How to wire a triple light switch

Written by phil altshuler
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How to wire a triple light switch
Add a triple-switch to control your lighting. (electrical box image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

The basic concept of a triple-gang switch is simply three individual switches stacked on top of one another. The triple-switch is convenient because it only requires a single-gang box instead of a triple-gang box. The switches are mounted one above the other, and the switch activates by moving the button horizontally instead of vertically. A double-gang switch is also available.

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Things you need

  • Voltage tester
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire stripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Triple switch and matching cover
  • Wire-nuts

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Instructions

  1. 1

    The switchbox you will be using will have four black and/or red wires inside. One of the wires is the power feed. It is also called the "hot-wire." The remaining three go to the three light fixtures that the switches will control. They are called "switch-legs." Use the voltage tester to determine the hot wire before turning off the power. It is the only powered wire when the main-breaker is on.

  2. 2

    Turn off the main-breaker. Put a piece of tape over it to prevent someone from turning it on.

  3. 3

    Strip the three switch-leg wires 1/2 inch from the ends. If the switch has push-in connectors, push the wires into the three slots labelled "load." If it does not have push-in connectors, use the needle-nose pliers to bend the end of the wires into a loop and insert them under the "load" screws. Tighten the screws firmly.

  4. 4

    Strip the insulation on the hot-wire 1/2 inch from the end. Look on the "line" side of the switch and see if there are small metal jumpers connecting the three terminals. If there are, push the hot-wire into any of the three "line" slots. If they are not there, cut three 6-inch lengths of wire and strip each end of the wires 1/2 inch.

    Use a wire nut to connect the three wires (pigtails) to the hot-wire. Push the open end of the pigtail wires into the three "line" slots. If there are no slots, use the needle-nose pliers as in Step 3, and insert them under the "line" screws. Tighten the screws firmly.

  5. 5

    Gently push the wires into the switchbox and secure the switch to the box. Add the cover plate.

  6. 6

    Turn on the main breaker and turn on each switch, to verify that they are working properly.

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