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Electrical Outlets and Light Switch Wiring

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

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Electrical Outlet and Light Switch Wiring
Background: Dave, a Homeowner from Thunder Bay, Ont. Canada
[ad#block]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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Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

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Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Electrical Outlets and Light Switch Wiring”
  1. 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


  2. 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,