Single Pole Light Switches - only black wires connected

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Old 03-02-18, 10:37 PM
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Single Pole Light Switches - only black wires connected

My outlets are very old (original, house built in '65) and I've been replacing them slowly as time allows and now I've moved onto my light switches which are also all very sloppy, old and indefinitely original. Each switch has 2 hot blacks, 2 neutral whites and a ground and in each switch I've pulled apart so far, each existing switch has only the 2 hot blacks connected to the light switches and both neutrals and the ground just bundled and unused.

My question(s). I have to assume an electrician wired things this way, but why? Should I change anything to make things more "standard" or just do it the same way things are already wired (which I've tested and it works)? At a minimum I was planning to connect the ground, but should I unbundle a neutral and wire it in a more normal configuration with a hot black to gold and a neutral white to silver?
 
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Old 03-02-18, 11:10 PM
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What you describe is correct. Only hots are connected to the switch. This is one of the two standard ways. The other way is a switch loop where power comes in at the light. In that case a white is used as a hot from the light. By code it is supposed to be recolored some color other than white (or gray) but it often isn't.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 11:29 PM
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Thanks Ray. I learned on my old house which had hot and neutral into the switch similar to an outlet, leading me to think that was the *right way. The diagram was helpful. I'll leave them as-is (though with new switches) and be on my way. Appreciate the help.
 
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Old 03-06-18, 02:08 PM
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Some newer switches have neutrals attached as well but your setup is consistent with the age of the house (my house was built in 2001 and only has hots on the switches).
 
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Old 03-06-18, 02:47 PM
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Neutrals are only on switches to power special functions such as a timer. The neutral is never switched. The neutral if used is not to the switching mechanism but the special function.
 
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Old 03-07-18, 12:29 PM
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I have actually seen a single pole switch (an older switch) with the usual two terminals for the hot line and also two terminals with a pass through connection for the neutral when power comes into the switch box first.

A modern switch that needs the neutral (for dimmer, timer, etc.) has just one neutral terminal.
 
 

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