How to Wire a Wall Toggle Light Switch

Wire a Wall Toggle Light Switch
Wire a Wall Toggle Light Switch (Image:

Toggle light switches are the most simple and common type available today, and they are the easiest to replace yourself when they stop working. Switches can short out or wear out with age, but they're inexpensive, and replacing them takes only a screwdriver and a few minutes of your time. The most important thing is to be sure all power to the switch is turned off. Also pay attention to the way the old switch was wired so you can wire the new one the same way.

Things You'll Need

  • Universal screwdriver
  • New light switch
  • Electrician's tape

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Turn off the power to the room at the fuse box. Remove the plate over the old switch by removing the screws holding it there. Set aside the switch plate and screws. Take out the screws that hold the old switch into the electrical box, which will be positioned at the top and bottom of the toggle switch. Pull the switch out of the box so it's hanging from the wires.

The switch will have at least three wires attached to it: white- and black-insulated electrical wires attached to receptacle screws, and a bare copper grounding wire attached to a green grounding screw. Take note of the positions of each of the wires on the old switch. Then release the wires by loosening the screws with your screwdriver and pulling them away.

Attach the three wires from the wall to the new switch in the same configuration as the old one. Put the bent ends of the wires around the appropriate screws and tighten them.

Wrap a piece of electrician's tape around the edge of the switch, covering all the connections with tape.

Fold the wires back into the electrical box and press the new switch to the outside of the box. Screw it into the box with the provided screws. Replace the plate cover and turn the power back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always cut power to any electrical system before working on it.


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