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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54
votes
11answers
73k 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 ...
39
votes
3answers
301k 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 ...
38
votes
5answers
30k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
63k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
117k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
382k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
21k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
67k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
35k 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?
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
106k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
107k 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?
11
votes
3answers
25k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
51k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
768 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
798 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
183k 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. ...
9
votes
3answers
133k 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 ...
9
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
49k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
14k views

Should switches in a kitchen area have GFCI protection?

Do the switches on the wall and over the counter areas have to be on a GFCI protected circuit? As there is live power at the switch all the time, I would think this to be true, but I'm not sure.
8
votes
1answer
58k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
26k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
113k views

How do I replace this dimmer switch to a conventional switch?

I want to replace the dimmer switch in my kitchen with a conventional light switch. However I could use a little guidance. I understand the two black wires are the hot wires, and the green is ground....
8
votes
1answer
88k views

How do I wire a GFCI/Switch Combo?

I'm replacing an old GFCI/Switch combo. In the old one there are two wires coming into the line side, a hot wire and a neutral. On the load side there is one wire leading up to the lighting fixture. ...
8
votes
5answers
109k views

Wall Outlet with three sets of wires!

have another issue with another outlet in this very improperly done house I just bought. During my slow replacing of all the wall outlets, I came across this new one which has me baffled on how to ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

When a 15-amp breaker switch seems to be sending too much power

I am doing some wiring from a subpanel. The main panel is sending power via 3-way wiring (3 plus a ground) to the subpanel. This subpanel is intended for both 220 and 110 volt add-ons. I have a 110 ...
7
votes
5answers
8k views

How to turn a pump on or off from any of 12 switches

I have a water pump at my home that I want to connect to 12 switches, so that each one of them can turn the water-pump on/off. Can it be done? Thank you!
7
votes
3answers
35k views

20 amp Circuit, 15 amp switch that controls receptacles ok?

I have a 20 amp circuit in my home (the breaker is 20 amps). On that circuit there is a light switch rated for 15 amps that controls three 15 amp receptacles. Is the 15 amp switch ok, or should it be ...
7
votes
2answers
989 views

How do I install a light socket in the middle of a power line with a switch?

I am replacing a light fixture in the middle of a circuit. Power flows into the fixture from the circuit breaker and out of the fixture to other lights and whatnot. There's also a switch attached. I ...
7
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
149k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
27k views

How can I remove a switch and terminate a circuit in its place?

I have a switch that used to control outdoor lighting. It no longer does any more and I'd like to just leave it off permanently. Is there an easy way I can terminate it from within the gang box? ...
7
votes
4answers
141k 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.
7
votes
3answers
26k views

How do I install a single-pole switch w/ pilot light?

I am trying to replace a very old one-way switch with a pilot light (light comes on when the switch is on). The original switch was extremely old, and used quick-install terminals ONLY. Even worse, ...
7
votes
2answers
39k views

Why does voltage still exists when a circuit is broken by a 3-way switch?

My parents got a ceiling light for my parents for Christmas, which I was tasked with installing. I don't know why I bothered to check the voltage before putting the new fixture on (and after taking ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How should I eliminate an unused switch in a two gang box?

Florida, USA We bought a house with five ceiling fans, each with a light fixture installed. Each fan is controlled by a pair of wall switches in a two-gang box, one for the fan motor and one for the ...
6
votes
4answers
34k views

What happens if ground and neutral are swapped in a light switch?

I’m replacing a light switch in an old house with lots of uncolored wiring. I removed the switch plate to find two black wires (connected to the switch) and a capped up white wire (see photo below). ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

Dimmer switch not connected to ground

I know just the basics of electricity and am trying to replace an older dimmer switch that broke with a new very similar switch. The old switch is not connected to ground. The new switch has the ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

Re-wiring a Lightswitch

I am looking to "close" a light switch that controls an outlet so the circuit is always on. What wires do I need to connect? There are two black wires and one red wire connected to the switch, with ...

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