How to install a lamp cord switch

Written by mason howard
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How to install a lamp cord switch
Make turning on the lamp easier with a cord switch. (reading lamp image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Electrical work can be intimidating, but even the most novice homeowner can easily achieve small jobs. A lamp, for example, with a switch under the lampshade that just isn't very convenient, can be rigged instead with a switch located on the lamp's electrical cord. Being informed on the basics of electrical cords, conduits and switches will ensure that this minor alteration is safely and successfully made.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Pocketknife
  • Side cutter

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  1. 1

    Lay the lamp cord flat in front of you. Note that the cord is made up of two conductors fused together. The cord that comes from the side of the plug with the smaller prong is the hot conductor. The other is the neutral conductor. Another way to identify the difference is that the hot conductor has a smooth coating, and the neutral wire has a ridged coating.

  2. 2

    Use a ruler or tape measure to measure the length of the new switch.

  3. 3

    Locate where on the cord you want the switch to be.

  4. 4

    Use a pocketknife to split apart the two fused conductors in the location where you want the switch. Make the split the same length as the switch.

  5. 5

    Use a side cutter to snip the split section of the hot conductor in half.

  6. 6

    Use a screwdriver to back-out the screw in the middle of the top of the switch. This screw holds the two halves of the switch together.

  7. 7

    Take the top half off and set the bottom half in front of you.

  8. 8

    Run the neutral conductor through the continuous channel located within the switch.

  9. 9

    Set the two split halves of the hot conductor in the two smaller channels located opposite the continuous channel.

  10. 10

    Place the top half of the switch back onto the bottom half.

  11. 11

    Tighten the screw to complete the installation.

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