Switch Replacement / Wiring Help

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Old 11-26-13, 06:37 PM
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Switch Replacement / Wiring Help

I am trying to replace two switches within the same box. The switches have a little "indicator" light and 4 wire ports (see pictures), and I would like to replace those with just standard switches. The switch on the left goes to a floodlight outside, and it is the only switch for the light. The switch on the right goes to an attic light, and it is also the only switch for that light. I've replaced switches before so, from my experience, these would traditionally be single pole switches. However, when I removed the switch plate, the wiring was much more complex than what I've seen in my previous experience (see pictures). The switch on the left (floodlight switch) has 4 wire ports, but only 3 wires connected to it: black, white, and red. The wiring coming into the box directly behind the floodlight switch has 4 wires: black, white, red, and a ground (copper wire).

The switch on the right (attic switch) has 4 wire ports and also has 3 wires connected to it: 2 black wires, and one white (there is also a ground wire, but I know what that one does). The wiring coming into the box directly behind the attic switch has 2 wires: white and black.

All of the white and black wires are pigtailed, the red wire is not (and only goes to one of the switches). Also, there is a "jumper" wire on the attic switch, connecting 2 of the wire ports, while sharing one of those ports with another black wire (see pictures).

What kind of switch should I use to replace the old switches? Why is the wiring so different in this case?

Thank you for your help!
 
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Old 11-26-13, 06:44 PM
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Most likely just single pole switches. The whites are for the indicator lights.
 
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Old 11-26-13, 06:45 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

The biggest difference is the light on the switch. That is why you have a neutral (white) wire connected to them. If you are looking to just connect a standard single pole switch to each light, you will remove the white wires from the mix. Connect the hot (group of blacks) and the lone black and red to your new switches (switch legs)
 
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Old 11-26-13, 06:48 PM
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A regular switch does not need a neutral or ground to work, it just makes and breaks the hot wire going to the light.
Since you have lights on the switches you needed the neutral wire to complete the circuit.
100 % sure you want to do this. I wish my attic and outside light had indicator light on the switch. The lighst always getting left on because someone hits it by mistake or you just forget to shut it off.
You could switch it out for a better looking one where the toggle lights up.
1461-LHC > Toggle > Switches > Electrical Wiring Devices > Products from Leviton Electrical and Electronic Products
 
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Old 11-26-13, 07:16 PM
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Thanks again for the help! I haven't tried the suggestions yet, because I have one more question before I proceed: I realized that my outdoor shed is on the same circuit as these switches…the outdoor shed has one power outlet, and two lights. The switches I want to change don't control the power to the shed, but would the wiring within the box containing the switches I want to change out have any effect on the power being supplied to the shed? Could that also be why the wiring in the box is different, and not just because of the indicator lights?

Also, if I eliminate the white wires to accommodate a standard single pole switch, that would mean that one switch has a black and red wire, and the other switch has just a black wire…that wouldn't work, would it?
 
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Old 11-27-13, 03:55 AM
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It looks like you will have 2 blacks on one switch and a black and a red on the other switch. One wire on the switch will not work. You need two.
 
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