How to Install a Door Jam Light Switch

Written by l.p. klages
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How to Install a Door Jam Light Switch
Traditional light switches are not the only type available. (Light Switch and Outlet image by Towards Ithaca from

Light switches are simple devices that create or break an electrical circuit, normally to turn on lights or some other appliance, such as a fan. The traditional two pole switch is most common, but it’s not the only kind available One nontraditional but handy type of switch is the door lamb light switch, which turns the light off when it’s pressed and on when it’s not pressed. By installing it inside a door jamb, you can automatically turn on a light when you open the door to a closet or pantry.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Drill
  • Wide drill bit
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Choose a suitable place to install the switch, usually above the top hinge of the door.

  2. 2

    Drill a hole through the jamb according to the size required by the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually the hole is 3/4 to 1 inch wide. Stand inside the doorway, facing the jamb, and drill through the flat part of the jamb where the edge of door rests when the door is closed.

  3. 3

    Turn off power to the circuit you’re using for the switch by flipping the breaker.

  4. 4

    Run your 14-gauge wire through the hole, and attach the leads to the switch terminals and grounding bolt with your screwdriver. The wire should already be in the wall and wired to your breaker panel, but it should be turned off from the previous step.

  5. 5

    Put the switch body into the hole you drilled, and fasten it to the jamb with the included screws.

  6. 6

    Turn the breaker back on for the circuit to see your switch working.

Tips and warnings

  • If your switch is far away from the breaker panel, consider using 12 gauge wire instead of 14. Thicker wire than necessary is always safe to use, but thinner is not.

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