Single pole switch with extra wire

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-30-05, 07:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5
Single pole switch with extra wire

I am replacing a single pole switch and the old one had 3 not 2 wires attached to it. There is no ground on the old switch (the original electrical work is not grounded in the house). One neutral wire was on 1 screw and 1 hot and 1 neutral on the other screw. I guess I should attach the new switch the way the old one was but have never seen this before. Do you know why this was done?

I don't know if this matters, but this single pole switch is in a box with a 3-way switch which I haven't touched, but there are capped wires in the box and was wondering if they originally were going to make both switches 3-ways then didn't. Just don't understand the extra wires and wanted to know more before putting two wires on one screw.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-30-05, 07:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
There are no neutral wires attached to the switch. Neutral wires don't get attached to switches, unless the switch needs power for something like a light or a timer or a transmitter.

Connect the new switch the same way as the old switch, except do not put two wires under one screw. Use a wire nut and a pigtail.

The two wires on one screw are most likely the hot wires and they are routing the hot line to the other switch, or to another part of the circuit. This is quite common.
 
  #3  
Old 11-30-05, 08:24 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 5
Yes I see exactly what you mean. One wire is attached to the 3-way next to it.

How long should the pig tail be? And should I match up the gauge of the pig tail to the existing wire? I have old BX with the fabric coded wire. How can I determine the gauge and nut size I need? Thank you!
 
  #4  
Old 11-30-05, 09:30 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The wire you use should be six inches long. It should be the same color as the wires it is pigtailing. In your case this would be black, as you have hot wires, and the white wires you see should be colored with black marker. You can use white, just use a permanent marker and color the insulation black (or blue).

The wire should be the same gage as the existing wire. It can be larger (smaller gage number) but that will make it harder to work with. For most circuits this size is 14 or 12. Yours is probably 14, as that was the size wire used for the majority of the circuits years ago.

The wire nut needs to be sized for the number of wires. When you buy them they will state how many wires and what size wires they can be used for. In your case you want to look for 3 number 14 wire (assuming 14 gage wire).

You can use your BX wire, if itís in good shape. If the insulation is brittle then donít use it.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'