How to Wire a Three-Way Switch as a Single Pole

Written by cecilia harsch Google
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How to Wire a Three-Way Switch as a Single Pole
Reuse your old three-way switches for your single pole lighting needs. (light switch image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

A single pole light switch operates a single light or multiple lights from one location. A three-way switch operates a single light or multiple lights from two locations and connects to an additional three-way switch though a traveller wire. You can wire a three-way switch to operate as a single pole switch by not connecting any wiring to the traveller wire screw. You can reuse your old three-way switches as single poles without need to buy a new switch.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Safety goggles
  • Phillips or flat head screwdriver
  • Switch cover plate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off the electricity to the switch circuit by turning off the breaker at the main electrical panel.

  2. 2

    Wire the three-way switch. Locate the two copper screws on the right side of the switch and a green ground screw near the switch bottom. An additional screw located on the left side of the three-way switch allows for the installation of the traveller wire between two three-way switches. This screw will not be utilised so as to allow the three-way switch to function as a single pole switch. Locate the two black wires inside the electrical switch box on the wall. Wrap one black wire each around each of the copper screws on the right side of the switch and tighten both screws. Find the bare copper wire inside the electrical switch box and wrap it around the green ground screw and tighten that screw also.

  3. 3

    Install the light switch into the electrical switch box. Push all excess wiring into the electrical switch box and connect the switch to the top and bottom of the box with screws provided with the switch.

  4. 4

    Cover the switch and electrical box with a switch cover plate using the two screws provided with the cover plate above and below the toggle.

  5. 5

    Turn the electricity on to the circuit by turning on the breaker at the main electrical panel.

Tips and warnings

  • Always make sure that the electricity is off to the area you are working in to avoid electrical shock.

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