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How to Wire a Light Switch

Disconnecting the power and creating tight connections are the most important aspects when learning how to wire a light switch. Electricians strongly recommend that people use terminal screw connections instead of push-in connections. The latter poses a greater risk of coming loose.

Tools Needed

When you’re shopping for tools, be aware that a voltage tester is also known as a wire tester. This handheld device can detect the presence of electrical current in nearby wires.

  • Voltage tester
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire strippers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

How to Wire a Light Switch

How to Wire a Light Switch Steps

  1. You must disconnect the power from the switch wires. To do this, find the circuit breaker for the switch and shut it off.
  2. Use the voltage tester to confirm that power has been disconnected. You can touch the device to the old switch before taking off the cover plate.
  3. Once you ensure the electrical current is absent, use the flat head screwdriver to remove the switch cover plate.
  4. Loosen the terminal screws on the old switch to release the wires.
  5. With the old switch out of the way, you’ll see a white wire, black wire, and green wire. The green wire is the grounding wire. It might also be bare copper without green insulation.
  6. If necessary, use the wire strippers to take off 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of the wires. Bend a hook on the end of each wire.
  7. Loop the hook for the green ground wire in a clockwise direction over the green screw.
  8. Tighten the screw so that the wire is very secure with a Phillips screwdriver.
  9. For single pole switches, it does not matter which of the remaining terminal screws receive the white and black wires.
  10. Loop the hooked ends of the white and black wires in a clockwise direction over the terminal screws.
  11. Tighten screws with Phillips screwdriver.
  12. Place a strip of electrical tape over the terminal screws.
  13. Gently shift and bend wires back into electrical box to fit the switch into place. Make sure that the OFF and ON labels are pointing in the correct direction.
  14. Attach switch with screws to the top and bottom of the box.
  15. Put the cover plate back on with a flat head screwdriver.
  16. Turn the circuit back on and test that the switch is working properly.

Hire a Professional Electrician Today

If you have extensive electrical projects to complete, the electricians at Oliver are available to help. Our licensed company can troubleshoot and repair all indoor and outdoor electrical wiring. Request an estimate for your project today.

Need help with this project?

If you do not have the time, tools, or experience necessary to complete the project, please contact the professionals at Oliver for help.

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