I have a pantry enclosed on two sides by standard partition walls faced with cabinet wood, then two short sides open to the kitchen on the outside made from cabinet wood, then the door is mounted at 45 degrees on the two short sides - like !http://www.modabakeshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/turkeydraw1.png where the red line is the door. The light switch (actually a 3-position off/sensor/on) is awkwardly located under the bottom shelf at the back of one of the full walls.

What I want to do is to turn the existing receptacle into a junction box (blank plate cover for access) and then move the switch to a chest level switch, still on the inside, but mounted on the short cabinet wall right next to the door. This means it would have to be a receptacle box that sticks out from the wall - something like this I guess: !http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/f8/f80e4798-4436-4ccb-aa86-50777d412598_400.jpg

Wiring would come out of the existing receptacle somehow (blank faceplate but with a gromitted hole?!), then run in plastic trunking around the wall then up to the new receptacle.

Firstly, is this acceptable in terms of installation? I know there are local variations to code so I'm talking generally.

Secondly, when extending wiring from the existing receptacle to the new, can I just run the switched core? In other words, use a single 3-core cable (1 ground) and run the hot up one core, via the switch, and back down the other core? I believe in other localities that is allowed as long as the "wrong" core is taped to show it is live rather than neutral.

Thanks - it's hard searching for the right way of doing it when I can't get the right terminology for what I want to do! Location: southern California.

  • First, don't shop at consumer big-box stores. Any particular brand of surface-mount conduit is a system with a bunch of parts that have to work together. Big-box stores only stock the parts which sell well, and they leave me dangling all the time - I've returned more such parts than I've actually been able to use! Find an electrical supply shop, the sort that caters to electricians. They tend to be locally owned and stock everything because it's needed. It's real common for their prices to be lower than big-box. Commented May 23, 2016 at 23:34
  • Understood, though finding such is a little more difficult as the smaller stores here get pushed out by the HDs and Ls of this world. One spent 3 months fitting out a small warehouse and 6 months in business before closing. :(
    – GeoffM
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


You have two questions. To the first question of how to get the wire out of the existing box, you would mount a surface-mount box on top of the existing box and put a blank face place on it. Then the plastic wire mold could come out of the raised, blank box and run to the new raised box. The wire must always travel inside an approved box or conduit. You can't just have wire coming out of a hole as you have described.

For the number of wires that you need to run, the current National Electric Code (NEC) guidelines say that all switch boxes need to contain a neutral. If the existing switch box contains a neutral I would use a "4-core cable" which is sold as "14/3 w/ground" (14 gauge, three conductors) or "12/3 w/ground" (for 12 gauge - not common for lighting) to run to the new switch. If the existing box doesn't have a neutral, I'm not sure what code and local rules would say. I would think with such a minor change, you could just extend the wires as they currently are, and you are right that the white wire would need to be marked with black tape for the switch loop.

However, even if that is the "obvious thing to do" or "what most people would do", it might not be legal or proper, so you'll need to get clarification on that. If you have a neutral, extend it to the new switch and you'll be ok.

  • That's really helpful, thank you. "Switch loop" - that's the phrase I was looking for - Google has come alive with results! Yes, it would have been a bit silly to have a cable coming out of a faceplate and then diving into a conduit, oops. Cheers.
    – GeoffM
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 22:45

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