I have a small kitchen with a single light fixture that I am wanting to remove, and replace with 6 recessed can lights. My plan was to remove the existing fixture, disconnect the wire and just pull that wire over to the first can. However, when I opened up the box, I was greeted with this:


It's hard to see, but there are two white wires on the top, and two black ones coming in from the bottom. To make sense of it, I've sketched it out:

wire sketch

Which brings me to my question(s):

A) What is going on here? Top right must go to my wall switch, but what's the rest doing?

B) Since I'm no longer wanting a light here, could this mess be stuffed in a junction box in the ceiling, accessible from pulling out a recessed light? (There is a second floor above this ceiling)

  • 1
    ...and the green-as-hot wire is a code violation pretty much anywhere on the planet that has an electrical code.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 15:45
  • @kthornbloom the one thing I am thinking is that you have more than one wall switch in your kitchen to operate that light. I think this looks like you have a 3 Way Switch.
    – Ken
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


To answer your questions in turn:

A) Top right in your diagram (and in your photo) is the switch loop to your wall switch -- the white wire on that cable should be tagged with a piece of black tape to mark it as a hot. One of the other black wires is the (un-switched) line originating in your panel. The remaining cables go to other branch circuits.

B) Just put a blank round cover of the appropriate size on the junction box here after removing the light, so that the next bloke who has to work on the box can get to it. Don't forget to remove the silly green pigtail connecting the nuts!


What you have is a 3 way switch in your wall - in other words you have two switches for that kitchen light.

On the Right hand side where the light fixture is attached - just use those wires WHITE and BLACK to feed your recess cans. That green wire should be taped as being a HOT wire - put black electrical tape around it on both ends or replace it with a black wire.

You can put a blank over this fixture box , or do something else with it.

Below is a diagram of a 3-WAY LIGHT SWITCH -

3-Way Switch with Light Fixture

There are 4 WAYS as well if you have 3 Switches in a Kitchen.

  • Where are you getting the three-way switch from? THe diagram posted in no way indicates that there's a 3 way present... Commented May 6, 2017 at 21:55
  • Sorry, only one light switch exists for the fixture, hence the confusion :) Commented May 6, 2017 at 22:59

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