Installing light switch


Old 08-28-19, 01:30 PM
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Installing light switch

We just bought an older house and have been replacing all light switches and outlets. While replacing a double light switch (with two switches attached and connected to eachother) I don't think that the wiring has been done properly. There are two wires attached with a backstab, and one attached on the side screw for each switch. There is a ground wire attached to the metal outlet box, but not to the switches themselves. There are physically 3 wires running from the wall. Two wires have a hot, neutral, and ground. The third wire (assuming it works a ceiling fan) has a hot, neutral, ground + red. Would someone please advise if this wiring is correct with the backstabs and no ground to the switch? if so should I just copy the wiring with new switches? Or should I correct anything?
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Old 08-28-19, 02:41 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

As long as the box is metal and is grounded..... a ground tail is not required to the switches.
Either the push-in terminals or the screw terminals should be used..... not both.
If you have more than one wire to go to a switch screw..... you need to combine them in a splice and add a short piece of wire called a tail to go the switch.

With experience we have found that using the push-in terminals should be avoided. This is moderately important with switches but is very important with receptacles.

The two cables are called two wire cables with ground. The white and black are not necessarily hot. The other cable with a red wire is called three wire with ground. That is used to carry two circuits to a fan so that you can have a switch for the light and one for the fan.

In your box.... as a guess...... only one cable is the supply or hot cable. The other goes to what ever the switch controls and the three wire cable goes to the fan.
Old 09-02-19, 07:34 AM
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PJmax thank you for the reply. How can I tell which wires to combine and attach a tail? I want to correct the wiring so that the switch is not connected with both backstabs and screws. Would it hurt to connect the three black or black/red wires running to one switch? And then connect with a tail to the screw on that switch.
Old 09-02-19, 08:11 AM
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The screw and the backstab beside it get combined.
Old 09-02-19, 09:47 AM
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Joed, thank you! I will try that

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