How to remove a wall switch?



At the bottom of the stairs by my front door I have 2 switches, one is a 3 way and controls the light from the bottom of the stairs and the other doesnt do anything anymore. (It used to control the porch light but it was removed.) What do i have to do to put a blank switch plate over it? i know i have to remove the switch but do i need to cap the wires or something? They are still hot.
I live in the US, if that makes any difference.
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16 Feb 2007
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West Midlands
United Kingdom
it would depend entirely on the method they used to wire the lights..

if they looped in at the switches then you'd need to keep the wires together that are already together..

they use wire nuts and things over there don't they?

do us a photo of the wiring inside the switch.. we like to have a virtual poke around in other people's wiring..


A picture would help to see the exact arrangement, but if the switch is the regular side-wired type then it should have only one wire under each screw terminal. Other splices will be made in the back of the box with wire-nuts (or possibly crimps or some other method if it's an older installation).

Assuming just two wires to the switch itself (one on each terminal), then you could safely remove the switch by capping each wire it with a wire-nut. Or if a wire is just a pigtail into a wire-nut splice behind, you can remove the pigtail and just reconnect the other wires.

If you have a regular double box for the existing switches though, you might have trouble locating a replacement switch plate which has just a single switch cutout on one side and is blank on the other. I don't recall seeing them in any of the major manufacturers' lines, but they might be available.

Converting to a single box would involve reworking the other wiring, and obviously would leave a large hole in the wall to patch up, but then you could use a regular single switch plate.


its just 2 wires to each terminal on the switch in a double box. i have a cover that is half switch half blank so thats not a problem. So if its just 2 cuts and then screwing on 2 wire nuts to safely remove the switch then thats what I will do but I could take a picture if you want before i do anything.
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Post a picture if you want confirmation to be sure, but if there are just the two wires to the switch then you should be fine removing them and protecting the end of each one with a wire-nut (turn the power off before doing it, obviously).