Effective Tips and Instructions on How to Wire a Light Switch

Suketu Mehta Nov 4, 2018
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Learning ways to fix certain simple household electric problems helps to save a fair amount of money. Wiring a light switch is one such electric problem. Here are some instructions to wire a light switch and tips to get the job done more easily and efficiently.
Switches are useful in opening and closing electrical circuits, which facilitates the flow of power though various appliances. It is important that they meet the voltage and ampere requirements for the circuit.
The most simple and common of light switches is the 'single pole switch', present in almost every home. Their operational simplicity ensures that they stay intact for long, without getting marred.
However, if they do get faulty and need replacement, most people wonder, how do you fix the light switch? Well, it is simple if you have the basic knowledge about wires and electricity, and it does not take much time too.


1. To start with, you will have to turn off the power supply to the circuit on which you intend to work, from the service panel. This will prevent any electric shocks, and make it safe to work on.
2. Take your voltage tester and check the incoming cable in the electric box where you are going to install the switch.
3. A single-pole switch has two screws. There will be one black wire, one white, and one green wire in the outlet, as well as the service panel.
The black wire from the service panel needs to be connected to the top screw of the switch and the other black wire from the outlet, to the bottom screw. Keep in mind that the top screw is 'on' while the bottom screw is 'off'.
4. The white wire in the outlet needs to be connected to the white wire from the service panel.

5. The green wires are for earthing. Attach a tiny uncovered piece of wire to the green screw and connect the other end to the two green wires.
6. You will now have to push all the wires in the box. Ground wires first, followed by white wires and finally, black wires go into the box.
7. With the help of the included screws, fix the switch on the wall box.
8. If you are dealing with a duplex outlet receptacle (a single outlet with two switches), you will notice that it has two silver screws on the neutral side and two gold or brass screws on the hot or live side.
Apart from this, there is also a green screw for earthing. With the help of a screwdriver and pliers, join the white wire to a silver screw, black wire to a gold screw and a ground wire (bare) to the green screw.
9. Once they are connected to the respective screws, push them back into the box and fix it to the wall box, keeping a grounding pin on top.

Tips and Tricks

● If you want to connect more than one wire onto a screw terminal, you will have to use shorter lengths of wires or wire-nuts, as it is not advisable to connect more than one to the screw terminal directly.
● In case you are using metallic electrical boxes, you will have to use short lengths of bare wire or wire-nuts as an insulator between existing ground wires and metal boxes.
● When you purchase outlets and switches, ensure that you buy only commercial-grade switches and heavy-duty rated outlets for your needs. These products are long-lasting and are also safer in comparison to non-graded products.
● You may damage the insulation by forcing the switch on to the box. If you are not able to fix the switch into the box, try to rearrange the wire-nuts and wires as flat as possible at the back of the box.
● A basic diagram, which is available online or in a manual, might prove helpful, if you are doing this for the first time. Go through the whole procedure properly before trying it yourself.
Learning how to wire a light switch can be very useful and also a money saver, as you do not need to hire an electrician to do your work. You will do it yourself and feel satisfied.
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