1950s house. I've been updating the light switches around the place and everything has been straight forward for the most part but going to swap these switches out I encountered this wiring that I don't really understand.

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The left switch controls a front door light and the right switch controls an entryway light, neither are controlled by a third switch.

Is the wiring as is, safe? If so, what would I need to know to replace the switches? Thank you

  • 2
    it would be called "shortcut"
    – Traveler
    Sep 23, 2023 at 21:40
  • 1
    Screws should have only one wire on them. It will depend if it is two wires or one wire with a bit of insulation removed to make a loop. Remove the tape and make there is a proper wire nut connecting the wires. This is done with the breaker off.
    – crip659
    Sep 23, 2023 at 21:41
  • 1
    On the left switch you have a always hot coming in, from there it is also feeding the right switch with always hot (split)
    – Traveler
    Sep 23, 2023 at 21:42
  • thanks @asinine is this a normal way to wire switches? Sep 23, 2023 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


This is a fairly normal practice. You have a hot going to the switch on the left and then looping to feed the switch on the right. As long as it's the same wire,it's OK. What you can't do is hoop two wires around the same screw. You also don't want to use the back stabs to do this. The black hot has a glob of tape around it and you'll need to see what's under there. It looks like a poorly done splice since there's no wire nut there. Remove the tape and splice and replace the wire going to both switches with a longer piece and use a wire nut to connect the new wire to the old one. You could also take two short pieces of wire, one for each switch, and pigtail them to the old wire.


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