I need to wire about 4 light fixtures through a parallel circuit, I wanted to see if I am going about this the best possible way.

Each fixture needs it's own independent switch.

From the panel I am going into the first fixture's switch box, in the first switch box there will be 3 Romex cables; one from the panel, one that goes to the fixture and one that goes to the next switch box.

In the first switch box I splice all the Romex's neutrals, the hot that goes to the fixtures will go on one of the switches contacts, the hot from the panel will be spiced to the hot that goes to the next switch box and I will add a leg from that splice to go on the remaining switch contact.

I was planning on using this method on all switch boxes to the last in the run.

I was wondering if this was the best possible way of doing the wiring and would love to hear if anyone has any suggestions for a more efficient way.


Your method is fine.

If your area has adopted the 2011 version of the National Electrical Code, this method allows you to wire the circuit using 2 wire cable instead of 3 wire cable. A change to the code now requires a grounded "neutral" conductor at all switch locations that control lighting loads.

National Electrical Code 2011

Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use

Article 404 Switches

I. Installation

404.2 Switch Connections.

(C) Switches Controlling Lighting Loads. Where switches control lighting loads supplied by a grounded general purpose branch circuit, a grounded circuit conductor shall be provided at the switch location.

So if you were to bring the feed to the light outlet first, you'd have to run a 3 wire cable to the switch location. Bringing the feed to the switch first, means there's a grounded "neutral" conductor at the switch, so the code is satisfied.

  • I have a lot more 14/2 than 14/3 around, so I think I will go to the switch boxes first; plus doing my splices there is preferable (to me anyways). – justinw Oct 15 '14 at 13:27

Run the live, neutral, and earth from the panel to the first light fitting, then from that fitting to the next fitting, to the next, etc.

From each fitting, run a live and earth cable to the switch and return a switched live to the fitting.

In the UK, this would be incorporated in one cable run using twin and earth cable.

  • I understand this method CAN save on cable but are there any other benefits? I personally prefer running from the supply to the switch then run a cable from the switch to the light fitting – Jonny Wright Oct 15 '14 at 7:54
  • If your area has adopted National Electrical Code 2011, this method would require you to run a 3 wire cable with ground between the light outlet and the switch box. NEC 2011 requires a grounded "neutral" conductor at all switch locations that control lighting loads (404.2(C)). – Tester101 Oct 15 '14 at 10:02
  • Good point... I've updated the answer to include earth wiring. – John Oct 15 '14 at 12:43
  • The reason I bring the wire in the switch boxes rather than fitting is most of the 'debugging' that might need to be done would happen right at the switch boxes rather than the fittings (which are up in the attic/ceiling). But this is another good method. – justinw Oct 15 '14 at 13:22

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