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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34
votes
3answers
258k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
76k 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. ...
6
votes
5answers
82k views

Why am I getting 50V at a light when the switch is off?

I am trying to put in a switch and a light it controls in a storage building and this is how I wired it. Click for larger view When I checked the wiring it registered 120V when the switch was on, ...
12
votes
1answer
20k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
63k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
146k 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
223 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

I need to switch between two 240V 30A loads

I've got a situation where I have a 240V 30A dryer line, and I want to power something else from the same circuit, but NEVER at the same time as the dryer. I'm looking for a switch to use, like a DPDT ...
6
votes
4answers
138k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
107k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What do I need to replace 4 light switches on the same circuit?

So we have a single light in our living room that can be turned on/off from four different switches at various entrances to the living room. We're currently replacing all the switches in our house as ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Why isn't this 3-way wiring working?

Below is a diagram that I drew to help me rewire a couple of switches. The left switch is a standard 3-way switch. The right switch Cooper 275W-BOX combination single pole and 3-way switch. The single ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

wiring 3 way switch

My attic has a ceiling light controlled by two 3 way switches connected with BX 14/3. Source and light wires were old knob & tube now replaced with Romex 14/2. The duplex outlet is a new addition....
6
votes
4answers
25k views

How to add indicator on a light switch to indicate the outdoor 3-way light is on?

Have some carriage lights outside my garage that can be turned on from inside the house. It's common that the switch will get flipped and the lights will stay on when they're not wanted. Is there ...
6
votes
2answers
25k views

How should I wire a GFCI outlet and a switch to isolate the switch but provide GFCI protection further in the series?

I am replacing the outlets for my garbage disposal/dishwasher circuit in my kitchen. Currently on that breaker there is one non-GFCI outlet with a pigtailed switch controlling the garbage disposal and ...
4
votes
5answers
14k views

How does an illuminated switch light up without a neutral

There are some illuminated switches that operate without a neutral. For a lamp that is lit when the switch is ON, I can envision a circuit diagram that has the switch lamp in series with the switched ...
7
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

How does a three-way light switch work?

A three-way light switch allows the light to be controlled from two locations. How does this work?
6
votes
2answers
30k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
499 views

Would this be the correct way to add a timer switch to an existing fan with thermostat?

We have an existing 120V AC exhaust fan wired to simple inline attic fan style thermostat. We would like to add a timer switch so the fan could be manually turned on as needed. Would this be the ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

How to independently switch a GFCI outlet?

I would like to add a plug outside where each plug would be independently switched. The use of this is to be able to switch a rope light and a fan separately. This is being added to a new breaker so ...
3
votes
8answers
39k views

Is there a motion sensor light switch that does not need ground?

My house was built in early 1950's and all electrical switches do not have a ground. This was found out with an electrician when I asked them to install Lutron Maestro, but it would not power on since ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Determine if wire in switch box is safe to re-purpose?

I need to pull a neutral wire to my light switch for a smart switch. It's presently switching an outlet that I don't need switched, and the other side of the outlet already has unswitched power. My ...
2
votes
3answers
662 views

Can I operate a well pump with no pressure tank by using the breaker as a switch?

Working on my cabin. Have a drilled well about 100 feet away (maybe a bit more, uphill). 1 inch black PVC well pipe comes into dirt crawl space, pier construction, under cabin. I brought it ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

Is it possible to do two 3way switched circuits that share a common power source but the power source and the light wire are in the same box?

I'm trying to connect two separate circuits from a single power source using 3way switches. My trouble seems that my wire from my light and my power source are in the same box. Is there a way to do ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Add combo (switch and outlet) with only two wires out of wall for the current light)

I probably have this diagram for my project. Or problem. Facts: a) only 2 wires out of wall, B & W; b) switch ON, lights ON Ceiling electrical box: One black and one white connects to the ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

How can I trace the wires of a circuit?

I have a switch on my bedroom wall that I believe is used to control the outlet on the same wall. However, the outlet has never worked, and the switch doesn't even seem to be connected to the wires in ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Smart switch wiring with no neutral

Long time reader, first time poster. Working on updates for our new house and I bought a few lutron caseta switches the other day to wire up in our front entryway. I went with the PD-6ans which ...
0
votes
2answers
17k views

Troubleshooting 3-way switch

I'm having trouble with a three-way switch. (It may be 4-way, there are switches in my house I can't figure out). I don't recall if they ever worked properly. The light stays on regardless of the ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Pilot light on switch comes on when light is off

First off I know the switch the works I plugged it into a different circuit where I have another one and the pilot light turned on when the switch was on. However when I have it installed in the ...
0
votes
2answers
656 views

light switch conversion 3 gang to 1 gang

I have a three gang box, dimmable, switch, switch. I want to use a wifi capable switch, but it comes with all three switches in a single gang switch. How do you use the existing 3 gang box with only ...
54
votes
11answers
63k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
19k 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?
5
votes
2answers
13k views

Should I convert a single light switch to a receptacle/switch combo?

First I want to say I've done a little research on my question. I'm familiar (I think) with the wiring, but I'm uncertain if my solution is a good one because of what I plan on using the outlets for (...
3
votes
3answers
28k views

No Ground Wires - Can I connect a wire to the metal box for ground?

I want to install new z-wave light switches that require a ground, but it appears that none of the electrical boxes in my house have ground wires and the previous light switches didn't use a ground. ...
8
votes
2answers
97k 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....
6
votes
4answers
84k 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.
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Can a low voltage light switch be located in a closet as opposed to outside the closet?

Okay you guys I have next question. And like all good questions this one begins with a story. I was reading the post about a nick in a wire and read a couple of you mention that light switch in a ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Light Switch Terminals

I am replacing a light switch and found three black wires going to it. Two go to the screw terminals and one goes to the push terminal: I verified with a multimeter that the central and bottom ...
4
votes
4answers
8k views

How can I replace a two way switch with a ZW4001 Z Wave enabled light switch?

I am trying to replace a single switch connected to a single light bulb with a Z Wave enabled switch, model ZW4001Z; a link to the manual for the switch is at the bottom. There is a wiring diagram on ...
4
votes
1answer
6k views

How can I install this programmable switch?

I just had our house re-wired (by a professional, not myself). I'm looking into replacing a light switch with a fancy programmable version (Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B). The location for the ...
3
votes
2answers
583 views

3 way switch issue

I am trying to figure out how to install a 3-way switch. Unfortunately, I did not took any pictures of the previous 3-way switch installment, I thought this would be easy but after I bought the new ...
3
votes
1answer
57k views

How do I wire two lights with a switch?

How do you wire two ceiling lights on one switch? I have installed the switch, and the two lights, but only one light is working. It is the light that the power source enters. My setup is like this:...
3
votes
2answers
953 views

What is the purpose of a GFI outlet tripping on low voltage?

As I went looking for a replacement for a GFI wall outlet, I noticed that the advertised features of one outlet included "low voltage trip" – that is, the GFI will trip not only when a ground fault is ...
3
votes
2answers
611 views

Multi gang switch boxes - Is it okay to keep the same branch neutrals separated for the different lighting/switching circuits?

I recently learned from this community about the importance of keeping currents balanced in each cable. In other words, current in one direction should be canceled by the same amount of current ...
2
votes
1answer
121k views

Why would a light switch be wired with the neutral wire?

I'm having trouble installing a WEMO wall switch. The light I want to use it on is a single on/off switch, not a 3 way switch. When I remove the face plate, the neutral wire is wired to the light ...
1
vote
1answer
922 views

Identifying strange 3 way / 4 way switch wires

I'm new to house wiring (not to electronics) so please forgive me if I'm using the wrong terms. I am replacing three switches (with zwave) in my basement. A pair of 3 way switches and one four way ...
1
vote
1answer
60k views

How do I wire a 3-way motion sensor?

I am trying to install a motion sensor switch on a 3-way switch in my laundry room. both 3-way switches function normally if I use them now. One 3 way switch, we will call it #1, is by itself. It has ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Help wiring 1-pole switch + USB in single outlet

I have the two products below and I need them to go in a single gang box that used to be a simple 1-pole switch. Product pages: http://www.legrand.ca/adorne/select/switches/aspd1531w8.aspx http://...
13
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...