Another Switch Installation without Existing Neutral


(Jeffrey Ropp) #1

Like so many of you, I bought switches without checking to see if I had a neutral in the existing light switch box.
Like so many of you, it wasn’t there. Power is at the fixture.

So I’ve called a few electricians, a few told me it will be really expensive. Another flatly said “Don’t do it!”.

But I’m persistent, so I’m hoping a knowledgeable few can help me understand the steps.

From what I’ve read, the answer is described in this diagram:

  1. Shut the power off!
  2. Remove the existing box.
    How do I do this with the style of box used?
  3. Pull 3 wire cable through using existing 2 wire cable.
    Tape the 2-wire romex and 3-wire romex together?
    Do I have to open the wall if the romex is tacked to a stud?
  4. Wire at the light or junction box for lights as described in the diagram
  5. Wire at the switches as described in the diagram

Thanks in advance for the thoughts and help!


(Dan Fox) #2

The box you have appears to be held in by the two clips on the side. Loosening the screws will probably allow it to come out. Your problem will be pulling the new wire through. It likely is fished through holes in the studs and it may be impossible to get the new wire through without it getting stuck. They you will have to rip up the drywall. Good luck!


(Daniel Ionescu) #3

@jeffreyropp
What the diagram you posted does is bring power from fixture to switch box (as it should’ve been done initially) and send control (red wire) to light. I doubt that you’ll be able to run a new cable through same hole as current one. When building a house the contractor runs cable through stud holes and staple cable to studs.
You’d be better off bringing new power cable to the switch box and use current cable for light. Make sure you disconnect it from the breaker first.
Also, in your switch box grounding is not by the code. Grounding wire has to be attached to both metallic box and switches. Take box out and replace it with plastic one so you only attach ground to switches.
In the end you should have neutral and control at the bulb; line, neutral and control at the switch