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Need info from an electrician
Old 08-18-2017, 08:07 AM   #1
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Need info from an electrician

A question for someone who knows about wiring...


In the bathroom remodel we are going to have 3 switches for different lights. I am choosing which one I want first, second and third. Right now they have them backwards.... in other words switch 1 is turns on the lights that I want switch 3 to turn on...


I have asked them a few times to change this... they say 'no problem', but have not... they are saying that they can just move the wire in the box and be done....

Now, this bothers me since the box has 3 wires leaving it to go to the various lights and they are separated by the width of a switch... so that means the wire for switch 3 is coming in right above where switch 1 is located... they are assuring me it makes no difference....


So my question... am I being too picky to want the wire coming in (or leaving) the box right above where the switch is located? They have put sheetrock over it and I do not think they want to cut it out to do it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:16 AM   #2
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... am I being too picky ... ? ...
Yes.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:16 AM   #3
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+1 If I understand you correctly, you just want the left to right order of the switches in the box changed so the left switch controls one item, the middle switch controls a different item and the right switch controls yet a different item.

If so, it should be possible to easily make that change unless the wires are too short/tight to be moved to the desired locations. I would just unscrew each of the switches and rearrange them in the order I want.... depending on how they were wired you may not even need to change any of the wires on the switches... just change order of the switches.

BTW, I'm an accountant, not an electrician, but have done electrical work on my properties so YMMV.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:22 AM   #4
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Easy to do, unless they cut the wires too short. Even then, add pigtail, wire nut, if it takes them more than ten minutes, they should give up their license.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:27 AM   #5
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+1 If I understand you correctly, you just want the left to right order of the switches in the box changed so the left switch controls one item, the middle switch controls a different item and the right switch controls yet a different item.

If so, it should be possible to easily make that change unless the wires are too short/tight to be moved to the desired locations. I would just unscrew each of the switches and rearrange them in the order I want.... depending on how they were wired you may not even need to change any of the wires on the switches... just change order of the switches.

BTW, I'm an accountant, not an electrician, but have done electrical work on my properties so YMMV.

That is what they are saying, we can just move the switch around and leave the wires in any order coming into the box...

We will change the switches as we are going to buy new modern looking ones instead of the old ones we got...


I am an accountant also... but like things done right.... IMO construction is like making sausage.... don't look at what they are doing, just look at the final product
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:31 AM   #6
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Yes being too picky. Should be enough wire in box to make the change without issue and even if cut short ls99's solution works and would up to code AFAIK in most places.

My status is similar to pb4uski's although I am not an accountant. Have spent a fair amount of time assisting electricians on renos. So as far as code, to be absolutely sure you could check your local book or ask a local electrician.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:38 AM   #7
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Agree with others -- this is trivial
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:39 AM   #8
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You are too picky about the alignment of the wires coming into the box. But having a preference of switch order is ok. Just switch the wires between switches 1 and 3 - the wires going from the switch to the lights. Not the power wires coming in. But like others have said, the wires may not be long enough to switch. Also - I assume these are all on the same circuit. Also - no need to do anything with neutral or ground wires.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:50 AM   #9
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I don't even think it is a matter of being too picky regarding the wire order - there is no issue that I see at all, picky or not picky. As far as the switch order, you should get the switches in the order you prefer, that's not being picky.

I don't understand why you think it is a problem to just change the order of the switches? That's how it's done. Electricity doesn't really care much about turning a corner ( I left myself an out, at radio frequencies, there might be some slight effect, nothing to worry about with house wiring). As others have said, if the wires ar too short (they shouldn't be), they can pigtail in some length, there should be room in the box for that.

Not a problem, I'm curious why it bothers you?

Now, this bothers me ... ... they are assuring me it makes no difference....

They are correct, it makes no difference. And what would you want them to do? Reroute the wires (I assume they are behind the wall now), ripping out the sheet rock? Here in N IL, those wires would be in conduit, probably all coming in/out the same 1/2" conduit anyhow.

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Old 08-18-2017, 08:59 AM   #10
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... if it takes them more than ten minutes, they should give up their license.
If it takes more than ten minutes, they will not be in business as electricians very long because their bids will not be competitive.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:17 AM   #11
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I am an accountant also... but like things done right....
Moving the switches in the box is doing it right.

It's probably best not look in any other electrical boxes if this bothers you...
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:25 AM   #12
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I don't even think it is a matter of being too picky regarding the wire order - there is no issue that I see at all, picky or not picky. As far as the switch order, you should get the switches in the order you prefer, that's not being picky.

I don't understand why you think it is a problem to just change the order of the switches? That's how it's done. Electricity doesn't really care much about turning a corner ( I left myself an out, at radio frequencies, there might be some slight effect, nothing to worry about with house wiring). As others have said, if the wires ar too short (they shouldn't be), they can pigtail in some length, there should be room in the box for that.

Not a problem, I'm curious why it bothers you?

Now, this bothers me ... ... they are assuring me it makes no difference....

They are correct, it makes no difference. And what would you want them to do? Reroute the wires (I assume they are behind the wall now), ripping out the sheet rock? Here in N IL, those wires would be in conduit, probably all coming in/out the same 1/2" conduit anyhow.

-ERD50
I know it makes no difference to the electricity..... but I like things done 'right'... I have perfectionist tendencies....


But let's use Ronstars drawing... he has it like it is wired... the common coming in and 3 switches... and his drawing is how it is now... S1 wire going to the light above S1, same for S2 and S3....

But if you change the order of the switches, S1 is moved to S3 location, but the wire is still over to the left... the opposite with S3... so the wires are crossing behind S2 to get to the proper switch....

To me this seems like the 'correct' way to do it is how it is drawn, not to have the wires cross in the box behind S2....


So why not get it right? I told them a few times when the wall was still open... in fact I had them move the box down because they had it too high... but, they will be putting tile over the wall so it can still be done... I just want to know if I should let it go or insist...

Verdict seems to be let it go....


BTW, we do not have conduit.... as far as having a short wire, there was one line that was short when they took out part of the run over the vanity... so they had to put a box in the wall to connect to get it to the box.... so we now have an extra box that will have a wall plate... no switch....
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:32 AM   #13
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... But if you change the order of the switches, S1 is moved to S3 location, but the wire is still over to the left... the opposite with S3... so the wires are crossing behind S2 to get to the proper switch....

To me this seems like the 'correct' way to do it is how it is drawn, not to have the wires cross in the box behind S2....
No, either way is "correct", there just is nothing "wrong" in having the wires crossed from end-to-end in the box.


Quote:
as far as having a short wire, there was one line that was short when they took out part of the run over the vanity... so they had to put a box in the wall to connect to get it to the box.... so we now have an extra box that will have a wall plate... no switch....
Depending on how this was done, I would have a concern here! Where is this box with blank wall plate? If it is just tucked away out of site, fine. Maybe better than fine, you maybe could add an outlet there at some point if you wanted.

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Old 08-18-2017, 09:33 AM   #14
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I have asked them a few times to change this... they say 'no problem', but have not... they are saying that they can just move the wire in the box and be done....
This is not a big deal, unless you asked to have it done and they will not do it. That is the only problem I see.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:37 AM   #15
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No, either way is "correct", there just is nothing "wrong" in having the wires crossed from end-to-end in the box.




Depending on how this was done, I would have a concern here! Where is this box with blank wall plate? If it is just tucked away out of site, fine. Maybe better than fine, you maybe could add an outlet there at some point if you wanted.

-ERD50
It is up high (because that is where the wire ended) and is into our bedroom behind our door... DW has a calendar over it... they said it would look bad in the bathroom as it would be seen easily in the mirror....

DW is fine with this.... did not think about adding a plug... thanks...
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:39 AM   #16
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OK... thanks to all...


It is just me... I will let it go... this is why I like the forum... to get different perspectives...


BTW, I did tell them I wanted the switches moved, but never did say anything about the wires... I just thought they would move the wires... my bad for not being clear...
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:57 AM   #17
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Depending on how this was done, I would have a concern here! Where is this box with blank wall plate? If it is just tucked away out of site, fine. Maybe better than fine, you maybe could add an outlet there at some point if you wanted.

-ERD50
I agree - this would bother me a lot more. Not that anything is wrong with it as far as code/safety (assuming it is done correctly), but a.blank box cover does look odd. I ended up with one in my master bath (long and uninteresting story), and even after 25+ years I sometimes wish I had made them pull the errant wires instead.
Crossing wires in the back of the electric box on the other hand are quite invisible.
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:14 AM   #18
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It is up high (because that is where the wire ended) and is into our bedroom behind our door... DW has a calendar over it... they said it would look bad in the bathroom as it would be seen easily in the mirror....

DW is fine with this.... did not think about adding a plug... thanks...

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I agree - this would bother me a lot more. Not that anything is wrong with it as far as code/safety (assuming it is done correctly), but a.blank box cover does look odd. I ended up with one in my master bath (long and uninteresting story), and even after 25+ years I sometimes wish I had made them pull the errant wires instead.
Crossing wires in the back of the electric box on the other hand are quite invisible.
Agree completely. Neither is any sort of safety concern, but a blank wall plate behind a door, with something covering it just screams "SHORTCUT!".

IIRC, you mentioned paying some pretty big bucks for this remodel. I 100% would not accept a blank wall plate behind a door in a bedroom. Inside a closet, behind a refrigerator, something like that - sure, no problem. But not in a 'living space'.

Hah - we solved one issue for you, and created another! Must be some universal law of "conservation of issues"!

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Old 08-18-2017, 10:36 AM   #19
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I guess to be clear... I don't think it is too picky to want the switches in a particular order to make turning on certain lights more intuitive... but it is picky to insist that the wires not cross in the box... it doesn't really matter to either the operation or appearance of the switches so I'm glad that you are letting that one go.

On the blank plate... depending on where it is that would bother me but it is hard to criticize the electrician without knowing the details why it ended up that way... it could be perfectly legit to avoid a lot of rework to accomodate a change made somewhere... or it could be that they were short on wire and too lazy to run another wire.
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:37 AM   #20
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When I had a room addition, there was a wall switch that controlled an outside light that was removed because it was in the newly enclosed space (the next room). I did not think of re-purposing the switch for another appliance, and now the switch controls nothing.

I hope the carpenter did terminate that line properly.
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