Must-Know Tips for Wiring Switches and Outlets Yourself
Buying a Dimmer Switch
Dimmer switches are available in many styles and configurations, including slides, knobs and touch-sensitive dimming mechanisms.
Don’t Reverse Hot and Neutral Wires
Connecting the black hot wire to the neutral terminal of an outlet creates the potential for a lethal shock. The trouble is that you may not realize the mistake until someone gets shocked, because lights and most other plug-in devices will still work; they just won’t work safely
Cutting Wires Too Short
Wires that are cut too short make wire connections difficult and—since you’re more likely to make poor connections—dangerous. Leave the wires long enough to protrude at least 3 in. from the box.
Be Positive the Power’s Off
When you’re doing electrical work, don’t assume that because you flicked a switch or flipped a circuit breaker the power is off—always double-check. Buy a noncontact voltage tester and check all the wires in the box before you do any work—or plan on some melted dental work!
Instead of running upstairs, let the Rolling Stones help you find the right breaker. Find circuit breakers by plugging a loud radio into the outlet you’re working on. You’ll know you have the right circuit breaker when the music dies. But don’t assume the electricity is off in all the other outlets or lights in the room. Before doing any wiring, plug the radio into other outlets you plan to work on. Some duplex outlets can have different circuits running to adjacent outlets. To be safe, test both the top and bottom with the radio. For lights, turn the light switch on and off to be sure.
Find an electrician the easy way
How much does it cost to have a light switch installed?
The good news is that it doesn’t cost a lot of have a light switch rewired or installed. While the total cost to rewire a house can be upwards of a few thousand dollars, getting a light switch installed by a licensed electrician should only cost around $200.
Laws around wiring a switch yourself
There are strict laws around what electrical work can and can’t be undertaken by someone without an electrician’s licence. While these laws vary from state to state, the basic parameters remain the same. In general, if you’re touching wires, that counts as electrical work, and you need to be licenced.
NSW fair trading says an electrical licence is required before any wiring work can be done. The definition of electrical wiring work includes installing, repairing, altering, removing, or adding to an electrical installation, as well as the supervision of that work. In NSW, it’s an offence to do electrical work without a licence or certificate, and you can be fined $22,000 as an individual for doing unlicensed electrical work.
Worksafe Queensland advises that DIY electrical work, which includes wiring or re-wiring a switch, is regarded as unlicensed electrical work, which is illegal, with penalties of up to $40,000 for individuals. Additionally, any electrical work that exposes an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness attracts a maximum penalty of $600,000 for an individual ($3,000,000 for a corporation) or five years imprisonment.
How to change a light switch plate
If all you’re looking to do is to change up your dirty old light switch plates, you’re in luck! So long as you’re not changing any wiring, anyone is allowed to replace the plates over their switches.
How to install a smart light switch
Smart light switches allow you to remotely control your lights by voice command or with your smartphone. They have an advantage over smart bulbs because you can turn your existing lights and ceiling fans into smart devices. Once installed, you will turn your lights on and off effortlessly, leaving your hands free for more important matters
The installation process for a smart light switch can be tricky if you’ve never installed one before. We have done the research for you and put together this how-to list to make installing your smart light switch an easy task
How to install a smart light switch
Learn your existing wall switch and wiring setup. Before you purchase a smart light switch, you’ll need to figure out the type of switch you need. If the wall panel only has one switch, you need a single-gang. If it has two switches (maybe one switch for a light and one for a ceiling fan), you’ll need a two-gang smart light switch. If it has three switches, you’ll need a three-gang switch.
You also need to know what type of wiring you have. Turn off the power at the fuse box to avoid getting electrocuted. Then, open up the existing switch where you want to install your smart switch and examine the wiring. To open up the switch, unscrew the screws on the wall plate (they’re usually located on the top and bottom of the plate). Use a butter knife or flat-head screwdriver to pry the plate off of the wall, as it can stick in place (often because of paint). Then, unscrew the screws on the actual light switch and gently pull the switch forward.
Look at the wiring setup. Most smart light switches require a ground wire, an “in” wire, an “out” wire, and a neutral wire. Most homes have the in, out, and ground wires, but some homes built before the 1980s don’t have neutral wires. Typically, the neutral wire is a white wire (or group of white wires). If you don’t have a neutral wire, you can still install many smart light switches, but you’ll need to purchase a specific type of smart light switch that doesn’t require a neutral wire. For instance, the Lutron P-PKG1W-WH-R Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch will work without a neutral wire, but it does require its own bridge.
Is it necessary to replace both switches in a 3-way circuit with smart wireless switches?
On a set of switches for my outside lights, I replaced one of the 3-way switches with the HS210 and replaced the other with a manual 3-way switch with pilot lite. Both switches work fine. I can turn the lights on or off manually with either switch (as before replacing them). The pilot light on the manual switch appropriately lights only when the outside lights are on. No matter which switch I use to turn the lights on or off, the HS210 reflects the correct status on the switch and on the network within about a second of the change. In other words, it all just works.
The support page for the HS210 (3-way set) actually tells us that we can. I had to install mine in this scenario. Only one of my switches had a neutral wire. I left the switch without the neutral wire alone and only replaced the switch with the neutral wire. It works fine
P-Link makes the HS200 single pole switch that will not work with 3-Way switches. It has been mentioned that people have gotten the HS200 to work with 3-Way switches, but they have hacked them, which requires soldering electrical components to the circuit board. The issue is smart switches communicate with phone apps, the cloud, and other smart devices. These things need to know the current state of the switch (On or Off). When you have two switches in a 3-Way situation, both need to communicate with each other so each knows the on/off status. The HS200 does not have that capability. Until now there was only one smart switch company that made a companion switch for 3-Way situations, but it required an additional hub. I originally installed 6 HS200’s in my home. I went with TP-Link because of their reputation in the IT world and their smart devices do not require the use of an additional hub. The rest of my switches are 3-Way. I have been waiting for TP-Link to release the HS210 because I want all my switches to have the same look and feel
I found out accidentally that you do not. I was told by TP support that you did. I replaced 1 of my old switch with this one and tested if it would work manually with the 2nd old switch. And it did work. Next I replaced the 2nd old switch with this one. The problem I had was that in the 2nd box, there was no ground wire. I went ahead and wired in the 2nd switch and it would not work. The light would turn off and on. So I re-installed the 2nd old switch. I was going to re-install the 1st old switch, but then I thought I would try to activate the 1st new switch. It did activate via the kasa app. I tried it out and it did work both manually and via the kasa app. I located the 1st new switch on my echo and added it. So now the light works via manual switches and via kasa or alexa.
This chapter describes how to install and connect a Catalyst 3650 switch. It also includes planning and cabling considerations for stacking switches.
Preparing for Installation
Ensure that the following sections are read and understood carefully before the switch is installed
Before installing the switch, verify that these guidelines are met.
For the clearance to the front and rear panels, make sure that:
Front-panel indicators can be easily read.
Clearance is at least 4.4 in. (11.1 cm) from the switch’s rear panel.
Access to ports is sufficient for unrestricted cabling.
AC power cord can reach from the AC power outlet to the connector on the switch’s rear panel.
The SFP or SFP+ module minimum bend radius and connector length are met. See the corresponding SFP or SFP+ module documentation for more information.
Access to the rear of the rack is sufficient for connecting the optional Cisco RPS 2300 module.
For switches with the optional 1025-W power supply module (PWR-C2-1025WAC) or the 1100-W power supply module (PWR-C1-1100WAC), rack-mount the switch before installing the power supply module.