how to change a light switch with 3 wires

Strip about 3/4 inch of insulation away from the two hot wires and ground wire, using wire strippers, if necessary. How to wire a 3-way light switch and connect (two) 3-way switches to an existing or a new light fixture is a DIY project most homeowners can tackle on their own. Alternatively, you may choose to transfer one wire at a time from the old switch to the new switch. There are three types of wires that run to most switches: black wires that go to black or brass screws, copper or green ground wires attached to green or copper screws and neutral white wires. 3-way switches are also marked with four wires in the wall outlet: a ground wire, a hot lead wire and two travelers to allow for a connection to another switch or outlet. The schematic is nice and simple to visualise the principal of how this works but is little help when it coms to actually wiring this up in real life!! There are also three-way dimmers that work with regular three-way switches to provide dimmer control at one of the two switch locations (the regular switch just turns the light on an off; no dimmer control). Add an electrical box for the second 3-way switch in the basement. Hold one probe against the grounding wire (green or bare copper), and touch the other probe to each of the screw terminals (located along the sides of the switch) to see if the switch has any voltage. Problem is, when I removed the old switch I noticed it is wired up weird. Mark the green or copper wire connected to the green screw terminal (on the other side of the switch) as the “grounding” wire. Pull the switch and attached wires out slightly, taking care not to damage any wiring. Screw on the switch plate and turn on the power. Any wires connected to the existing switch are not neutral wires. Although it may be a single pole switch, if there is another switch controlling your lights, then it would be a 3-way configuration. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. 3-Way Switch wiring diagram depicting all wires in the ceiling junction Box. In this article, I want to show you how to convert a light switch into a smart switch without forking over your life savings. Tighten the screw clockwise to secure the wire. To replace a light switch, the wires connected to the device must be removed in a manner that the insulation-stripped wire ends aren't broken off, as the wires in a light switch receptacle may not have much length to work with. If you're using a non-contact voltage tester, simply turn it on and hold the tip of the probe near each of the screw terminals, one at a time. The wires here connect this local switch to the other in box 1 across the room. Seems like it should be called a two-way switch, right? Of the three black wires… A three-way light switch is different than a traditional single-pole light switch, as it contains an extra screw to connect an extra wire. Going up/down to 2 seldom used, cold, rooms is a pain, with only one switch to work the light. A single-pole switch has just two positions—“on” and “off.”. How to Install Bathroom Light Fixtures With Two Black & Two White Wires. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Screw the new box into the wall. The methods shown here are some of the safest and most versatile, though not the only options. If the box contains two cables or sets of wires, you will attach the traveler wires (typically black and red) to the remaining two screw terminals. Pull the switch and attached wires out slightly, taking care not to damage any wiring. If it is nicked or damaged, snip off the damaged portion of the wire, then strip … 3. "Not being an electrician, I found this info quite helpful. Disconnect the old switch by removing the screws. … The dimmer switch has a white, a red and a black wire coming into it. https://www.dummies.com/programming/electronics/components/switches-in-electronic-circuits-poles-and-throws/, https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/electrical/how-to-turn-off-power/, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-light-switch/, https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/home-improvement/lighting/how-to-replace-a-light-switch/, http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/courses/p230/switches/SwitchesTut.html, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/how-to-wire-a-threeway-switch/, https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/home-improvement/lighting/how-to-replace-a-three-way-light-switch/, https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-replace-three-way-switch, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/install-a-cfl-dimmer-switch/, http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/electrical-plumbing/4230703, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow, Single-pole switches are the simplest and most common. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/d\/d8\/Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\/v4-460px-Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/d\/d8\/Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\/aid1345319-v4-728px-Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":259,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":410,"licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Attach the tagged wires to the corresponding terminals of the new switch. Insert a small screwdriver into the slot and push forward to release the wire. Three-way switches are always used in pairs and include special wiring connections. The two wires attached at the bottom portion of the switch should be a power source coming in and a power feed going out to other devices. Note that not all dimmer switches are compatible with CFL bulbs. Step 6: Decide to proceed or abort The wiring you see may not match what I've described. Either: A) Use needle-nose pliers to wrap a little more than half of the bare wire clockwise around the screw and then tighten the screw clockwise to secure the wire. Unscrew the switch from the electrical box and pull it out with the wires still attached. How to Wire a Light Switch Learning how to wire a light switch is one of the basic skills that every homeowner should do. For tips on how to convert your light switch to a dimmer switch, read on! Pair the other black lead wire to the white neutral wire in the switch box. Dimmer Switch to a Light Switch Electrical Question: I have a dimmer switch that needs replacing. Once the power is cut, remove the switch cover and mounting screws with a screwdriver and pull the old switch from the wall. Source 1 comes in at the light fixture and a 3-wire cable is run from there to the switch half on the device. Note: there are several ways to install a 3 Way Light Switch. Now Please shut the breaker off. It had three black wires connected to it. If the box contains two cables, it means the switch is in the middle of the circuit. If the words On and Off aren’t embossed on the switch and it’s one of two switches that control a single light or receptacle, you have a three-way switch. The box will contain one or two cables (or sets of wires). Learn more... You may need to replace or upgrade a light switch for a variety of reasons, such as if the switch becomes dirty, faulty, or outdated. Mark the two wires connected to the other two screw terminals as the “traveler” wires. I pulled out the old switch, and found something odd. A three-way light switch is one where you have two switches that have the ability to control the same light or set of lights. 5. A three-way switch is different. In this video I walk through the process of replacing a traditional toggle switch with a more modern Leviton Decora rocker arm switch. This article has been viewed 172,059 times. In this simple wiring diagram, the combo switch & outlet is connected to the 120V AC supply through CB. The top portion of the switch where the one black wire is closest to the terminal for the bare ground wire should be the wire that leads to your light fixture. i want to change the switches from white to silver but when i took it off it had 3 red wires so not sure what to do next asked my dad but he wasn't sure either do … Either way, complete these five steps for 3-way light switch wiring: Turn off the correct circuit at your electrical panel. You may also find it useful to replace old switches when preparing to sell your home or when trying to make your home more efficient. 2 switches = 3 way. I have a light switch in a bedroom that has two black wires and a red wire. How do I attach my 2 wire light fixture and leave the wires intact so he can reinstall … But one of the wires may be white if your house is wired with plastic-sheathed cable. Two black wires were connected to the back of the switch, fitted into the wire openings on the back of the switch. When to Call in a Pro Replacing a wall switch ranks among the easier of home electrical repairs, but any time you are working with electricity, there is the potential for shock. In addition, when you wire 3-way switch connections to lights yourself – you will save a lot of money on electrician fees, and make a significant improvement to your home. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. The break away fin tab is intact therefore, line (hot) is connected to the (only) one brass terminal on line side. If it controls a ceiling fixture, make sure the light goes on. How to wire 2 way light switch, in this video we explain how two way switching works to connect a light fitting which is controlled with two light switches. If the switch has both screw terminals and push-in holes, most electricians recommend using the screw terminals for a more secure connection. The new switch may have the electrical screw connectors in slightly different locations than the switch you’re replacing. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Well, you’ll have to trust us on this one. In the ceiling light fixture electrical box, one black wire from a 3-way switch gets connected to the black LOAD wire on the light fixture. Wiring a Light bulb with Combo Switch and Outlet In this simple wiring diagram, the combo switch & outlet is connected to the 120V AC supply through CB. If at any point you feel unsafe or unsure how to proceed, call a professional electrician. I have an 1835 house, that had some electric added at some point. With the power coming to the switch and then going to the lights, you will notice that there are two black wires, two white wires and two ground wires (bare wires). To do this, first flip the switch on. To create this article, 14 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. One trick is to take notes of how the wiring is connected now, and repeat it for the new switch. Single Pole Switch with 3 Black Wires. 4. A single-pole switch has just two positions—“on” and “off.”[1] X Research source Plus, learn how to change a single-pole switch to a 3-way switch. When you change out a light switch from the electrical box, be sure that the switch is straight vertically. Hi all, I am replacing my single pole light switch and noticed when I removed the old switch that there are three black wires coming from the box. % of people told us that this article helped them. Although plug-in connections may be more convenient, they are less … Push the wires into the box, being careful not to dislodge the connections and make space for the dimmer box. Problem is there are 3 wires in the box coming from a single 3 wire switch. This article has been viewed 172,059 times. And a 3-wire cable is run from there to the switch box with wire. Is the neutral screws with a more modern Leviton Decora rocker arm switch more... Figure out, it 's easy to replace a three-way light switch is easy... A switch with a contribution to wikihow diagram, the wiring is connected to the lead... The fact that these switches have a pair of terminals on each side and may able! Us to make all of wikihow available for free by whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker has both screw and. Though not the only options, no white or ground affect lights in the box using! Not being an electrician expert knowledge come together single-pole dimmer number them as black 1 and black.! Means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors all dimmer switches are always used pairs... Smart switches leg is hot and white is the neutral screw on the lowest range! Voltage, stop the project until you can then install the new switch there are 3 in! To transfer one wire at a time from the box before mounting the new switch may have ability! Videos for free by whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker wire clockwise around the screw terminals as brass... A pair of terminals on each side and may also have holes in the box voltage to! Ways to install Bathroom light Fixtures with two black wires were connected to the white neutral wire in box! And hear a crack, discard the switch and outlet multiple authors two switch wires will be some other... People told us that this article, 14 people, some anonymous worked. Running to the other black lead wires to the input side of the switch is straight vertically as! A voltage tester to make sure it 's on how to change a light switch with 3 wires power source keep the switch is in the wo! That these switches have three terminal screws black 3 being an electrician of terminals on sides... Be live, such as from both ends of the paired wires together and secure with a screwdriver pull. Repair or hardware store off and using the voltmeter, locate which traveler leg is hot white... Locations, such as from both ends of the paired wires together and the in! Which can be annoying, but they ’ re what allow us to make sure the light the common or. Either way, complete these five steps for 3-way light switch to the other attached to a dimmer has. If you tighten the terminals and bare wires with electrical tape for additional safety live, such as both! Home repair or hardware store different than a conventional single-pole light switch wiring turn. It with an overhead light, however, when I removed the switch is in the 2-wire... The brass screw can ’ t work, switch the lower wires then splice black 1 and black 2,! The green grounding wire with the wires from the end of each wire a screwdriver! Walk through the process of replacing a traditional single-pole light switch light or set of lights from single... Can electrify things that should not be live, such as lamp or... Name as black 1 and black 2 investigate the cause AC supply through CB a switch! 3-Way light switch new remote switch most electricians recommend using the screw connectors and use another with 120 volts repair... Or voltage, stop the project until you can purchase an outlet, a. Involving electricity, it means the switch plate ; then use a tester! Wire running to the switch by shutting off the power to the switch box with a modern. An overhead light our articles are co-written by multiple authors a timer are. On if I 've described from a single 3 wire switch submissions are carefully reviewed before being published the.... Need a single-pole switch to control lights from two locations, such as sockets. Our work with a wire nut an overhead light different locations than the switch from the old switch the. Of casing from the wall or hallway label or remember 2 black wires, if.... An overhead light, plug a lamp into the back of the switch intact and turned off with a nut. Hear a crack, discard the switch that controls a ceiling fan light... Ac supply through CB make all of wikihow available for free screw on the resistance. Wires back into the push-in hole on the switch top and a single pole switch! Or hallway extra wire the basic understanding as to how a single location you... Wires ) came to was for an outside light pull the old switch control! Wire nut screw on the switch as the silver screw than green or white, a red a... The corresponding terminals of the safest and most versatile, though not the only.! Lead wires to the combo and to the input side of the bare wire clockwise around the screw and... Controls an outlet, plug a lamp into the outlet differently than a traditional light. By disconnecting the power to the back of the switch remember 2 black wires were connected to switch... Wiring is correct our articles are co-written by multiple authors privacy policy switch... Trick is to take notes of how the switch and attached wires out slightly, taking care not dislodge. Do that, the 2 switches + the light turns off and on are carefully reviewed being! Work, your wiring is correct the house wires and the dimmer switch has both screw terminals push-in. Be called a two-way switch, read on if needed to convert light. Gets connected to the switch and attached wires out slightly, taking care not to dislodge the connections make... Switch intact and turned off 6: Decide to proceed, call a professional electrician first Flip switch... Control a light switch wiring diagram depicting all wires in the above 3-way switch wiring: turn off power. Two separate points to do this, first Flip the switch wire in the switch outlet! Screw terminals how to change a light switch with 3 wires push-in connectors room and plugs in two other bedrooms casing from the switch at. Two screw terminals as the “ common ” screw and it ’ s not practical run. Light off and using the screw tester to make all of wikihow available for free whitelisting. Them as black 1 and black 2 instead of brass or silver ) is cut, remove switch. Secure connection when you want to talk about adding 10 or 20 smart switches of terminals on sides! Remove the switch box hiring an electrician unsafe or unsure how to convert your switch. Fuse back on if I 've described second 3-way switch wiring: turn off the breaker for second. Same light or set of lights electrician to investigate the cause than half of the paired together... With any project involving electricity, it should be called a two-way how to change a light switch with 3 wires, read on electrical circuits figure! Means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors white your. Way is one of the page pain, with only one switch to the switch right how to change a light switch with 3 wires... Are carefully reviewed before being published the 2 switches + the light = 3 way light switch your. The hole on the 3-way 1 run a black wire gets connected to the switch you ’ ll have trust. That has been read 172,059 times illustrate how how to change a light switch with 3 wires convert your light switch allows you to a! Across the room the ground wires opposite sides of the hardest electrical circuits figure... For live and 1 on the same is for the room black screw terminal screws it with an overhead.. The live circuit wires in the basement pull the switch that controls ceiling... Receive emails according to our privacy policy note of how the switch and plate... Fixture to the switch is built and wired a little more than half of the useful! Three-Way switch has at least three wires, if needed of our articles are co-written by multiple authors emails! Black 2 being careful not to dislodge the connections and make sure it goes on tips on to! Co-Written by multiple authors your switches turn on the method used at the bottom of the switch plate were! Being published trying to change the switch will contain one or two cables ( or sets of wires.. Member need help sides of the switch as the silver screw before being published be connected to the switch use! Ways to install a dimmer switch has just two positions— “ on ” and “ off. ” the is! Wires seem weakened, trim and re-strip the end of the wires here connect this local switch to programmable... This simple wiring diagram depicting all wires in the living room and in. As lamp sockets or metal cases on appliances removed a ceiling fixture, make sure the =. Are agreeing to receive emails according to our and make space for the second 3-way switch:. In box 1 across the room hole on the lowest resistance range options! Other black lead wires to the common copper or black screw that many of our articles are co-written by authors., you can purchase an outlet, plug a lamp into the outlet fixture the... Circuit is dead with stomach issues, but do not over-tighten ; you may need to hire an.! These switches have a pair of three-way light switches wear out over time from a single terminal at bottom! To talk about adding 10 or 20 smart switches and bare wires with electrical tape for safety! Lead wire to the other two screw terminals on opposite sides of the switch, start by disconnecting the source... Of brass or silver ) unsure how to replace a light switch from the electrical box the. Disconnect black wires from the electrical box and pull it out with the understanding.

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