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I am replacing 3 switches. 1 controls a light the other controls the dishwasher and the 3rd controls the disposal.

After replacing the switches,the disposal and dishwasher are not working. I checked the breaker, ruled out bad switches, and still did not find the problem. I noticed the old stitches had no ground screws and the new switches do. All of the white wires are joined and coupled together in the box. I have attached a photo and hopefully I have given enough detail to help with a solution.

[1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/ZetSX.jpgenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Interesting question; let's see if one of our pros can help. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jan 26 at 19:42
  • Why is your dishwasher on a switch to begin with? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 27 at 0:24
  • Not sure bought the house didn’t build it – Jaywieh Jan 28 at 21:05

You have 2 completely different circuits in this box

And you were saying "the breaker"? There are 2 breakers involved.

The two circuits most be totally kept separate by a "Chinese wall". Nothing must cross between them. Seriously. Note that as pictured, nothing does.

Safety ground, those bare wires, may do so (hey, this could've been a metal box). But neutral must not.

enter image description here

I'm a big fan of marking wires. So I've gone ahead in Photoshop and "marked" the various wires by their purpose/function.

Left circuit

  • Black is always-hot from the breaker and onward to other loads.
  • Blue is switched-hot to something (don't know which).
  • Gray neutrals in the back (they're white, just dimly lit) are neutral for this circuit.
  • The neutral wire nut crosses the "line", but it's insulated, so no big deal.

Right circuit

  • Red is always-hot from the other breaker.
  • Orange is a switched-hot to a load.
  • Yellow is a switched-hot to another load.
  • White is the neutrals for this circuit.

A switch switching the yellow wire needs to use the red hot.
A switch switching the orange wire needs to use the red hot.
That's precisely why the red hot has 2 pigtails.

A switch switching the blue wire uses the black hot.

If a "smart switch"/dimmer/timer/motion sensor/whatevs needs a neutral, then it needs to grab the neutral which is partnered to the hot it is using. For instance a smart switch on the yellow wire, also grabs red, and the partner neutrals to those are in the right bundle.

No Exceptions. I don't care if the wire nut is "full" or the wire reaches better. No exceptions. It's not an arbitrary rule, it prevents house fires, and maintainers from getting shocked. GFCI or AFCI protection devices won't work if the rule is broken.

Since the cables will not have changed how they enter the box, you should be able to turn the diagram into actual tape markings on your actual wires. All the colors except orange and gray are sold in a $4 5-pack of colored electrical tape.

This, and knowing which neutrals to use, should make short work of any switch installaions.

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  • I’m trying to understand I got most of your instructions but still a little lost I am attaching hopefully a better image with descriptions of what I see thanks – Jaywieh Jan 28 at 20:14
  • Ok I got what you mean I re read it like 8 times because I’m stupid. I found out that the top far right hits were suppose to be one to the middle bottom and one to the right bottom and the switches that you colored yellow and orange each go to the top of each switch respectively – Jaywieh Jan 28 at 20:32

The two black wires under the red wire nut appear to be the hot feed. Verify this with a voltage tester and then turn off the power. Connect them to the top of each switch. The remaining wires should go to the disposal and dishwasher and should be connected to the bottom of each switch. Connect ground wires to the switches. Turn the power back on and test everything. If all checks out, turn power back off and screw switches back into the box. Turn power back on.

Usually the disposal and dishwasher are on different breakers. See how it's listed on your main panel. You might have to change the switching order.

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  • The new switches have a ground screw but the old ones didn’t. Also the black hot wires we’re screwed in too and bottom and I kept them in the same order on the breaker I have a disposal/sigh washer breaker switch. – Jaywieh Jan 28 at 20:01
  • So the hot wires should go to the top of the switch ? I think they were on top when I removed them – Jaywieh Jan 28 at 20:33
  • It doesn't have to be at the top since it's a simple toggle switch... just a easy way to keep track of the hots. – JACK Jan 28 at 21:09
  • Thanks so now I found the 3 hot wires and 3 switch wires I wired the switch wires on top hot on bottom. Am I ok not grounding how it was before? The switches are currently working with this connection – Jaywieh Jan 29 at 1:43
  • @Jaywieh The new switches have ground screws because they are required to be grounded when grounds are available... You need to ground them. – JACK Jan 29 at 1:56

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