Light Switch Help, single or dual pole?

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Old 08-07-11, 09:13 AM
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Light Switch Help, single or dual pole?

I want to install a dual switch to control two different lights. The lights are on two different circuits and the switches will break the hot or feed lines. I installed a single pole switch, however, I found that if the breaker to one of the lines is off the other line is feeding power to both and each light remains hot. Will a dual pole switch correct this?
 
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Old 08-07-11, 09:22 AM
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You can install a single pole, double switch like this: http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/pub...dYGZASDyzRFxvk You just need to break off the tab between the common side of the switch (most cases brass colored)

OR you can use a double pole switch.
 
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Old 08-07-11, 10:22 AM
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Thank you for such a fast response. I have that type of switch now and I'll break off the tab. Thanks again.
 
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Old 08-07-11, 04:51 PM
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What year NEC are you on? This may not make a difference in your situation, but if I am not mistaken, the 2011 NEC requires two separate circuits on the same yoke to be originated from a 2 pole breaker.
 
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Old 08-08-11, 08:01 AM
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Since the wiring that was done did not blow up anything, I suspect that the lights are either wired on the same phase or are of the same circuit. They sound like they are just switch loops.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 08-08-11 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 08-09-11, 08:12 PM
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Casual Joe is correct, if the two sides are fed from two different breakers they must be tied together in a double pole breaker. This is in case someone turns on the switch, kills a breaker and the one light goes out, they can be assured the switch is safe/dead and won't be shocked if they try to work on it. If you think the other light would warn them, that is not acceptable as bulbs do burn out and may not indicate the switch is live on one side.

If both lights, and any other load on the circuit are within the limits of the one breaker AND wire size, there can be only one wire supplying the switch and there may be two out. If there are two in and they did not blow up if connected together, they are the same phase, and since they they are two separate breakers they are NOT side by side and not able to have the handles tied together.

You really do need to determine which breaker(s) turn off the power, break the tab on the switch as you said, then move the wires to a two-pole breaker, one on each phase, with the handles tied as one, for safety, liability and code. Years down the road after you forget there are two breakers, if someone else gets hurt...

Not meaning to get on my soapbox, but after 20 years in the field and seeing this type of work, it is too easy to get hurt from trying to save $10.
 
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