Im trying to wire some can lights. There is a switch box that goes to an existing can light to which I want to run some 14/3. The reason I want 14/3 is to keep the existing can light on a separate switch and the new ones on their own switches.

There is 14/2 running to the existing can light. I want to replace the old 14/2 with 14/3. Could I attach the new 14/3 to the old 14/2 and pull the 14/2 out, replacing it with 14/3? Would it work?


No. The original wiring was stapled many times to framing, and likely passes through one or more small holes in wall plates. You simply cannot pull it like a fish tape.

The best bet is usually to carefully remove the switch box by cutting the nails with a rotary tool, poke your new cable down from the attic, and install a new "old work" switch box.

  • Do you just leave the old cable in place? Bring it in to the new box and wire nut each end? – mmathis May 1 '17 at 14:59
  • No attic access. 1st floor. Only a cavity for access. – Keith May 1 '17 at 15:04
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    I agree this is the best way to update the wiring. Some times if I can't get to the nails I break up the old box as they are usually plastic. Metal ones get left inside the wall. I have done this many times without damaging the sheetrock or existing wiring. No staple is required on the fished in cable inside the wall. – Ed Beal May 1 '17 at 15:08
  • @Keith, we can't really offer more advice with what we (don't) know about your home. The original question was answered. If you have another one, go ahead and make a new post. Don't forget to upvote or accept any helpful answers. – isherwood May 1 '17 at 15:19
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    @Keith I think the point here is that the wiring to the light stays intact. If you want to add new lights on a separate switch, there's no need to involve the wiring to the other can. If I understand, you just need to run 14-2 from the new switch to the new lights. It sounds like you will need to make holes. Work like this is often best paired with a new coat of paint. Some eggshell mug spray texture can be a real help too. – JimmyJames May 1 '17 at 18:50

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