How to Wire Four Lights on One Switch

Wiring four lights on one switch, or daisy chaining as it is also called, is an efficient way to control lighting for homes and business. Daisy chaining is the method of tying more than one light fixture onto a switching circuit in which the lights are placed in a parallel circuit and controlled by one switch. As long as the total load or draw of amperage does not exceed the switches capacity, this type of arrangement will operate safely. Most switches are rated either 15 or 20 amperes and should not exceed the circuit breaker rating in the distribution panel. By following a basic procedure, wiring four lights on one switch can be accomplished in a short amount of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Four round light fixture boxes
  • One light switch box
  • Stepladder
  • ROMEX® 12/2 cable
  • Pocketknife
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire pliers
  • Four light fixtures
  • One light switch 15 or 20 ampere rated
  • Wire nuts
  • Four light bulbs of your choice
  • Cover plate for switch

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Shut off the power from the circuit breaker that is going to feed power for this lighting circuit.

Install the four light fixture boxes in the area that you want to illuminate and secure the light switch box near the entry door to the room. The light fixture boxes should be centered in the ceiling of the room and the height of the switch box should 48 inches from the floor. A stepladder is useful for working on the light fixtures.

Stick six inches of the ROMEX® cable into the farthest light fixture box from the light switch. Run the cable to the next light box and cut off the cable so six inches also protrudes from the opening of the box. Run the cable in this method so the next three boxes will have two runs of the ROMEX® cable coming out from the opening.

Install the last ROMEX® cable run from the last light fixture box in to the switch box.

Install the power wire from the circuit breaker panel box into the switch box. The ROMEX® cables should now be sticking out the open side of all the device boxes.

Strip the ROMEX® cables in the following order. Use the pocketknife and strip back the outer covering of the ROMEX® cable assembly to the inside of the box, where the wire comes through the cable opening.

Use the wire strippers and expose one inch of the copper wire on both the white and black wires. This should be done on all the exposed ROMEX® cable.

Cut eight inch pieces from the ROMEX® cable to make jumpers or pigtails for the connection from the wires to the light fixtures. You will need one eight-inch piece for each light fixture. The total of the ROMEX® pieces will be four.

Pull the black and white wires from the eight inch pieces and strip both ends back one inch to expose the bare copper wire.

Use the wire pliers and twist the black wires together in each of the light boxes, this includes the eight inch jumper wire or pigtail. Except for the first light fixture box, you should have three black wires in the connection. The first light box will only have two black wires twisted together, the jumper and the switching feed wire.

Connect all the white wires in the light boxes as you did for the black wires. Apply wire nuts over all the twisted black and white wire connections.

Install the light fixtures by terminating the black and white wires to the screws on the back of the fixture. The black wire will go to the copper colored or dark screw and the white wire will connect to the silver screw. Secure the light fixture to the box with the vendor supplied screws. Screw in the light bulbs of your choice.

Terminate the light switch in the following order. Twist together the white wire from the power circuit breaker panel to the white wire that goes to each of the light fixtures. Apply a wire nut to this connection.

Connect the black wire from the power circuit breaker to the bottom screw on the light switch. Terminate the black wire that goes to the light fixtures to the top screw of the light switch. Secure the switch to the box with the screws provided and install the cover plate.

Turn the power on to the light circuit and switch the lights on. You should have a fully illuminated room.

Tips & Warnings

  • You want to do each light box individually combining the steps together if you must use a stepladder.
  • Follow all local and state electrical codes for wiring in your home. Always use appropriate safety gear when using tools.
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