How to Wire a Single Pole and 2-Way Switches.

Welcome to In this article, you will learn how to wire a light switch. Both a single pole, two-way, and dimmer switches.

Though it is the work of a licensed electrician to wire a house and electrical box, you as a homeowner can still do some simple installations such as light switch wiring.

Wiring a light switch is one of the easiest things in electrical installation, especially a single-pole. But for non-electrical workers, it always seems to be hard.

Below is a step-by-step guide to wall switch installations in your domestic and residential homes.

single pole light switch wiring

Required tools and materials.

  • Screwdriver
  • Needle nose plier
  • Wire stripper
  • Utility knife


  • Light switch
  • 14/2 electrical wire
  • Wire nuts.

Wire colours and where to use them.

  • Black copper wire: This is a load or hot wire.
  • White wire: Neutral
  • Red wire: Used in 3 or 4-way switch wiring to connect switches together to control the lights.
  • Green wire or bare copper: Earth or ground wire.

Note: Before you work on the electrical system, always turn OFF the control switch or the circuit breaker that controls the branch circuit, and also wear your glove.

How to wire a light switch in 3 steps

To wire a single-pole light switch, just follow the underlisted steps.

Step 1: Power off the branch circuit

Before you work on the electrical field, switch off the circuit breaker that controls the circuit.

This is to rule out the chances of electric shock during the installation.

You should also put on your personal protective equipment (PPE) such as your safety glove, boot, and equally work with insulated tools.

Step 2: Connect the wires

The 14 gauge two wires come with 3 wires, one black hot wire, a neutral white wire and a copper ground wire.

While the switch also comes with three terminals, one earth, and two hot.

  • Remove the wire coat with your utility knife and wire stripper
  • Connect the two neutral white wires together. (The neutral from the power source and the one going to the lamp holder).
  • Join the two earth wires and also connect them to the green earth terminal of the switch
  • Connect the black hot wire from the power source to one of the brown terminals of the switch.
  • Also, connect the black wire from your lamp holder to the second brown terminal to complete the wiring.

Step 3: Attach the switch on the wall

Mount the switch on the metal box and tighten it with screws, and make sure the wires in the box are not trapped.

How to wire a 2-way circuit

A 2-way light switch, also called staircase switches, allows you to control a light bulb from two different locations.

It is useful in staircase lighting and hallways as you can light on the bulb before climbing upstairs and also OFF it when you climb up.

The two-way switches have three screw terminals: COM, L1, and L2.

Intermediate Switch Wiring

Intermediate wiring is like two ways but requires three switches. They are useful in staircases or big buildings where you want to control one light from three locations.

How to install a dimmer switch

How to install a dimmer switch

Dimmer installation is quite easy, it is like single-pole wiring. Dimmers usually come with three short wires, two blacks, and one earth wire.

Installation procedures

Before any installation, check the power rating of the dimmer you buy. Most of them can handle up to 600 watts.

Check the wattage of your bulbs and make sure you did not overload the dimmer.

Note: Dimmer switches don’t work on most fluorescent and LED bulbs. These lights require low-voltage dimmers.

Here are the steps to follow.

  • Turn OFF the power from your electrical panel
  • Unscrew the switch plate and also check the circuit with voltage tester to make sure it is dead.
  • Lose the switch from the electrical box and pull it out.
  • Disconnect the old wires from the switch and connect the dimmer.
  • Use the connectors that come with the fixtures to connect the wires, respectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it matter which wire goes where on a smart light switch?

No, it does not matter provided it is a single-pole switch with two terminals. The light switch doesn’t have neutral terminals, it’s all hot wires from the supply and then to the bulb.

What is the meaning of L1 and L2 on a light switch?

L1 and L2 means line 1 and line 2, while COM is common.

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