I've never seen this setup before and was wondering if others had. One of the switches powers a ceiling light in the foyer and the other powers two outside lights on the front porch. Right now neither work and I thought maybe replacing the switches would work but I'm perplexed on how to wire this up properly.

Basically I have three black wires coming from the wall. All of the white wires are twisted together. The switch on the left has two black wires and the switch on the right has one wire running to both posts...

Any help would be much appreciated!

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  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. What changed between when this worked and when it didn't? (A switch with one wire going to both terminals isn't going to do anything for you...) And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


The wire nut in the middle has three black wires going to it, so it's likely the feed in, that then gets daisy-chained out to other fixtures. Looks like all 4 neutrals (one in, one out to other fixtures, and the two to the fixtures switched here) are commoned in the wire nut at the back of the box.

From that live junction, it then feeds the switch on the right, and then the loop going to the other terminal of the same switch is clearly in the wrong place.

I'd guess that the two wires to the left switch are the two switched feeds out to your two loads, so you need to swap one (back) with the loop wire on the right switch, such that the feed goes to both switches, and the switched sides are one to each switch.

How exactly did these wires get swapped? It clearly has not been like this from the beginning.

  • I think this is exactly it. Check to see if the right switch is hot. If it is, you have power to the box. Check to see if the left switch has nothing hot. If not, those are your switch legs.
    – Valkor
    Commented Jul 23, 2019 at 19:33

That didn't get that way by itself.

In multiple-switch situations, it is quite common for both switched devices to be powered from the same circuit. Hot wires are switched (neutrals aren't), so we are working with "hots".

A switch connects supply hot to a switched-hot wire (that is only energized when the switch is on).

Since both switches use the same supply, the supply wire must be "split" to both switches. There are several ways to do that.

This particular way involves the wire looping around one terminal of switch 1, and then going to one terminal of switch 2.

The remaining two wires, each a switched-hot, go to the remaining switch terminals.

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