I’d like to replace the three toggle switch with a two toggle switch. The leftmost switch (as shown in the below photo) does not control anything in my bathroom. I’d like to replace this leftmost switch a blank face plate. What do I do with the wire on the left switch? The middle switch controls all the lights and the rightmost switch controls the bathroom fan.

All 3 Rightmost Middle Leftmost

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    Do you see any other unused wires in there? Typically the third switch is either for a different (e.g. more mild) light, or for a heat lamp or heater. Nov 30, 2019 at 21:19
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    What does that third switch actually control? You'll want to figure that out first before you go changing things here... Nov 30, 2019 at 22:24
  • @ThreePhaseEel Leftmost switch does not control anything. Rightmost controls the bathroom fan. Dec 1, 2019 at 23:05
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Originally, the switches were wired differently. First two switches for different lights and rightmost for fan. Now both the lights are controlled via the middle switch and the fan is still controlled via the rightmost switch. I don’t believe there are any other unused wires. Dec 1, 2019 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


Power off obviously. You can just patiently twist and tug the wire out of the backstab, and then put a wire-nut over it, and tape the wire nut so it stays. (Wire nuts are supposed to stay on splices without help, and shouldn't be taped then; however when capping a single wire they don't work properly and need help.)

Pulling a wire out of a backstab destroys its spring strength; (even when using the release tab). The backstab cannot be reused. Throw the switch in the trash. Unless (like most of us) you are a member of the "never use backstabs, ever" club, in which case the switch is fine; put it back in stock. (backstabs are unreliable and create maintenance headaches later, which is why we shun them).

They make blanking plates that bolt to the same yoke screws as the switch did, and neatly fill that hole in the switch plate cover. They also make switch-switch-blank switch plate covers, though they are rare, which is why I mentioned the first thing.

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