Wiring a light switch is one of the most basic electrical projects every homeowner should know how to do. It is also a great way to save money by not having to call an electrician.
Getting it right is important as improper wiring can lead to shocks or fires in the house and possibly even death. So it is essential that you know how to wire a switch in an efficient and safe manner.
A standard light switch is a single pole switch that has two brass terminals. Both the black load (hot) wires coming from the power source and the white neutral wires going to your lights should be connected to these two terminals. The ground wire should then go to the green terminal screw on the switch as well.
If your switch has slots for the wires to push straight into, you may be able to use them instead of using the screws on the side. It is also good to wrap a piece of tape around the screws to protect them from fires.
First, disconnect the breaker from your power panel and remove the switch from the wall. Next, flip the breaker back on and turn on the power to your light fixture and switch. If the light doesn’t come on, you’ll need to reconnect the wires and check them for a loose connection or damaged wires.
Step 3: Connect the Hot Circuitwires
The black load wire should have about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of bare wire at its end, which you’ll need to form into a hook-like loop and connect to the terminal on the switch in a clockwise direction. This will help prevent the wire from twisting and breaking off of the terminal when you are connecting it to the switch.
Similarly, the white neutral wire should have about half an inch of bare wire at its end. You’ll need to form a loop of the bare wire in a hook shape and connect it to the switch terminal on the bottom. This will help ensure that the hot wire comes from the power distribution panel and not from the light.
Once you’ve made these connections, you can connect the switch back to the electrical box and replace the switch plate cover. It is important to attach the switch relatively level and not over-tighten the screws on the switch as this can cause a break in the wires. It is best to wrap a piece of tape around the screw terminals to keep them protected from fires and to make it easier to see where they are connected.