How to Wire a Single-Pole Light Switch at the End of a Circuit

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Wiring a switch can depend on where it lands on the circuit.
Wiring a switch can depend on where it lands on the circuit. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Not all light switches interrupt the power supply between a fixture and the power source. You may install a single-pole switch anywhere on the circuit to turn a light on and off. Proximity to the power source and where the switch box is installed determines where the switch is placed on the circuit. Prior electrical wiring knowledge is necessary when installing a single-pole light switch at the end of a circuit.

Things You'll Need

  • 14/2 nonmetallic electrical cable
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Black electrical tape
  • Orange wire connectors
  • Single-gang switch cover plate

Turn off the circuit breaker providing power to the lighting circuit at the main breaker box.

Pull a length of 14/2 nonmetallic electrical cable from your power source to the ceiling electrical box. Pull another length of the cable from the switch box to the ceiling electrical box.

Strip the insulation from the wires at the ceiling electrical box and the switch box to expose 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of bare electrical wire using a wire cutter/stripper. Wrap the end of the white wire at the switch box with black electrical tape. Wrap the end of the white wire at the ceiling electrical box that leads back to the switch box with black electrical tape.

Connect the white wire from your power source to the white wire from the light fixture with an orange wire connector twisted onto both wires. Connect the black wire from your power source to the white wire wrapped in black electrical tape inside the ceiling electrical box. Twist another orange wire connector onto the two wires.

Twist the black wire from the switch box to the black wire from the light fixture with another orange wire connector. Twist another wire connector onto the bare ground wire from the switch box, the bare ground from your power source and the green wire from the light fixture, connecting all three wires together.

Attach the fixture to the ceiling electrical box following the directions from the light fixture’s manufacturer.

Wrap the black wire in the switch box around the top right brass screw on the single pole light switch. Wrap the white wire marked with black electrical tape around the bottom right brass screw on the switch. Wrap the bare ground wire around the ground screw on the single pole switch. Turn the screws clockwise to tighten them against the wires.

Install the single-pole light switch into the switch box and cover the switch with a single-gang switch cover plate. Turn the circuit breaker on in your main breaker box to provide power to the light circuit.

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