I purchased a single pole boring light switch to replace a not-really-used dimmer, and I want to be cautious and check myself. I apologize if this is a duh question.

The guides all show switches that have one set of wires, or show a switch that is labeled. I have two sets of wires, and my switch just has two identical, unlabeled looking screws on one side and a ground on the other.

To describe the picture...

  1. The white are connected to each other
  2. The ground are connected to each other.
  3. The black (dark green?) are connected each in turn to a wire off of the switch with nuts

Should I just undo the black wires and screw them to either of the copper screws on the new switch? Does the order matter? What about the ground, right now, the two grounds are just lumped together in the box.

Thanks, and again, sorry if this is obvious.enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Single Pole Switch Diagram

  1. Turn power off at electrical panel by turning off the breaker.
  2. Connect the two black wires as shown.
  3. Connect the ground bare wire to the green screw making a clockwise hook so the ground is nice and secure. And tighten.
  4. When you push the switch in make sure the ground is tuck back out of the way as to avoid any problems from ground faults.
  5. Make sure the switch is in the correct upright position.

enter image description here


Yes, no, and pigtail a ground from the other two.

To clarify, the black wires are a hot from the panel and an outgoing hot to the light loop (which comes back as the neutral in the same cable). The switch simply breaks that loop, and you can connect a typical switch in either configuration.

Older switches didn't have ground screws, but now it's standard practice. Procure a 6" length of #14 or #12 bare copper and pigtail from the other two grounds to your switch's green screw.

  • Thanks! It seemed logical, but too dangerous to guess!
    – Ror
    Jun 2, 2016 at 20:03

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