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How to wire a light switch

Posted on11 Months ago by 5398
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Wiring a light switch

Electricity projects can be tricky and difficult for many people but some of them are easy to do like wiring a light switch that is so simple that anyone can do this. With proper knowledge and few steps, anyone can do this job without hiring a professional electrician. Every homeowner should know how to wire a light switch. As the owner of a house, you probably require changing the light switch many times, and hiring an electrician for it is not the ideal choice when you can perform it in just a few minutes. 

wiring a light switch on the wall electrical connection

How a single pole light switch works

The simplest form of a light switch in every house is the single pole light switch. Standard single pole light switches have two screw terminals with a ground screw. One of them is for a “hot” wire that supplies the switch from the power source. The second screw terminal is for other hot wire known as switch leg that runs between the light fixture and the switch. The switch leg carries the power to the light when the switch is turned on. The purpose of the ground screw is to connect the circuit ground wire. The single pole light switches don’t connect to neutral circuit wire.

To get the job done, follow our step to step guide on how to wire a light switch outlined below. It is essential to go through the instructions labelled on your specific light switch as the directions can be different for the one you purchased or it varies in terms of technology that needs a different light switch installation procedure. 

How to wire a single pole light switch

It is not a difficult task to wire a light switch but you should have a basic understanding of electricity to get the job done safely. In case you haven’t done such wiring work before, you must hire an electrician for this task. Once you know how to wire a light switch, you will find that it will take no longer than 10 minutes to connect a light switch. The process requires no advanced tools and steps are similar whether you are changing a damaged switch or upgrading it, for instance, a dimmer.

Basic knowledge of wires in single pole light switch

Basic knowledge of wires in single pole light switch 

The brown wire is the hot or load wire. Sometimes is it also red or black.  

The blue or white one is the neutral wire. 

The bare copper (sometimes in a yellow jacket with green stripes) wire is the ground wire. 

A single pole light switch needs a brown wire to attach to the light switch and then the brown wire connecting the switch with your light. The switch acts as a power source cutter to prevent it from reaching the light switch. 

The neutral wire or blue wire bypasses the light switch and reaches directly to the light fixture. This wire is required to complete the electrical circuit.

The copper brass or yellow/green coloured ground wire must be connected to the light switch and the light.

Tools and materials required

Single pole light switch

standard single pole light switch one gang white

Pliers

Pliers red and black for electrical work

Screwdriver

different types of screwdrivers Philips one and flat one

Electrical tape

Electrical tape colour coded for the electrical insulation

Multitool

Multitool very useful piece of equipment

Instructions to wire a light switch

Safety first! Safety at work is really important!

1. Safety first

Before starting anything, turn OFF the power supply and make sure that no power is conducting along the circuit that you will be working on. It is important to do this as a first thing or else it can be fatal! Turning OFF the power supply means switching OFF the breaker from the breaker box that controls the switch you want to replace.

2. Unscrew the switch plate

When you are sure that the power supply has been stopped to this specific switch, take a screwdriver and start unscrewing the switch plate. Many switch plates are screwed with 2 small flathead screws. After that unscrew the old switch in case you want to replace the switch with a new one. Now pull out the switch gently while the wires are still connected to the circuit for now.

3. Look closely to the wires

Notice the layout of all the wires that how they are connected. You will see one wire under each terminal. One will be the brown/black/red wire that is the hot wire and the other can be blue or white. One of them is the power feed and the other is the switch leg as described earlier in this article. The switch terminals are interchangeable so you don’t have to remember which wire is connected to which terminal. Also, you will see a copper brass or yellow/green wire known as the ground wire that connects to a screw on the left side of the switch.

4. Disconnect the switch wiring

To remove the old wiring from the right switch and connect a light switch, loosen the screws holding in place the terminal wires. When you are done, remove the terminal wires and if necessary use pliers to untie the tight coils of wire around the terminal. In the same way, untie and free the ground wire. Now you would be able to take out the switch from the wall

5. Examine the conditions of wires

Check the ends of the wires if they are worn out or damaged. Remove the frayed part of the wire with the help of a wire cutter or multitool. Leave about half an inch of bare wire on each length. It is because the wires weaken over time with continuous usage and experiencing stress, so you should make sure that any part of the wire is not damaged when the wires are reattached to the terminals.

6. Bend the wires to make a round hook

With the help of pliers or multitool, bend the exposed part of each wire and make around the hook. Make sure that the hooks are tight enough to fit securely and neatly around the curve of the screws on the light switch.

7. Wire the new single pole light switch

Now connect the wires to the light switch through the hooked ends. Begin with the black wire and white wire, attaching them to both terminals screws on the right side. The hooks of both wires must be directed in a clockwise position. Now go for the ground green wire and screw it to the left lower side. You can make use of needle-nose pliers if necessary to hold the wires in place as you tighten each screw. 

8. Cover and complete the task

Wrap the electrical tape around the terminal screws to protect it from fire. Now tuck the wires into the box and screw the switch back into the wall. Now reattached the switch plate cover and turn on the breaker to restore the power. 

9. Test your new light switch

After turning on the breaker, test the switch for proper operation, and marvel your electrical skills. This is all and you are ready to light your place

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