We are replacing light switches for color change reasons. Our home was built in 1996 and was a panelized system. The wiring was already in the panels when they arrived at the site and we’re finding switches with two black connected to each switch with both the white wires bundled inside the box and the grounds bundled inside the box, but neither connected.

We’ve never had an issue with electrical to date,but are concerned that replacing them with the same wiring configuration may not be up to code. The majority of the rooms have 2-4 switches in the same box.

  • 2
    That is pretty standard for light switches. Only the hot needs to be switched.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 28, 2023 at 17:54
  • 1
    Are the boxes metal? Oct 28, 2023 at 19:19
  • 1
    sounds nice, I wish I had accessible neutrals. What's the question?
    – dandavis
    Oct 28, 2023 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


I assume the whites are connected together and the grounds are connect together. The whites generally are not switched by may be pigtailed to to provide intelligent functions.

I have heard electricians argue about if it was ever legal to not ground light switches (called snap switches in the NEC), but it really doesn't matter: Modifications done now must meet current code.

The NEC now specifies:

404.9(B) Grounding. Snap switches, dimmers, and control switches shall be connected to an equipment grounding conductor and shall provide a means to connect metal faceplates to the equipment grounding conductor, whether or not a metal faceplate is installed. Metal faceplates shall be bonded to the equipment grounding conductor. Snap switches, dimmers, control switches, and metal faceplates shall be connected to an equipment grounding conductor using either of the following methods:
(1)The switch is mounted with metal screws to a metal box or metal cover that is connected to an equipment grounding conductor or to a nonmetallic box with integral means for connecting to an equipment grounding conductor
(2)An equipment grounding conductor or equipment bonding jumper is connected to an equipment grounding termination of the snap switch.

There are extensive exceptions for old boxes without grounds and plastic yokes and the like, but don't do that.

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