How to Wire a Two-Way Switch


Walk into any modern home or business, and you'll notice two-way wall light switches everywhere. These are simple switches that include one hot, one return and one ground lead. Regardless of the application, wiring this switch is among the most basic skills any homeowner should possess.

Things You'll Need

  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Access the electrical panel. Throw the breaker feeding the switch to the off position.

  • Remove the two small screws on the top and bottom of the switch plate. Set aside the plate and screw. Remove the screws in the top and bottom metal tabs of the switch. Free the switch from the junction box.

  • Remove the screws retaining the three wires heading into the switch. Pull the wires loose of the switch, and place the old switch aside.

  • Install the new switch in the reverse order as removal of the old. Note the markings on the back of the new switch, indicating the wire color coding for safe reinstallation. Make a slight curve on the end of the wires, and wrap them around their respective screws. Alternatively, insert the straight wires into their respective push terminals. Give a very slight tug to ensure a reliable connection.

  • Return to the switch box and reset the breaker to its on position. Check the switch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never perform 110v or 220v electrical work without disabling the circuit at the breaker box first.

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  • Photo Credit light switch image by David Ng from
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