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I recently bought a home built in the 60s. There are two little night light fixtures in the hallway walls that I would like to permanently get rid of. Since I live in Chicago, they are housed in metal boxes and the wiring is in conduit.

  • Can I just remove them and tape the wires and put a cover over the top?
  • The switch for these is housed in a gang box with another switch. Can I just cap the wires and leave them in that gang box?

night light build into a standard yoke
Click to embiggen

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    Use wire nuts instead of tape. One nut for each wire. Somebody needs to dust.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 23:52

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Turn OFF the circuit breaker before doing any work. If you don't know how to do that, turn off the main circuit breaker(s). Only fools and master electricians work "hot", and the latter avoids it whenever possible.

Oh that's cute... they are standard yokes (like any receptacle or switch) that embed into the wall and have lights.

I would sell those on eBay... I bet you get takers.

But yes, they are just standard yokes. You remove them with the 2 screws like any receptacle or switch, and just put a receptacle there if you want to. At that point you'd have switched receptacles. Or you could defeat the switch and have constant-on receptacles.

You can put blank covers over them too, but they must remain accessible forever.

Given that it is individual wires in conduit, you might be able to remove the wires altogether by identifying both ends of each wire, making sure it is disconnected at both ends, and pulling it out of the pipe. It would be easy (for an experienced amateur) to re-install.

Any unused wires must be capped off using approved methods. Wire-nuts perform very poorly in this role, and I don't recommend them for novices. The easiest way by far, for novices, is to use Wago "lever-nuts" - simply put each dead wire into a lever-nut, and latch it down. Put each dead wire into a different lever-nut device - don't put all of them into one (that would short them together).

I recommend lever-nuts and not "push-in nuts" because being conduit, it is likely to be stranded wire. Lever-nuts work fine with stranded.

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Go with the dead simple solution:

  • Unscrew the light bulbs.
    • Store the bulbs in a labeled box (so they don't break) so you can put them back if you ever decide to or if/when you move out.
    • Also keep the face plates which, I presume, have some sort of translucent panel to let the light out and are probably now made of unobtainium.
  • Screw on a standard, blank face plate.
    • Since there is live wiring in the box, it must remain permanently accessible with nothing more than a screwdriver.

Job done.

Note: If/when you have children between 2-6 years old, you'll appreciate the night lights in the hallway so they can get themselves to the bathroom without waking you up in the middle of the night. You'll also appreciate a bit of light when you have to travel to their room(s) for late night feedings/diaperings/general comforting.

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  • Thanks, yeah I guess it probably makes more sense to just get new bulbs because they are burnt out, update to more modern looking slotted plates, and call it good so I always have them as an option just in case.
    – Newbie
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 16:36
  • Happy to help, @Newbie. If you'll take the tour, you'll note that the proper way to say "thanks" is to click the up arrow next to every answer that helps you, then click the check mark next to the answer that helped the most. You may want to wait 24- to 48-hours before clicking the check mark, as other answers may come in that are even more helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 17:01

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