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Electrical Outlets and Light Switch Wiring

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I changed switches & plugs in the bedroom. I did each one at a time…

Electrical Outlet and Light Switch Wiring
Background: Dave, a Homeowner from Thunder Bay, Ont. Canada

Question: I changed switches & plugs in the bedroom. I did each one at a time. Before i started one switch controlled the overhead light, the other controlled the bottom half of the plugs by the bed. Now that switch does not control anything. I will try to explain wiring.
2-gang switch- 1- controls overhead- top/blk bot/blk
2- controlled bottom 1/2 of plug- t/blk
4-plugs t/wht b/wht, t/blk b/red
1-plug same as above- on 1 side of bed
1-plug b/wht t/blk b/red. on the other side of bed.

Hope this helps.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Dave.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Bedroom Electrical Wiring

Electrical Wiring

Lighting For The Home
Lighting Electrical Codes

Light Switch Wiring
Wiring Diagrams
3 Way Switch Diagram

For more information about Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

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2 Responses to “Electrical Outlets and Light Switch Wiring”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Marcel,
    Here are my thoughts about what you have described about the wiring of your bathroom switches:
    If the switch box is metal, and the switches have what is called a ground yoke or clip around the base of a mounting screw then this will create the necessary bond between the metal frame of the switch and the bonded ground wires in the box. This method must be correct otherwise a pigtailed ground wire should extend from the group of ground wires to each switch.
    As for the ‘white’ wires: Keep in mind that white wires are not necessarily neutral wires. However, if a white wire is used for the hot or the circuit power wire then it must be identified with either black electrical tape or a permanent marker.
    The way the switches are wired will depend on where the power originates, and then which of the wires are designated as switched legs back to each of the devices. Without my having the ability to test the actual circuit and component wiring I would not be able to fully comment about the rest of the wiring methods.
    Finally, I will comment about your terminology: ‘the guy we got to do it’, simply to say that you should fully understand the capabilities and qualifications of the person who will be doing your electrical work. If the person is fully qualified then your job will be done correctly, if not then there may be problems. In my years of experience I have seen incredible mistakes with electrical wiring methods which were installed by unqualified individuals, and the sad result is that the wiring job ‘works’, however the incorrect wiring may in fact contain several violations that can lead to a host of potential problems. Just because ‘it works’ does not necessarily mean that it is ‘right’.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Marcel says:

    I’m putting a 3 switch gang box in for a bathroom, I have one switch for the vanity light which will be the main light, one switch for the fan and one switch for a shower light.

    Now the way the guy we got to do it wired it I think is wrong.

    He has all the grounds running to the screw at the back of the box (the ground screw on the box itself nothing going to the switches at all)

    Then he has all the black wires connected together and pushed to the back of the box.

    The white wires are connected to the top of the switches and small white wires running at the bottom of all three switches connecting all three together (jumping from one to the other)

    Now I think all the ground wires should be joined and then pig tails run to each switch ground screw and one to the back of the box ground screw.

    All the neutral (white wires) should be joined and pushed to the back of the box not joined to anything.

    The black wires joined to their designated switches on the top screw of each switch, and the hot wire pig tailed and joined to the bottom screw of each switch.

    I’m sure you will understand this and hope you can let me know if I’m right.
    P.S I’m in Canada so I don’t know if this is a US site or not but should be the same

    Thank you