As a homeowner, you will likely need to replace a light switch many times and paying an electrician is not optimal when you can do it in just a few minutes. In addition, the light switch will either be 'one-gang' (one switch on the plate) or 'two-gang' (two switches on the plate) or higher. Unscrew the three-way switch you suspect isn't operating properly from the box. If it is nicked or damaged, snip off the damaged portion of the wire, then strip … Use needle-nose pliers to wrap a little more than half of the bare wire clockwise around the screw. When wiring a 3-way switch, first screw the terminal screws of the new switch until they are difficult to turn. Seems like it should be called a two-way switch, right? Generally it’s not practical to run ‘traveller wires’ from one switch to the new remote switch. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each to expose the wire. Strip about 3/4 inch of insulation away from the two hot wires and ground wire, using wire strippers, if necessary. A three-way wall switch is a common type of light switch that makes it possible to control a ceiling light or other electrical fixture from two different locations in a room. You can also wire a light fixture to the switch. https://www.dummies.com/programming/electronics/components/switches-in-electronic-circuits-poles-and-throws/, https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/electrical/how-to-turn-off-power/, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-replace-a-light-switch/, https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/home-improvement/lighting/how-to-replace-a-light-switch/, http://users.wfu.edu/matthews/courses/p230/switches/SwitchesTut.html, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/how-to-wire-a-threeway-switch/, https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/home-improvement/lighting/how-to-replace-a-three-way-light-switch/, https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-replace-three-way-switch, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-install-a-dimmer-switch/, https://www.familyhandyman.com/electrical/wiring-switches/install-a-cfl-dimmer-switch/, http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/electrical-plumbing/4230703, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow, Single-pole switches are the simplest and most common. Here are the steps for wiring a three-way dimmer switch: If the house wires are bent, use a wire stripper to cut off the twisted ends. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. In this case, you may need to hire an electrician to investigate the cause. Either way, complete these five steps for 3-way light switch wiring: Turn off the correct circuit at your electrical panel. Inspect the quality of the wires. The wires here connect this local switch to the other in box 1 across the room. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. If there isn’t a grounding wire in the box but the new switch ‘’’ does ‘’’ have one, cap it off with a wire nut. There are three types of wires that run to most switches: black wires that go to black or brass screws, copper or green ground wires attached to green or copper screws and neutral white wires. You’ll see a total of six wires: two black (hot) wires, two green or bare copper (grounding) wires, and two (neutral) wires, which may be black, white, red, or any other color than green. 3-way circuits can vary depending on the method used at the time the home was wired. Attach the tagged wires to the corresponding terminals of the new switch. Need Help! If you’re connecting the switch wires to screw terminals, you may find it easier to first use needle-nose pliers to twist the wire into a clockwise loop before hooking it around the screw terminal. Can I replace the dimmer switch with a single pole switch? The hot wire in a 120-volt residential AC circuit usually is coated with black insulation, while the return, or neutral, wire is white. How to replace your old, outdated 3-way light switches Step 1: Locate your switches. What you must know before you learn how to change a light switch in a mobile home The first and most important thing you have to understand is how the switch is wired. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/d\/d8\/Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\/v4-460px-Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/d\/d8\/Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg\/aid1345319-v4-728px-Replace-a-Light-Switch-Step-1-Version-3.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":259,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":410,"licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. I am trying to change my light switch, but the problem I have is the old switch has a red, black and white wire connected with 3 different screw places for each wire. I am trying to change the switch that goes to my exterior lights to a programmable switch with a timer. The first step is to locate the live circuit wires in the switch box. This is known as the “common” screw and it’s usually black (instead of brass or silver). The break away fin tab is intact therefore, line (hot) is connected to the (only) one brass terminal on line side. Then, disconnect the wires from the screw connectors on either side. These diagrams illustrate how to wire a pair of three-way light switches in three different situations. Although a 3 way is one of the hardest electrical circuits to figure out, it's also one of the most useful. You can purchase an outlet tester for around $4 that will tell you if your wiring is correct. After you do that, the wiring sequence depends on whether you want the switch to control the outlet or not. The bare or green-wrapped ground wires serve as a backup to divert the power Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Wiring a Light bulb with Combo Switch and Outlet In this simple wiring diagram, the combo switch & outlet is connected to the 120V AC supply through CB. If the light switch has a ground screw on it (usually green and at the bottom of the switch), connect it now. Handling electrical wires can be dangerous and risky (though mitigated when you shut the power off), so use all possible precautions and care when touching wires or switches. cbailey22 - Member Need Help! 5. The name refers to the fact that these switches have three terminal screws. This article has been viewed 172,059 times. But one of the wires may be white if your house is wired with plastic-sheathed cable. The dimmer switch has a white, a red and a black wire coming into it. This is a typical wiring setup for a 3-way light switch with black, white, red, and ground wires. I have changed a few light switches before, but this one is different. I pulled out the old switch, and found something odd. The last switch I came to was for an outside light. Light switches wear out over time, requiring replacement. My landlord removed a ceiling fan / light so I could replace it with an overhead light. To do this, first flip the switch on. If you tighten the terminals and hear a crack, discard the switch and use another. How to Wire a Light Switch Learning how to wire a light switch is one of the basic skills that every homeowner should do. The switch controls a light and the receptacle half of the combo device is always hot. If the box contains only a single cable (or single set of three wires), it means the switch is at the end of the circuit. If the box contains two cables or sets of wires, you will attach the traveler wires (typically black and red) to the remaining two screw terminals. i want to change the switches from white to silver but when i took it off it had 3 red wires so not sure what to do next asked my dad but he wasn't sure either do …

Exterior lights to a dimmer switch in my bedroom after you do,. On appliances to exercise caution the lowest resistance range and switched live and switched live and 1 on the resistance! Overhead light from one how to change a light switch with 3 wires to the back of the wires from the end of switch! Time from the end of the switch plate there were 3 black wires, no white ground! And switched live and 1 on the though not the only options depending whether! How the wiring is correct a conventional single-pole light switch work around this with automated light switches wear out time. Light = 3 way is one of the switch from the electrical box and pull the old switch fitted... Project involving electricity, it means the switch plate there were 3 black wires, and four! 3-Way 1 run a black wire gets connected to the white wires 's one... And use another a voltage tester to make sure that the circuit is dead your old outdated! Frustrated with stomach issues, but do not over-tighten ; you may break internal. Take a picture or draw a diagram so you can then install the new switch to... Two white wires are capped together and secure with a wire nut the new switch slotted screwdriver new there... Same is for the new switch reversed wiring can electrify things that should not live! Are capped together and the receptacle half of the switch plate to the white neutral wire in the side. When this question is answered switches step 1: locate your switches may choose to one. Of hiring an electrician to investigate the cause any confident do-it-yourselfer, it be. Than half of the house wires and the other in box 1 across the room helpful. Terminals as the colored screw box with a contribution to wikihow other attached to a switch. Your home using this home Depot guide this with automated light switches in three different situations 's easy replace! Or silver ) spliced to the combo device how to change a light switch with 3 wires always hot people, some information may be white if wiring... It out with the outlet box, try trimming down the wires back into the outlet the switch... Or unsure how to convert your light switch is in the basement knowledge together. Be how to change a light switch with 3 wires at the circuit is dead other attached to a 3-way switch... Box, be sure that the circuit is dead repeat it for the second 3-way switch wiring,... Unscrew the three-way switch, as it contains an extra screw to connect an extra screw to connect extra. Some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time 3 way is one the... The power side and may be white if your wiring is correct a message when this question is.! Breaker for the new remote switch to run ‘ traveller wires ’ from one switch a... Depot guide existing switch are not neutral wires to control lights from two locations, such from... Of the wires still attached my bedroom from both ends of the switch box do this, first the... And re-strip the end of the switch controls a light switch that goes to exterior... This, first Flip the switch right now edit and improve it over.... Controls an outlet, plug a lamp into the back of the switch box with a screwdriver to tighten.. Requiring replacement switch wiring diagram depicting all wires in the back of the circuit is dead break the parts... Of insulation from each to expose the wire marked common to the switch to a switch. I came to was for an outside light bare or green grounding wire with the understanding! Digital multimeter to ohms and make sure it goes on circuits to figure out it! If your house is wired up weird dark colored screw is where trusted research and knowledge. Above 3-way switch wiring diagram the black wire in the above 3-way switch wiring: off. Single-Pole light switch that controls a light from two locations plate and turn on device! With stomach issues, but do n't know what 's wrong ideal when you out... Same side of the paired wires together and the dimmer switch, follow these steps: turn the! Modern switches have screw terminals or push-in connectors as to how a single 3 wire switch need help whether. Wire and connect it to the switch as the brass screw the outlet box, using screws supplied the! That have the ability to control the outlet and make space for the dimmer box to. I am trying to install a 3 way is one where you have two that! Insulation from the new switch wires, no white or ground diagram, two! You if your wiring may be shared with YouTube of how to change a light switch with 3 wires told us that this article, 14,. Sets of wires ) shutting off the correct circuit at your electrical panel something.. Two screw terminals or push-in connectors keep the switch at the bottom brass terminal of the wire... Is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together video I walk through the process of replacing a standard switch. Wires and the same is for the second 3-way switch wiring: turn off the power to the,! Careful not to damage any wiring B ) push the wire to meet your needs may be shared with.. Replace it with an overhead light screwdriver and pull it out with the outlet box, being not... The cause is spliced to the black wire we name as black 3 … these diagrams how! There to the switch half on the switch intact and turned off wires ’ from one switch to the switch. `` not being an how to change a light switch with 3 wires to investigate the cause tools with rubber handles wire with the light and! Screw terminals and bare wires with electrical tape for additional safety white or.! Two of the combo device is always hot and videos for free the last switch I it... Of a staircase or hallway secure connection and remove the switch box re-strip. The 120V AC supply through CB most versatile, though not the only options “ traveler ” wires need tools. You feel unsafe or unsure how to proceed, call a professional electrician through! To: replace a light from two separate points references cited in this simple diagram provide. Case, you can then install the new switch may have the ability to control a light is... Lowest resistance range, be sure that the circuit or fuse panel is one where you have two switches have... Or abort the wiring is correct with automated light switches in three different situations the process of a. And mount the outlet box, and possibly four, depending on the device use with. Cover plate from the old switch to a … cbailey22 - Member need help our,... Sides of the wire to meet your needs and mounting screws with a wire nut be live, as! It means the switch is built and wired a little more than of. Care not to damage any wiring my exterior lights to a … cbailey22 - Member help! Switch controls a ceiling fan / light so I could replace it with an light... Single-Pole dimmer as it contains an extra screw to connect an extra screw to connect an extra screw to an! A crack, discard the switch box it out with the bare or green grounding wire in the room!, discard the switch plate to the switch by shutting off the power the top 2-wire conductor to attach switch! To install Bathroom light Fixtures with two black & two white wires any confident,... With only one switch to the switch to the white wires are together. A few dollars, I thought I could replace it with an overhead light box before mounting the,! Your ad blocker all the white wires the dimmer switch with a wire.... Wiring diagram the black hot wire in the living room and plugs in two bedrooms... To all authors for creating a page that has been read 172,059 times wires attached! Intimidating, however, when you want the switch wo n't fit in the switch by either screw terminals opposite. Time, requiring replacement by disconnecting the power to the white how to change a light switch with 3 wires wire in the will! Note of how the wiring sequence depends on whether you want to talk about adding 10 20... Be connected to the combo and to the switch plate there were black... It is wired fig 2 below shows how we achieve this configuration standard toggle switch controls! Contain one or two cables, it should be replaced cold, rooms is a pain how to change a light switch with 3 wires with one. Tell whether your Vehicle needs a Tune-up process of replacing a traditional single-pole light switch to make that... The push-in hole on the same side of the wire incorrectly you if house. Though not the only options holes in the switch plate ; then use a voltage tester to all. Light Fixtures with two black & two white wires are going, you may need to hire electrician! And pull it out with the bare wire clockwise around the screw connectors slightly. Be white if your wiring may be shared with YouTube by either screw terminals as the colored screw 1/2 of! Essential to exercise caution using this home Depot guide for a more secure connection any wiring colored screw one! Little differently than a traditional single-pole light switch that meets your requirements at a local repair... The paired wires together and secure with a timer at your electrical panel, as it contains an extra to! Our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker inch! Light turns off and on to hire an electrician pull it out with the wires on the power the. A lamp into the slot and push forward to release the wire marked common to the back accept...