How to Wire a Two-Way Electrical Switch

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Two-way switch
Current tester
Grounding strap
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
Wire caps

A two-way electrical switch can have multiple uses in a home environment. For example, you can use this device to install a dimmer slider that operates not just the light, but also a ceiling fan. Installing a two-way electrical switch is not a difficult job to do yourself. The following article will show you how to install a simple two-way electrical switch.

Step 1 - Safety First

Before you begin, make sure that you turn the power off at the main junction box for the area you will be working on. It is a good idea to place a note directly on the box alerting others that you are working so you do not run the risk of someone inadvertently restoring the power.

Also remember to use the grounding strap to further protect yourself. The grounding strap, as well as the grounding wire, allows a current to travel to another direction which will short out the electrical system, causing the power to stop. This can save your life.

Step 2 - Identify the Electrical Wires

Go to the box where you will be installing the electrical switch. Use the screwdriver to remove the faceplate from the wall. Inside the wall will be the previous switch or outlet and some wires. Before you touch any of the wires or the box, use the current tester on the contact points to make sure there is no live current. Check each of the wires as well as between the wires. Never trust the work of someone else when your life is potentially on the line. The wires you will find inside the box are black (positive), white (negative), and either a bare copper, green, yellow, or green with yellow stripe (ground).

Attach the ground wire to the metal box. The two-way switch either has the same wires except for one exception: red. This red wire is the second switch which is also negative polarity; the same as the black wire in the box.

Step 3 - Wire the Two-Way Electrical Switch

Use the screwdriver to loosen the wires in the box. You may have to use the wire strippers to strip the ends of the wire and the wire cutters to trim the length. With this done you can now start to wire the two-way electrical switch to the box. The two-way switch will have corresponding wires or screws. Connect the white wire with the white wire, the black wire with the black wire, and either splice the red wire with the black wire or attach it to the black wire's source. The wires that were twisted together should be sealed with a locking wire cap. Turn the power on and test the current.