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How to wire a light switch in the middle of a circuit

Updated February 21, 2017

You can add a switch capability to an existing electrical circuit by adding a light switch in the middle of the circuit. With a light switch in the circuit, you'll have control of on and off functions for any electrical devices that are on the circuit. All you need are basic tools and wiring knowledge.

Turn off power to the circuit you'll be working on. Never work on a live electrical circuit.

Cut the wire with your wire cutters. Insert the black and white leads of both ends of the cut wire into your wire strippers and remove 1/2 inch of insulation from each lead.

Loosen the screw terminals on each side of the switch with a flat-bladed screwdriver. Back the screws out so that there is 1/4 inch of space between the heads of the screws and the contacts on the side of the switch.

Slide the black and white leads from one side of the cut wire underneath the screws on the right side of the switch. Put the black wire underneath the brass-coloured screw, and the white wire underneath the silver-coloured screw. Tighten the screws with your screwdriver to hold the wires in place.

Slide the black and white leads from one side of the cut wire underneath the screws on the black side of the switch. Put the black wire underneath the brass-coloured screw, and the white wire underneath the silver-coloured screw. Tighten the screws with your screwdriver to hold the wires in place.

Turn the power back on to your circuit.

Warning

Never work on a live electrical circuit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Flat-bladed screwdriver
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About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.