black or white wire?


Old 10-19-04, 02:31 PM
Janet Alexander
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black or white wire?

I'm replacing my light switches out and all of the wires have been black with one painted white. Well, I come to a box with both wires are black and both are painted white. My question...... how do you know which one to put where? Will anything happen if I guess wrong? Thanks!
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Old 10-19-04, 04:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 7,446
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If the switch only has 2 wires. Use the same 2 wires on the new switch. The ground wil be bare or green and goes to the green screw if there is one.

If the switch has more than 2 screws and there is two switches controlling the light then you have a two 3 way switches. On a 3way switch the common screw will be a differnt color usualy black or gold. It is important to get that wire on the same screw on teh new 3way. It may not be in the same loaction on the new switch. It is also a good idea to change only one 3way then test the circuit. It is easy to trouble shoot one 3 way if you know the other one is wired correct.

If you have 3 or more switches controlling one light then you have 4 way switches.
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