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I'm replacing 2 single-pole light switches in my bathroom to decora-style (see image). Would appreciate if someone could verify my plan. Here's more details and photos:

The left switch turns on the fixture above the bathtub, and the right switch turns on both of the fixtures over the sinks (see image).

There are 4 separate cables coming into the junction box, and 2 switches.

The left switch is wired as such:

  • a) 1 Black wire backstabbed into top left hole. This wire goes out through cable #1 on far left. My [novice] guess is this a load wire going to fixture #1.
  • b) 1 Black wire backstabbed into top right hole. Guessing its another load wire also going to fixture #1 ? This wire goes out through cable #2.
  • c) 1 Black wire attached to screw on right. Guessing this is my hot line wire. This wire comes in through cable #3.

The right switch is wired:

  • d) 1 black wire is a 'jumper' taken from the left switches right side screw, and attached to the right side's backstab.
  • e) 1 black wire backstabbed into top right hole. Load wire to fixture #2? This wire goes out through cable #4.

Plan

See image for the 2 Eaton light switches , decora style. I want to check if this is the recommended way to wire them:

Left switch

  • attach item a) from above to top screw.
  • Take a 5-port Wago 221 connector (see image) and attach item c) to it. Because we need to power both switches using it, make 2 pigtails. Pigtail #1 will be attached to the Wago and the other end to the bottom screw of the left switch. Pigtail #2 will be attached to the wago, then the other end to the top screw of the right switch. We can discard item d) jumper that was previously daisy-chaining .
  • back-wire item b) to the bottom screw (these Eaton switches let you terminate 2 wires via the back-wire holes which are clamped down by tightening the screw).

Right switch:

  • attach item e) from above to bottom screw.

Is this plan good? So essentially the left switch will have 1 black top screw, and 2 blacks on bottom screw. The right switch will have 1 black top and 1 black bottom.

I'm a bit uncertain if my Wago should also have item b) attached to it as well? Because in the original setup it appears items b), c) , and d) were technically all electronically connected via the same terminal.

Pics below, and thanks again for any help. This is a 1979 house and im a novice DIY'er learning as best I can. wagos

decora

enter image description here

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  • "Guessing this is my hot line wire." Be careful about this assumption. I recently worked on a switch where the wire jumping the two switches was actually the load for the rest of the circuit. The line was backstabbed. Mar 2, 2023 at 16:25

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On any switch or receptacle, the backstab hole is electrically connected with the screw next to it. So for switch 1, right backstab and right screw are electrically connected. Using your existing numbering, and assuming all 4 white wires are together in one happy wire nut or Wago bundle (so therefore not talking about the neutrals here):

Cable 1 = switched hot to fixture 1 Cable 2 = incoming hot or outgoing hot (to another switch or receptacle) Cable 3 = incoming hot or outgoing hot (to another switch or receptacle) Cable 4 = switched hot to fixture 2

It is possible to figure out cable 2 vs. cable 3 by disconnecting and carefully separating the wires and then turning power on to test which wire is actually hot. But not really necessary as we know they go together.

Note that you can't put two wires under an ordinary screw. What you might have now (can't tell from the picture) on the switch 1 right screw is actually one wire with a little bit of insulation removed to loop around the screw. If that's the case, I'd redo it with a proper pigtail.

The good news is that the new switches look like "screw to clamp". Check the instructions to be sure, but if that's the case then (a) they can handle two wires per screw and (b) the wires can go straight in instead of having to make a hook. (You can only use two wires if you do it that way - if you use the traditional hook then that goes above the clamp and only one wire per screw.) However, all your connections are either 1 (any screw can handle that) or 3 (no screw can handle that). So:

  • Switch 1 - one screw gets cable 1 (switched hot) and the other screw gets a pigtail
  • Switch 2 - one screw gets cable 4 (switched hot) and the other screw gets a pigtail
  • Use one Wago to connect: switch 1 pigtail, switch 2 pigtail, cable 2 hot, cable 3 hot.

If someday you decide to install smart switches that require neutral, you add a pigtail to the existing wire nut or Wago (if it is a wire nut then it may make sense at that point to switch to a new Wago since you have a box of them) and connect that to the neutral position on the switch(es).

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    thank you @manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact . Re : "What you might have now (can't tell from the picture) on the switch 1 right screw is actually one wire with a little bit of insulation removed to loop around the screw" --good call, you were right that it was simply 1 wire whose insulation was removed. So I detached it, trimmed it, and put it into the wago. Did new wiring as you suggested and it's all done now- everything is powered and switched correctly , no issues. thank you again ! Mar 2, 2023 at 20:31
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    the new switch has traditional screw, screw to clamp and a backstab. So theoretically it could handle 3 wires, but backstabs shouldn't be used anyway. Mar 3, 2023 at 2:52

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