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I have a two gang box. It contains a light switch and an outlet. The light switch does not control the outlet.

I would like to remove and make redundant the light switch. It is an older house and we don't know what the light switch is connected to. We suspect it goes outside and in the future we may uncover it through renovations. For now I want to remove the switch and cover it with a one gang + blank wall plate to ensure it is accessible in the future if necessary. I am unsure how to properly cap off the light switch and if the wiring from it still needs to go to the outlet.

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    Some pictures would really be nice.
    – JACK
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 18:37
  • 2
    Picture of the wires connected will help. Usually can just remove the switch with the breaker off, and place wire nuts on each wire.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 18:37
  • Not necessarily, @keshlam. Especially since we don't know where those wires go.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 18:48
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    Is the goal to make the switched circuit be permanently on or permanently off? Or is this a three-way switch where the goal is to let the other switch(es) control whatever-ir-is that this switch operates?
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 18:52
  • Have you checked both sockets on every outlet in the room? Also were any of the outlets replaced? Happens all the time where the room has a switched outlet and some goober replaces the outlet without knowing what they're doing, and defeats the switch. Does the room have a light controlled by a switch? (that's a code requirement). Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 21:41

1 Answer 1

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I figured it out. I'll post what I did in case it helps someone in the future. Or in case I did something incorrect (despite it working). I overcomplicated it in my head, it was very straight forward.

I removed both the switch and the outlet (I wanted to replace the outlet with a newer cleaner one.

On the side with the switch I was left with a white wire, a black wire, a red wire and the ground.

On the side with the outlet I was left with a white wire, a black wire and the ground.

On my first attempt I did as someone suggested and capped off all the wires previously going to the switch in the left gang. I connected the new outlet to the wires in the right gang (black, white and ground). Turned the power back on and nothing was working. This told me that the power going to the switch was a part of the same circuit.

So after turning the power back off I connected the white wire and the black wire from the left gang (previous switch) to the neutral and hot located on the outlet. The outlet now has all the wires going to it from the 2 incoming wires except for the red wire. I capped the red wire and pushed it into the empty left side of the box.

Power on and all is well. The red wire was my biggest confusion. I appreciate all the people who chimed in to help despite my lack of photos.

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    If your old switch had 3 wires on it then it was part of a 3-way circuit. Now that you've put hot on one of those wires and neutral on another, there's a good chance that someone flips the other switch in that circuit and it goes bang because it's trying to short hot and neutral.
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 4:23
  • what would be the fix for this then?
    – areafour
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 15:54
  • Show us some pics of the wiring, and take some measurements with a multimeter. Maybe someone can figure out what's gone wrong. Hopefully you remember how it was wired before, because knowing that would help.
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 20:53
  • It is all connected and everything works. I did outline the wiring as it exists and how I connected it in my answer above so a photo probably won't reveal anything new. There are no other switches in the house that don't have a purpose. No existing switch connects to this. I don't know how concerned I should be.
    – areafour
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 0:18

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