How To Wire Lights To a Switch

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Lights in a home are typically controlled by a two-way switch. The switch can be turned on, supplying voltage to the light, or off, disconnecting voltage from the light. Knowing how to connect wires from a light to a switch can save money on home repair when there's an electrical repair that's needed. Or if the lights are newly installed, this do-it-yourself knowledge will help get those lights turned on faster. Learn how to connect wires to a switch and you'll increase your home repair knowledge.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire Strippers
  • Turn the circuit breaker that supplies voltage to the lights off.

  • Remove the switch box cover plate by removing the plate screws with the screwdriver. Set the screws aside so that you do not lose them, which can happen if they accidentally fall to the floor.

  • Feed the wires from the lights into the switch box. The wire cable is usually stuff, and you might have to exert some force to bend the end of the cable into the switch box.

  • Strip insulation from the end of each wire from the cable with the wire strippers. There should be enough bare metal wire to wrap around a wire terminal screw.

  • Loosen the wire terminal screws, and wrap each wire clockwise around the appropriate wire terminal screw color. The white wire (neutral) goes to the silver colored wire terminal. The black wire goes to the bronze terminal screw. The green wire goes to the green terminal screw, which is a ground terminal on the switch box.

  • Tighten the screws with the screwdriver. Make sure each screw terminal is tightened very tight so the wire will not come loose and cause an electrical problem.

  • Install the light switch cover plate with the original screws. Tighten the screws so that the cover plate is firmly in place. Turn on the circuit breaker and test your light switch.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you remove too much insulation when you strip off the insulation from the end of the wire, simply cut off some of the metal wire so that there's just enough to wrap around the screw terminal.
  • Make sure the circuit breaker supplying the voltage to the light is off. Live AC voltage is extremely dangerous.

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