I have three switches by my kitchen sink. One for the dish washer, one for the sink disposal, and one for the light above the sink. Three separate circuits. I purchased a Leviton 3 toggle switch with one pole on one side and three poles on the other. The sales person said to tie all of the hot wires together to the single pole and the other three wires to the three pole side. When I tied two of the hots together and turned the breaker back on it was like the 4th of July !!! I used a volt meter to isolate the hots from the nots. So I know I followed the advise. The instructions on the box show the hot side going to the single pole but don't mention multiple hot feeds to the single pole. Is the issue that you can't tie different circuit hot sides together ? Is this switch just made to feed three different devices from one circuit ?

Thanks to everyone that replied to my question. Yes.. in retrospect I created a 240v circuit by putting the two 120v circuits together. Should have known better, but the resident expert at my local big box home improvement store told me that was what I needed to do. I realized the switch was probably meant for one single circuit after the sparks. Just wanted verification. Thank you all for your advice.

  • Why is your dishwasher on a switch? – Mazura Oct 26 '14 at 10:17
  • It is a code requirement where I live to have a wall switch in addition to the on/off on the front panel of the dishwasher. – user27350 Oct 26 '14 at 14:57

Don't do it! If the devices are on separate circuits, you cannot "tie" them together.

If you're in the USA and use single phase service, you've likely turned a 120 Volt circuit into a 240 Volt short-circuit. You've directly connected the two legs of the service, causing a short-circuit.

The switch is intended to control three branches of a single circuit.

  • A suggested clarification to your answer. He's probably tied together two hots from different legs, producing a short-circuit on a 240V circuit. – DoxyLover Oct 26 '14 at 5:24
  • @DoxyLover edited – Tester101 Oct 26 '14 at 5:59

You can have two independent circuits on a double if you break its link tab off, but not on any triple that I know currently being manufactured, Ebay:

I don't think they make the one (justanswer.com) on the right anymore:

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  • Who knew, they still make them. homedepot.com/p/… and only $16 – Some Guy Mar 28 '15 at 0:25
  • @SomeGuy Yea, but with three separate commons? – Mazura Mar 28 '15 at 0:30
  • 1
    In the cut sheet, eaton promises us it is 3 single pole switches in the 7729 style. cooperindustries.com/content/dam/public/wiringdevices/… annoyed that they do not show the back of the switch in their literature - a different question 'separate common' ? Residential service will only have 1 neutral, do you need separate common wires? – Some Guy Mar 28 '15 at 0:52
  • Neat- I didn't know they made combination 3 ways. I meant common terminal. – Mazura Mar 28 '15 at 1:01

Yes, it is made to supply multiple loads from a single hot source. If you use a single hot (as opposed to tying the hots together) it will work but will likely overload that hot conductor, the switch, and trip the breaker. Your dishwasher and disposer pull a significant inductive load (they both have electric motors) and should be supplied by a dedicated circuit, never combined. I don't understand why you would switch control the dishwasher anyway? When you tied the two hots together you likely made a "phase to phase" connection, you are lucky you did not get hurt or start a fire.

Please put the switches back to their original arrangement, but use heavy duty switches for the motor driven appliances. Please be careful, or call an electrician.

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