How to Wire a Double Switch or Triple Switch
Wiring Guide for Wiring Two or Three Switches. I want to add another switch or two at one location but I need help with the wiring.
Wiring Guide for Double Switches
Electrical Question: I want to add another switch or two at one location but I need help with the wiring.
- I moved into a house that has a garbage disposal unit connected under the sink and the ON and OFF switch that is nearby.
- The previous owner had changed the switch to a two rocker stack or double switch to add a light with the neutral screwed to the switch box.
- Now I want to add another separate light controlled from the same location so I purchased a three stack rocker switch to control the three devices.
- Power comes from the outlet where the disposal is plugged into.
- The diagram shows power attaching to one side and then connecting individually to the three devices.
- Do I have to re-wire everything to conform to that wiring diagram.
- The way it is now, I can get either the two lights or the disposal to work, but not all three together. What I have to do?
This home electrical repairs question came from: Jaime, from San Juan.
Additional Comments: Excellent website. I learned a few tricks browsing thru your answers. I’ll keep it handy from now on.
Thanks for your electrical troubleshooting question Jaime.
Wiring a Double Switch or Triple Switch
Application: Wiring a Stack Switch for a Garbage Disposal, or a Triple Switch which can be used for a Broan or other brand Exhaust Fan.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the circuits, turn each circuit OFF and Tag them with a Note before working with the stack switch wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.
Electrical Wiring for Double Switches and Triple Switches
A stack switch, double switch, or triple switch can be wired a few different ways depending on the wiring configuration and desired level of control for exhaust fans or other devices.
- One Power Source
- If there is only one power source that will power the separately controlled lights or devices then the single power feed wire attaches to one side of the stack switch where there is typically a bridge or metal link enabling all of the switches to share the single power source.
- Multiple Power Sources
- If there is more than one power source then the bridge must be removed to enable the separate power sources to attach to the appropriate screw on the power side of the stack switch.
- Wiring Separate Functions
- The wiring leading to the separately controlled devices is then attached to the opposite side of the stack switch.
- Grounding the Switch
- The stack switch should be grounded with the circuit ground wire or with a grounded metal switch box.
- Stack switches are typically available in the toggle switch style or the flat rocker type or decorative style switches.
- Amperage Rating of the Switch
- The amperage rating of the stack switch will be either 15 amp for number 14 AWG copper wire or 20 amp for 12 AWG copper wire.
- Garbage Disposal Applications
- Garbage disposals require a lot of power to operate and a 20 amp rated switch will last longer than a 15 amp rated switch.
Important Note about Neutral Wires
- Switch Boxes
- This question described what leads me to believe that a neutral wire is attached to what may be a grounded metal switch box.
- If this is true then this is not safe and should be removed and the correct wiring provided with a separate insulated neutral wire for the circuit.
- If this is not true and the white wire is a jumper wire from the switch ground to the grounded metal switch box then the white wire is being used for a ground wire and will need to be colored green with green electrical tape or a green permanent marker.
- Ground Wires and Neutral Wires
- The concern here is that a ground source or ground wire can not be used for a neutral wire – this practice is highly dangerous and can produce electrical shock hazard conditions in the home electrical wiring system.
- If you are unsure about the wiring then please consult a licensed electrician who will make the appropriate checks and wiring adjustments as necessary for a safe connection and operation.
More about Wiring Switches
Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher Wiring
Fully explained dishwasher disposal wiring diagrams with pictures for wiring the outlet that serves a dishwasher and a garbage disposal. One very important element can be easily overlooked as you will see in these pictures.
More about Electrical Wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
Electrical Junction Boxes for Home Wiring
Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance. One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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.
|More articles about Electrical Repair, Electrical Wiring and Home Electrical Wiring:|
|« Previous||Next »|
|How to Replace Outlets and Light Switches||How to Locate a Voltage Problem|