How to Connect Two Light Switches From One Power Source

Written by nichole liandi
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In home wiring, it's not necessary to power each light or outlet from a separate power source. It's common to connect multiple electrical devices, like lights, with their attendant switches, from a single source. Doing this requires a little bit of wire preparation and then following a relatively simple scheme to ensure that all the pieces of the puzzle attach to each other.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Electrical cable
  • Knife
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire nuts
  • Light switches

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off any power coming from the source to the circuit you'll be working on. Turn the circuit off by flipping the circuit breaker at the breaker box to "off."

  2. 2

    Take the wire coming from the source, and remove 2 inches of the electrical cable's outer jacket with a sharp knife or pair of wire cutters. Electrical cables typically have a plastic outer jacket with two leads underneath. The leads will each have their own insulation, one lead coloured black, the other white.

  3. 3

    Remove 1/2 inch of insulation from each lead of the source electrical cable. Use wire strippers or a knife.

  4. 4

    Cut two lengths of electrical cable that are long enough to reach from the cut source cable to your two light switches. Prepare both ends of each wire, following the procedure listed in steps 2 and 3.

  5. 5

    Place the bare wire ends of the three black wire leads together and parallel with each other. Slide a wire nut over the end of the bare wires and twist it to the right until the wire nut is tight.

  6. 6

    Place the bare wire ends of the three white wire leads together and parallel with each other. Slide a wire nut over the end of the bare wires and twist it to the right until the wire nut is tight. You've now connected two cables to the source cable. Each of the cables you've attached will connect to a separate light switch.

  7. 7

    Take the end of the cable you'll be attaching to the first light switch. Place the bare wire end of the white wire lead together with the white wire lead leading to your light (prepare the end of this wire if necessary). Twist them together with a wire nut.

  8. 8

    Take the end of the cable you'll be attaching to the first light switch. Loosen the two brass-coloured screws on the side of the light switch with a screwdriver. Slide the bare end of the source wire under one of the screws and tighten, then slide the bare end of the wire leading to the light under the other screw and tighten.

  9. 9

    Repeat steps 7 and 8 to wire the second light switch.

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