Attempting to install GE single pole motion light switch. The existing switch controls two lights in a small hallway. Can the single pole motion switch be wired for 2 lights?

  • If the motion sensor only takes two wires (no white neutral wire) it might not work with LED or CFL bulbs. LED bulbs can glow with these types of switches even when off, so check the specs of the switch in detail. – JPhi1618 Feb 22 at 22:33


Full answer: Normally the only restriction is the amount of power. An ordinary switch will be rated for the full power of the circuit - e.g., 1875 W for a 15 A circuit. However, a smart switch, dimmer, motion switch, etc. is much more complex and will typically be rated for less total power. That helps save money as the electronic components don't need to be designed to transmit, switch, dim, etc. as much power or to dissipate as much heat.

The good news is that with CFL and now LED lights - which you should be using pretty much everywhere now as the power savings pay for the bulbs very quickly - the power ratings of switches are typically far more than ordinary residential needs. For example, if you have 2 3-bulb fixtures, in the old days (incandescent), that could easily be 6 x 60 W = 360 W. With typical CFL bulbs, the power used is 13 - 16 W, and with typical LED bulbs 9 - 10 W, for a total of 54 - 96 W.

Just check the rating on the new switch and compare it with your existing bulbs & fixtures. There may be different ratings depending on the type of bulb, but 2 fixtures in a small hallway is unlikely to be a problem.

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