How To Wire A Light Switch

It’s not hard to learn how to wire a light switch. If you can follow basic instructions, you won’t have any problems. For such a small job, it would be very expensive to call an electrician compared to the cost of this easy do-it-yourself job. Be careful though. Any task involving electricity can be dangerous.

To wire a light switch, you will need:

  • A new light Switch
  • A Philips head screwdriver
  • A straight blade screwdriver
  1. Turn off the circuit breaker. Locate the appropriate circuit breaker in the breaker box and switch it to the off position.
  2. Remove the light switch cover. Unscrew the two small screws holding the switch cover in place and remove it.
  3. Loosen the light switch. Unscrew the screw holding the light switch in place. Pull it out of the wall so that you can see where the wires are connected.
  4. Note the positions of the wires. There should be two wires coming into the switch from the circuit breaker and two wires coming out of the switch going to the light. The positive wires will be one color, usually black, and the negative wires will be another, usually white. There will also be a ground wire that is typically green.  
  5. Change wires over to the new switch. Unscrew one wire from the old switch and unhook the wire from the pole. Locate the same pole on the new switch. Hook the wire securely around the pole and screw down until it is secure. Repeat with the other four wires.
  6. Screw in the new light switch. Push the new switch back into the wall box. Make sure that no wires disconnect from the switch and that all wires are contained within the box. Secure with the screw.
  7. Replace the light switch cover. Place the switch cover over the switch making sure it is level. Screw in the two small screws that hold the cover in place.
  8. Test the light. Turn the circuit breaker back to the on position and turn on the light. If you have not installed the new switch correctly, the circuit breaker may switch back to off, the light may not work, or you may hear a popping or burning sound as the light switch burns out. If there are any problems, immediately make sure the circuit breaker is in the off position and correct the problem.
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