I have a two-switch box (2 gang?). One switch (right switch in pictures) is a 3-way switch that controls an overhead light, while the other is a smart switch (left switch in pictures) added by the previous homeowner to control the external lights. A recent power failure has reset the smart switch to a state where it is no longer functional. I'm attempting to replace the switch with a "dumb" switch, but am surprised by the wiring. The smart switch has a neutral, load, and line. The load seems to be coming from the other switch in the box.

I'm trying to understand the current state of the wiring so that I might properly replace the switch. I've attached some hopefully ok-ish quality photos of what I've seen behind the plate. Please let me know if there are more specifics that would make this clearer.

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    Smart switches need neutral, dumb switches do not. Just remove or cap/wire nut the neutral and away you go.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 16:52
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    @crip yep, easy peasy, just remove the white neutral that went to the smart (now dumber than a dumb switch! LOL) and connect the two blacks to the dumb switch, like others have said, it makes no difference to a dumb switch which is load and which is line. Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Line and load go to the two screw terminals on the new switch. On a dumb switch it doesn't matter which one you use for line vs. load (just don't use the ground screw for line or load!) It should be line coming from the other switch, not load, and it looks like line to me in the picture.

Remove the neutral wire from the bundle of neutrals. Make sure the wire nut is securely attached after replacing it.

Do not use "back stab" connectors. Either loop around the screw properly or use "screw to clamp" which you will find on better quality ($2 instead of $1) switches.

With a plastic box, grounds should all be connected to each other and to the switches, provided the switches have a ground screw. (Some older switches don't, and they're grandfathered in.)

With a metal box, grounds should all be connected to the box with a ground screw, and the switches ground automagically through the yokes, provided there is metal-to-metal contact.

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    You're right, it's line coming from the other switch. I'm not as familiar with these terms as I'd like. Thanks for your quick reply, makes total sense to me :)
    – Sean
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 17:16
  • @Sean feel free to use "supply" or "source" for the power source side, and "onward" or "switched-hot" for the switched side. In fact the terms Line and Load are special, and shouldn't be used anywhere except smart switches... and GFCIs (where they don't necessarily correspond to supply and onward, e.g. often, both are Line). Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 18:06
  • Thanks Harper, that makes more sense to me.
    – Sean
    Commented Aug 18, 2022 at 18:32

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