How to Install a Timer Switch in Outdoor Lighting

What You'll Need
Voltage Tester
Wires Strippers
Wire Nuts
Time Switch
Electrical Tape

Installing a timer switch in outdoor lighting is the same as installing an ordinary wall switch. A switch timer is an inexpensive device that automatically turns off your outdoor lighting according to your setting. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to install a timer switch in outdoor lighting.

Step 1 - Turn off the Main Power Supply

Look for the circuit breaker that is providing the power to your outdoor lighting. Turn on all of your outdoor lighting and ask a friend to check if your outdoor lights are off as you turn off each of the circuit breakers found in your main power supply box. Once you switch off a certain circuit breaker and your outdoor lights turn off, that is the circuit breaker for your outdoor lighting. For safety, make sure to inform everyone in the house that you are installing a timer switch and that no one should touch the circuit box until you are done. This is to protect yourself from any accidents.

Step 2 - Remove the Switch

Remove the faceplate of your outdoor lighting using a screwdriver. As you remove the faceplate of the switch, you will see two more screws, which you should unscrew using the screwdriver, and slowly remove the entire switch from the wall box.

Step 3 - Remove the Wires

wires sticking out of a cable

Check the switch terminals for power using a voltage tester. The switch terminals are where the electrical wires and the switch are connected. If the voltage test detects no power, remove the wires by loosening the terminal screws that connect the wires to the switch.

Step 4 - Cut the Wires

Cut the exposed wires with your wire stripper and make a fresh strip of bare wire about an each long.

Step 5 - Connect the Timer Switch

A timer switch has three wires with different colors: one wire is black, the other is white, and the remaining wire is green. The green wire is for the grounding. What you need to do now is connect the black wire on the timer switch to the black wire on the wall box. Next, connect the white wire on the timer switch to the white wire on the wall box.

Step 6 - Use the Electrical Tape

several rolls of different colored electrical tape

Tape around the exposed portion where the two wires meet to prevent wire strands from short circuiting your electrical system in the future.

Step 7 - Insert the Timer Switch in the Wall Box

Push the wires slowly into the box and insert the timer switch into the wall box as well. Secure the timer switch using the two screws included when you purchased your timer switch. Secure the faceplate back into place using the two screws you removed earlier.

Step 8 - Turn the Main Power Supply On

Turn on the circuit breaker that you turned off earlier on step 1 and test your switch timer. A switch timer emits a ticking sound as the light is on. Once you hear this sound, then you have successfully installed your outdoor lighting timer switch.