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Old 10-13-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Hi

I have a 4-gang box in my kitchen which holds 4 light switches, but now I only need 3 of those switches. I have completely disconnected the wiring for one of those switches, and it looks like it will be pain in the arfe to rip out the 4-gang box, replace it with a 3-gang box and patch the wall on one side.

Of the following options, what would you recommend?

1. Keeping the 4-gang switch box as is but with one switch that isn't connected to anything.

2. Putting on a 4-gang sized switch cover plate that only has 3 switch openings and one covered. Do they even make such a thing? Could I make such a thing by somehow covering one of the holes?

3. Bite the bullet and replace it with a 3-gang box.

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Old 10-13-2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


If I was doing a remodel in the kitchen, replace the box. If just working on the lighting circuits, leave in a switch that does nothing. Just my 2

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Old 10-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #3
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


You can buy switch blank fillers for less than a buck and it saves having to explain what that switch does....

Last edited by RegeSullivan; 10-14-2009 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Leave the switch or, if you can you cut out the 4-gang box, replace it w/a 3 gang old work and use mesh and drywall compound to fill in the hole.

Or I've heard you can use mesh and compound to cover the opening in the 4 gang box, and add a 3-gang switch cover, not that I'd recommend such a thing. Actually, what's the code say about doing that? The box is still accessible. Is that a code violation? If so, why?
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #5
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Either HD or Lowe's sells individual cover plates that you can combine in absolutely any combination - blank, switch, regular receptacle, GFI receptacle. They have interlocking tabs except for one side of the ones designed to go at the end. But they are IMO ridiculously expensive -- like a buck or more each. Before I found those I just made a careful cut across each of two stock plates - an angle grinder gave me a very straight cut -- can barely see the joint. It's probably not up to code in the sense that the cover plates aren't "listed" for that kind of modification. So forking over the $ to the store is probably the way to go.

Or just leave a switch that does nothing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:21 PM   #6
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


shtoink - ignore my previous message - my brain was out of gear. Just go buy a 3 gang mud ring for a 4 gang box. If your big box store doesn;t have one, any electrical supply store will. They'll stock everything from one gang to four gang mudrings for a four gang box. Cut back your sheet rock just enough to mount the mud ring, then patch around it with mesh tape and tape mud. It'll look nice and is code compliant.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Leave the switch. It will baffle people about what it does.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:39 PM   #8
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Since I have many way more important projects to finish, I'll probably just leave it as a disconnected "mystery switch".

Another ridiculous idea I just had is to wire it as a 3-way switch with the switch right next to it - the world's most pointless 3-way light switch.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:40 PM   #9
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Quote:
Originally Posted by shtoink View Post
Another ridiculous idea I just had is to wire it as a 3-way switch with the switch right next to it - the world's most pointless 3-way light switch.
That gets my vote!
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


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That gets my vote!
I would only need a tiny scrap of 3-wire cable to do it too.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:56 PM   #11
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Better make it a 5 gang box and add a 4-way for the same bank.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:23 PM   #12
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


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Originally Posted by rselectric1 View Post
Better make it a 5 gang box and add a 4-way for the same bank.
Or wire them in series, and put one upside down. It will be like a combination to turn on the light. up-down-up, or up-up-down, or down-up-down... And then flip the switches every month just to annoy the family.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:32 PM   #13
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


You're bad walden
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:44 PM   #14
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


I vote for putting a non-functioning switch in the fourth position. I would not go the route of an adapter mud ring because I don[t want to do the work of cutting and mudding around it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:49 PM   #15
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3 switches in a 4-gang box?


Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldenL View Post
Leave the switch or, if you can you cut out the 4-gang box, replace it w/a 3 gang old work and use mesh and drywall compound to fill in the hole.

Or I've heard you can use mesh and compound to cover the opening in the 4 gang box, and add a 3-gang switch cover, not that I'd recommend such a thing. Actually, what's the code say about doing that? The box is still accessible. Is that a code violation? If so, why?
Just one section of code that comes to mind
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEC 2008

314.20
In Wall or Ceiling. In walls or ceilings with a surface

of concrete, tile, gypsum, plaster, or other noncombus-
tible material, boxes employing a flush-type cover or faceplate
shall be installed so that the front edge of the box, plaster ring,
extension ring, or listed extender will not be set back of the
finished surface more than 6 mm (V4 in.).
In walls and ceilings constructed of wood or other combustible
surface material, boxes, plaster rings, extension
rings, or listed extenders shall be flush with the finished
surface or project therefrom.

Having a portion of the box covered with plaster/drywall would violate this code.

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