feed from the switch to the attic you can run the original wire from the light to the feed from the switch you want to activate that light. If you have a mobile with a veneer wood wall you may be able to pop the panels off and work on the wiring directly just depends on how the walls are built.

I have not covered the saftey, sizing etc this is just an overview of what would need to be done. most of that would require seeing the actual spot and having an idea of the code restrictions for your area.

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