Questions tagged [switch]

For questions about switches, i.e. electrical devices used to manually open and close an electric circuit on a routine basis.

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61 votes
11 answers
92k views

When I turn down the dimmer switch on my lights, do I actually use less electricity?

My wife and I have several lights on dimmer switches throughout our home. We generally prefer the ambient lighting provided by dimmed lights. I am curious, though, if we are saving any electricity by ...
ahsteele's user avatar
  • 947
41 votes
5 answers
56k views

If a light bulb is dead, does it still consume electricity if the switch is in ON?

It's been a week since a light bulb in the bathroom died. I'm wondering if the bulb is dead, does it still consume electricity if the switch is in ON? The light is completely dead, no light ...
user3108698's user avatar
41 votes
4 answers
328k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
Doug Porter's user avatar
26 votes
3 answers
9k views

Do I really need to include a wall switched lighting outlet in every room?

According to the Black & Decker Wiring book, the NEC indicates that each room should include at least one "switch-operated lighting outlet". Is that true even in rooms that have overhead ...
Trevor's user avatar
  • 785
23 votes
3 answers
3k views

First time changing switches and outlets (receptacles). Anything special I should know?

I am replacing a bunch of switches and receptacles in my house. While I understand the basics, this is pretty much my first electrical project, and I figure there must be some hidden "gotchas" or ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
76k views

Lutron LED/CFL Dimmer switch turns lights off the wrong way, up is down and down is up. What's the problem?

I bought the $20 Lutron Dimmer Switch (TGCL-153PH-WH) from my local big box hardware store. It dims the Cree LED bulbs great. There is just one problem... no matter how I install the wires the switch ...
John's user avatar
  • 351
20 votes
4 answers
6k views

What should I do with a powered switch that seemingly does nothing?

In my house, I fortunately have a well-labeled circuit breaker. There are a few rooms that could be better named, but it's fine. As such, it's very easy to identify almost every switch and what it ...
Merlin -they-them-'s user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
12k views

Is there a benefit to having a switch control an outlet?

In my house there is a switch in every room that controls an outlet. I’ve asked my electrician to remove that so that the outlet is always on. He says it’s safer to have a “control switch” but I can’...
Shamoon's user avatar
  • 335
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is my multi-switch lighting circuit plan valid?

Is this wiring valid? If not, please explain how it could be corrected? I replaced the original diagram with this one based on corrections and clarifications recommended in the comments.
Ken Smith's user avatar
  • 371
16 votes
4 answers
455k views

How can I override a motion detector light?

I am going to be installing one or two motion detector lights to cover my backyard. I would like the ability to "override" the motion detector. What I mean by this is that I would like to be able to ...
Kellenjb's user avatar
  • 2,060
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

3 position light switch beeps and flashes when down

I’ve come across something I’ve never seen before and can’t find anything on the internet about. My house has a light switch by the front door that powers my exterior lights. The switch has 3 ...
Michael Swift's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
125k views

Should I put a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?

I have a ceiling fan on our bedroom's vaulted ceiling. Since we don't want 7' pull-cords, the speed is stuck at full-tilt, which is no good. The fan has separate switches on the wall for lights and ...
Dov's user avatar
  • 329
14 votes
5 answers
13k views

Why would a switch be wired with its neutral connected to ground?

I'm rewiring a few bedrooms in my house and came across some interesting wiring on both of them: The wire at the bottom is the power source and the wire at the top goes up to the light/fan. Why ...
jjj's user avatar
  • 301
14 votes
7 answers
57k views

Why do electricians prefer not to use the push-in connections on receptacles?

Why do electricians prefer not to use the back-stab or quick connect holes on switches and receptacles? If these were unreliable do you think they would be allowed by the NFPA and NEC?
Dave B's user avatar
  • 181
14 votes
7 answers
5k views

Light switch on concrete wall

My house came with a light switch installed on a concrete wall in the basement using a metal conduit, and a 1-gang metal box. Unfortunately, the light switch plate sticks out and it's easy to get ...
user142271's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
72k views

How can I install this programmable switch where a neutral is not present?

I'm trying install this programmable switch but the instructions do not match reality. The instructions refer to the existence of a black (load) cable and a white (neutral) cable supposedly coming out ...
amh's user avatar
  • 631
13 votes
5 answers
22k views

Do I NEED to use correct colors when wiring always?

What I am wondering is if there is any code that is violated if the wrong colors are used in wiring outlets? For example, it is standard to use white as neutral and black as power but if I only had ...
Eric F's user avatar
  • 732
13 votes
6 answers
14k views

Identifying Wires behind Light Switch

I am trying to upgrade my rocker switches to Smart Switches and ran into a problem identifying wires behind the old switches. It seems that the old switch is connected with a ground and 2 white ...
Tony's user avatar
  • 139
13 votes
3 answers
191k views

How can I eliminate one 3-way switch to leave just one switch on the lighting circuit it's on?

I have two sets of lights in my kitchen. At one end of the kitchen, I have a 2 Gang light switch which operates both sets of lights, and at the other end I have a single light switch which operates ...
Roy's user avatar
  • 131
13 votes
2 answers
139k views

Is it ok to wire light switches and lights with 12/2 cable?

It sounds like light switches and lights are usually wired with 14/2 cable. Is it okay to use 12/2 cable instead? Would I need special switches?
99miles's user avatar
  • 231
13 votes
3 answers
41k views

Are all rectangular outlets, switches, and plates the same dimensions and interchangeable?

Do I need to make sure my switches, plates, and outlets are from the same manufacturer or can I mix and match? I'm referring to the rectangular decora-style and wasn't sure if there'd be slight ...
Ben McCann's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
22k views

How exactly does a 3-way switch work?

I just finished replacing all of the switches and outlets in my apartment, after fighting a long war with a weird 3-way switch. Needless to say, I won, but I'm still trying to grasp the concept of how ...
Naftuli Kay's user avatar
  • 1,161
12 votes
5 answers
134k views

What kind of wall switch is needed for a natural gas fireplace to ignite consistently?

When we moved in, our natural gas fireplace worked well: Flick the switch & it would ignite. Years later, it started acting erratically: Sometimes, the switch worked, other times, no luck. We'd ...
Chris W. Rea's user avatar
  • 1,495
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Can't put screw back in toggle switch

I removed this screw from toggle switch and can't put back in. It just won't go back in. Is it possible to put it back or I was not supposed to take it out completely?
user2716454's user avatar
  • 1,165
11 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can I make it so that locking a deadbolt switches on the porch light?

I have a detached garage, which was unfortunately the setting for a recent bike heist in my neighborhood. I would like to start locking the garage door at night. The door is a normal metal clad ...
lollipopman's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is this the kind of situation where aluminium wiring is potentially dangerous?

I recently moved into a rental that has aluminum wiring. My understanding is that the wiring itself isn't dangerous, it's just the interface between aluminum and copper where you have problems ...
conman's user avatar
  • 766
11 votes
4 answers
234k views

Can I use a 3-way switch as a single-pole switch?

Can I connect a 3 way switch to be used as a single pole? I accidentally purchased a couple of them and only need to control one light each.
Steve Salowitz's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
52k views

Convert One 3-Way Light Switch to Belkin WeMo Light Switch (Single Pole)

Our foyer chandelier has three switches that control it. I want to control it with a Belkin WeMo light switch, which specifically states is not compatible with 3-way switches/fixtures, sadly. Well, if ...
purefusion's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Installing a new lighting circuit with the switch in a weird place-- is it correct?

As titled, I'm planning on installing a new 15A lighting circuit for my unfinished basement with 6 new 40W LED fixtures. The fixtures themselves are direct wire and UL listed. The diagram I drew up ...
J.D. Mallen's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
6k views

Lights are flickering on and off after accidentally bumping into light switch

During the night, I accidentally bumped into my light switch, jamming it in towards itself. Now, the lights in my room will sometimes flicker on and off very quickly when after turning on the lights. ...
José's user avatar
  • 109
10 votes
1 answer
217k views

Is it normal to have a light switch setup using only the hot wire?

I was changing the light switches around the house when I came upon this setup. The two switches to the right are all wired using the hot wire (black) from the two electrical wires on the back panel. ...
Pierre-Alain Vigeant's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Where can I get a switch for a 30A circuit?

I would like to add a switch to a 30A plug, but I am having trouble finding one (they are all rated at 15a/20a). Is there a reason you can't buy 30A switches or is it called something different? To ...
Alan Jackson's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
33k views

How do you weatherproof a light switch?

I have a switch that I would like to put in a workshop in a potentially damp location. It's not going to be outside in the rain, but it's entirely possible that at some point water might get splashed ...
Hank's user avatar
  • 14k
10 votes
3 answers
985 views

How should I rewire this situation?

In my dinning room, I have this: There is a wire run going up through the floor from the basement. It then goes outside the wall, around a stud (or studs, I'm can't tell there is more than one), back ...
Scribblemacher's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
79k views

How do I rewire a switched receptacle and make it permanently hot

I have a light switch that controls the top half and bottom half of a nearby receptacle. How do I disconnect this switch and make both halves of the receptacle permanently hot? There are other ...
Ethan N's user avatar
  • 267
9 votes
6 answers
10k views

How to reverse a three way switch?

I have a set of lights that are controlled by two different switches. Flipping either switch at any time always changes the state of the lights (on to off or off to on). I have OCD and so I want both ...
Aaron_H's user avatar
  • 289
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do I attach two hot wires to a single terminal?

I've got a hot wire in two wires out for two rooms. The two wires aren't sitting right under the screw in the switch and I believe it's fried the switch. It's been a long time since I've done any ...
james weible's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why’s my new outlet tripping the switch in the panel?

So I bought new outlets to replace the old ones in my house and everything was going fine until I reached the kitchen. The panel switch for this particular plug is split between two (a/b) (if that ...
ACanadianCoder's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are my new switches operating in reverse?

I was replacing three old switches with two new switches a timer. The prior owner's install was as follows: White wires all bundled One black wire (hot) running across all three switches The ...
josephorapronobis's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
6k views

Electrical Outlets with Screw hole in center

I noticed some outlets have screw holes in the center, other outlets do not. What is the exact terminology/name for outlets types with holes in center? These are the kinds I need, just curious. ...
mattsmith5's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

How do I replace this switch/outlet combo?

How do I replace when there are only three wires? Old combo switch: Left side wiring: Right side wiring:
Tom L's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
8 answers
21k views

Home light switch circuit with 5 switches

I am new to the amazing world of electronics and am starting out small. I think... Early 2010, the wife and I bought a house that was built in 1979. Now I started replacing light switches and ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 191
8 votes
2 answers
16k views

Which wire goes to which terminal on this single pole switch?

I have a simple light switch I want to get hooked up but not 100% sure if it will work. The switch has 1 brass screw on each side and 1 green screw. I read that the black/red wire should go to the ...
Question Man's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I use green wire in a residential wall box?

This is a 1985 home wired with typical NM-B wire and plastic wall boxes. I have a few light switches around the house that have no ground connection. There are ground wires in the box, but the ...
smitelli's user avatar
  • 591
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Replacing a light switch in a 1964 house

I'm new to this so Warning dumb questions ahead. I need to replace a few old light switches and the first light is controlled by an upstairs and downstairs switch. When I opened the area the switch ...
J G's user avatar
  • 89
8 votes
3 answers
12k views

THHN through EMT - then convert to Romex?

I want to wire outlets and light in my unfinished attic. There is a light switch at the bottom of the stairs, cable (I think THHN?) that runs through EMT through the wall and comes out upstairs and ...
getitdone's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
14k views

What should I do with a double gang box if I no longer need two separate switches?

We're relocating our TV to a side of our living room that has a power outlet controlled by a wall switch. The switch is part of a double gang box (1 switch controls the porch light, the other ...
Mike B's user avatar
  • 8,083
8 votes
4 answers
163k views

How can I install a light fixture in the ceiling of a finished room?

In my dining room, I would like to install a ceiling light in the center of the room. This room is on the ground floor of a colonial two-story, so there is no attic access into the ceiling; my work ...
BTownTKD's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

What kind of light switch is this?

I would like to replace this light switch but I can't figure out what kind of light switch this is. Is it a single pole light switch or three way switch? The only hot wire is the black wire - this box ...
rodriguezonehundred's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
69k views

What type of wire should I run when updating a ceiling fan?

I started to change out my ceiling fan and noticed the support brace is actually laying on the drywall and not firmly attached to a beam. I also noticed the new fan has a blue wire where the wiring in ...
iambriansreed's user avatar

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