I’ve changed multiple switches around the house but I have come across one in the kitchen that has me confused.

The light switch has two red wires and one black. I tried connecting the new one thinking I new how ( The picture shows the wires connected to the new light switch ) but something is wrong because the light will not turn on now.

All the wires seem to have electricity coming through them as I have tested them with a non voltage tester.

I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. Can some one please help.

The second picture added shows the old switch. The two red wires were inserted in the top two holes and the black was inserted at the bottom left hole.

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  • 2
    You’ve connected a red wire to the switch’s ground terminal (green screw). This is almost certainly wrong. Ground wires should always be green or bare. Do you remember how the wires were connected to the old switch?
    – DoxyLover
    Jun 5, 2020 at 8:12
  • Yes I have inserted a new picture witch shows the old switch. One red wire was inserted on the top left and the other on the top right. The black was inserted in the bottom left. Jun 5, 2020 at 11:59
  • 1
    Does the old switch have "on" and "off" on the toggle? 3 way switches do not, 2 way switches do. I'm pretty sure your old switch is a 3 way. If you can't find the other one, it may have been abandoned someplace and they just left the old 3 way in place. But at least get that red wire off the green screw, you might applying power to the body of the switch. You may need a real multi-meter to sort this out. Those non-contact voltage testers don't tell you much other than power is present, not how much. Jun 5, 2020 at 13:52
  • 1
    Your right. It believe it is a three way switch. The toggle doesn’t say on or off. Makes sense now. Jun 5, 2020 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


If there is another switch in or near this room that also controls the same light or device then you need a 3 way switch to replace the old switch not the 2 way you are using. If this is the case, then the black wire is probably the feed and the 2 reds are the travelers to the 2nd switch.

  • Yes there is but the that switch controls a different light. Each switch in the house controls only one light. Jun 5, 2020 at 12:04
  • At one time,there could have been another 3 way switch in the same circuit and someone for some reason decided not to use it or thought it was not needed so now you only have 1 switch in 1 location.
    – d.george
    Jun 18, 2020 at 10:39

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