I a want to change out a pole switch to a timer switch. All makes sense except, there are only two wires on the pole switch and 4 on the new switch. So I only have the white and black and no ground available, but it's a metal box. And the switch also has a red wire. What do i do with the ground and the red?

  • I'm guessing the red in the switch may be for a fan or something, but the ceiling light does not have anything fancy. The biggest issue is I have a ground wire in a metal box without any ground to connect it to. – kathi wheeler Jan 10 '15 at 22:15
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    Please provide the make and model of the timer. – Speedy Petey Jan 11 '15 at 16:04

You should read the instructions included with the new switch. You'll likely find that the black wire is an ungrounded (hot) wire, the white is a grounded (neutral), and the red is the switched "hot" wire.

If there are only two wires coming into the box, you won't be able to connect the timer. The timer requires a grounded (neutral) connection, which is not present in a typical switch loop.

As for the ground wire. If the metal box is grounded, you can connect the ground from the switch to the box. You can connect the ground using a ground screw and the threaded hole in the back of the box, or using a ground clip.

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