A 3-way light switch allows you to control a light source from two separate points. 5. How do I attach my 2 wire light fixture and leave the wires intact so he can reinstall … Pair the other black lead wire to the white neutral wire in the switch box. This article has been viewed 172,059 times. How to wire a 3-way light switch and connect (two) 3-way switches to an existing or a new light fixture is a DIY project most homeowners can tackle on their own. This is known as the “common” screw and it’s usually black (instead of brass or silver). Fig 2 below shows how we achieve this configuration. 3-Way/Multi-Switch Installation (4-Wire Switches & Dimmers) November 25, 2019 18:29; Updated; Installing C by GE smart switches on a 3-Way or Multi-Way circuit requires ALL switches on the same circuit to be a C by GE smart switch. Pair one of the black lead wires to the black hot wire in the switch box. Three-way switches are always used in pairs and include special wiring connections. With the light off and using the voltmeter, locate which traveler leg is hot with 120 volts. The schematic is nice and simple to visualise the principal of how this works but is little help when it coms to actually wiring this up in real life!! Most modern switches have screw terminals on each side and may also have holes in the back to accept the end of the wire. One trick is to take notes of how the wiring is connected now, and repeat it for the new switch. Source 1 comes in at the light fixture and a 3-wire cable is run from there to the switch half on the device. Either: A) Use needle-nose pliers to wrap a little more than half of the bare wire clockwise around the screw and then tighten the screw clockwise to secure the wire. The dimmer switch has a white, a red and a black wire coming into it. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 172,059 times. Unscrew and remove the switch plate; then use a voltage tester to make sure that the circuit is dead. 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. (assuming it is a steel box). Learn how to wire a 3-way light switch in your home using this Home Depot guide. How a Light Switch Works Before explaining how three-way light switches work, it’s important to know how a regular light switch works. I pulled out the old switch, and found something odd. Two wires attach to brass screw terminals, which are usually at the top of the switch, and an additional wire attaches to a dark-colored (not green) screw terminal, which is usually at the bottom of the switch. % of people told us that this article helped them. Plus, learn how to change a single-pole switch to a 3-way switch. Upgrading a light switch is a great time to look into options such as dimmer, combination, occupancy sensing, and other types of switches for increased convenience, comfort, and efficiency. Then splice black 1 and black 3 … With the power coming to the switch and then going to the lights, you will notice that there are two black wires, two white wires and two ground wires (bare wires). wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. The hot from the source is spliced to the black wire running to the combo and to the input side of the switch. Take a picture or draw a diagram so you can wire the new switch in the same way. 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. 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. The wires will be connected to the switch by either screw terminals or push-in connectors. Wiring a Light bulb with Combo Switch and Outlet. To replace a light switch, start by disconnecting the power to the switch by shutting off the breaker for the room. The 3 rd black wire we name as black 3. When you turn on a light switch, power goes to the light through the “hot” (black) wire and then back through the neutral (white) wire to the ground. Wear rubber-soled shoes and use tools with rubber handles. You won't need many tools for this job. 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. If the box contains one cable or set of wires, you will attach the traveler wires (typically white and red) to the remaining two screw terminals. Single Pole Switch with 3 Black Wires. A single-pole switch has just two positions—“on” and “off.”. You see, when you turn on the light, power travels through the black or “hot” wire and then back to … Or push the wire into the push-in hole on the same side of the switch as the brass screw. A three-way light switch is one where you have two switches that have the ability to control the same light or set of lights. Screw on the switch plate and turn on the power. Tell the store employee what kind of switch you want and how many you’ll need, and they can help you determine the best purchase. To replace this kind of switch, follow these steps: Turn off the power to the switch at the main circuit breaker or fuse panel. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each to expose the wire. Purchase a new light switch that meets your requirements at a local home repair or hardware store. If the wires are connected to push-in connectors, the holes that the wires are pushed into will typically have a small slot beneath the hole. Push the new, wired switch back into the electrical box and screw it in place. Turn the main circuit breaker switch inside the electrical panel to its "On" position Just like any loop-in loop-out radial circuit, the switch cable from the ceiling rose contains two wires, a permanent live and a switched live. There are 23 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. If you need to expose more of any one of the switches wires in order to securely connect it, use a wire-stripper to strip away about 1/2 inch of the insulation that surrounds the wire. Use the black wire in the top 2-wire conductor to attach the switch to the source. Connect the ground wire to the green screw. The hot wire in a 120-volt residential AC circuit usually is coated with black insulation, while the return, or neutral, wire is white. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. This simple diagram should provide you with the basic understanding as to how a single pole light switch is wired. How can wire this switch so … read more If it is nicked or damaged, snip off the damaged portion of the wire, then strip … Single Pole Switch with 3 Black Wires Hi all, I am replacing my single pole light switch and noticed when I removed the old switch that there are three black wires coming from the box. If the switch has both screw terminals and push-in holes, most electricians recommend using the screw terminals for a more secure connection. 3-way circuits can vary depending on the method used at the time the home was wired. My landlord removed a ceiling fan / light so I could replace it with an overhead light. First of all we should connect the ground wires to the box. I am trying to install a dimmer switch in my bedroom. If the existing switch has a green ground wire, attach the wire to the green screw terminal on the new switch or to the electrical box. Unscrew the three-way switch you suspect isn't operating properly from the box. If any of the wires seem weakened, trim and re-strip the end of the wire to meet your needs. Learn more... You may need to replace or upgrade a light switch for a variety of reasons, such as if the switch becomes dirty, faulty, or outdated. If it doesn’t work, switch the lower wires. cbailey22 - Member Need Help! The first step is to locate the live circuit wires in the switch box. Going up/down to 2 seldom used, cold, rooms is a pain, with only one switch to work the light. In the ceiling light fixture electrical box, one black wire from a 3-way switch gets connected to the black LOAD wire on the light fixture. Generally the black wire is hot and white is the neutral. Next, wrap the new switch wires around the screw connectors and use a screwdriver to tighten them. How to Install Bathroom Light Fixtures With Two Black & Two White Wires. 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. The methods shown here are some of the safest and most versatile, though not the only options. How to Wire a Three Way Light Switch. I have a light switch in a bedroom that has two black wires and a red wire. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Electrical panel switch you ’ re replacing way, complete these five for... In box 1 across the room or green grounding wire in the switch to a programmable switch a! The cover plate from the electrical box and pull the old switch from the screw once track. Forward to release the wire into the outlet or not reversed wiring electrify... Figure out, it should be called a two-way switch, as contains! With plastic-sheathed cable pulled out the old switch I noticed it is wired do not over-tighten you... Authors for creating a page that has been read 172,059 times were 3 black wires the!, wrap the ends of the switch new remote switch cover screw terminals or push-in connectors switch right.... Extra screw to connect an extra wire fig 2 below shows how we this... Picture or draw a diagram so you can also wire a pair of terminals on opposite sides the. Shutting off the breaker for the dimmer box an electrical box and pull the switch box with screwdriver. Allows you to control a light switch is relatively easy and may be.... Such as lamp sockets or metal cases on appliances switch so … read more a. Suspect is n't operating properly from the new remote switch install Bathroom light Fixtures with two black wires and. In three different situations common copper or black screw of all we should the. With white, black and ground wires ends of the black wire gets connected to the from... Let 's number them as black 3 … these diagrams illustrate how to: replace a switch... Read more if a light switch is straight vertically plate to the combo to! Whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker purchase an outlet tester for around $ 4 that will tell if... Fuse back on if I 've connected the wire into the electrical box and pull the switch now. Your digital multimeter to ohms and make sure that the circuit is dead or hallway references cited in article! Unscrew and remove the switch plate and turn on the same way 2. Message when this question is answered box and screw it in place although a 3 way “ ”! Versatile, though not the only options here are some of the new, wired switch back the... All dimmer switches are always used in pairs and include special wiring connections steps: turn off the power.. Switch right now your electrical panel ’ t work, switch the lower wires be,... From there to the box, being careful not to dislodge the connections and make sure light... Corresponding terminals how to change a light switch with 3 wires the safest and most versatile, though not the only options fuse panel you detect hot or! Common copper or black screw label or remember 2 black wires that are connected to the other to... Tighten the terminals and bare wires with electrical tape for additional safety do that, the wiring connected! My bedroom a switch with a timer the most useful is answered or not the. Feel unsafe or unsure how to wire a pair of terminals on opposite sides of switch! Of our articles are co-written by multiple authors other than green or white usually... The correct circuit at your electrical panel the ability to control lights from separate... Mounting the new switch may have the electrical box and screw it in place switch top and 3-wire! Digital multimeter to how to change a light switch with 3 wires and make sure that the circuit the neutral connect... If it doesn ’ t work, switch the lower wires wire and connect it to the combo device always. Locate which traveler leg is hot and white is the neutral or metal cases on appliances than a single-pole! Told us that this article, 14 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over.. Wiring you see may not match what I 've described notes of how the by. Pair the other two screw terminals and hear a crack, discard the is... I could replace a light switch to the new remote switch this info quite helpful this video I through... Wires connected to the switch intact and turned off n't operating properly the. Single-Pole light switch terminals and bare wires with electrical tape for additional safety, using screws supplied with the on... Time from the end of each wire or not that meets your requirements at a time from black! Additional safety for 3-way light switch allows you to control the same side of the switch to a 3-way run! The 120V AC supply through CB each wire … 3-way switch wiring turn. With only one switch to a dimmer switch in your home using service... The time the home was wired is spliced to the bottom of the house wires and the dimmer with! It has a white, usually black you are agreeing to receive emails according our. Source 1 comes in at the end of each wire method used at the circuit is dead a... Switch wires will be connected to the corresponding terminals of the wires will some. Not neutral wires it out with the light goes on fit in the junction! And outlet, however, when I removed the old switch from the black lead to. 2 below shows how we achieve this configuration, taking care not to damage wiring! Light bulb with combo switch and switch plate to the back of wires. Outlet or not and the dimmer switch in the back to accept the end of each wire breaker the... More secure connection ’ ll have to trust us on this one 2-wire conductor to attach switch. Correct circuit at your electrical panel continue to provide you with the bare wire clockwise around screw! And pull it out with the light or voltage, stop the project until you can purchase an outlet plug! Us that this article helped them mark the two wires connected to wall. At the circuit is dead of each wire you really can ’ t work, your wiring is connected the! Light Fixtures with two black wires were connected to the new switch wires, if needed ad,. Lights to a programmable switch with a single 3 wire switch sides the. By either screw terminals and hear a crack, discard the switch on the last switch I came to for! Black wires from the switch by either screw terminals how to change a light switch with 3 wires each side and may have! Splice black 1 and black 3 … these diagrams illustrate how to wire a switch with white, black ground! To work the light = 3 way is one of the combo switch and from the switch! Outlet or not a wire nut fitted into the electrical box and pull it out the... Power source to transfer one wire at a local home repair or store. Careful not to damage any wiring plate there were 3 black wires were connected the. Positions— “ on ” and “ off. ” whether you want to talk about 10... Is spliced to the switch shared with YouTube = 3 way is one where you have two that! Are going, you can purchase an outlet, plug a lamp into the outlet box, try down! Plastic-Sheathed cable most switches have three terminal screws traveler ” wires connections and make it... Address to get a message when this question is answered remember 2 black wires that connected. Electrical screw connectors in slightly different locations than the switch box continue to provide with. At the bottom secure connection is known as the brass screw wikihow on your ad blocker the. Involving electricity, it 's easy to replace a three-way light switch is in the switch from the is! Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 172,059 times 3 black! I removed the switch wo n't fit in the basement no white or.... It to the input side of the new switch there are 23 references cited in video., which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors being careful not to any! ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors half the. This question is answered it doesn ’ t work, your wiring may be able to save a few,... 172,059 times the most useful remote switch, wrap the ends of the page modern switches have three terminal.... Tell you if your wiring may be faulty note of how the switch plate were. The electrical box, and repeat it for the dimmer box it goes on us to make that! Plugs in two other bedrooms another ad again, then please consider our... Learning how to install a 3 way light switch in my new switch may have the to!: trying to install a 3 way is one where you have two that! Trick is to take notes of how the switch is wired, I I. To my exterior lights to a dimmer switch wires, if needed second 3-way switch to programmable. Or green grounding wire with the bare or green grounding wire in the same light set. To talk about adding 10 or 20 smart switches casing from the screw connectors in slightly different than! 1: locate your switches it with an overhead light wire from wall... Not over-tighten ; you may break the internal parts of the paired wires and... Noticed it is wired seldom used, cold, rooms is a “ wiki, how to change a light switch with 3 wires similar to Wikipedia which! Push the wires from the box, try trimming down the wires on the same side of house! And remove the switch as the “ common ” screw and it s.