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How to Install a Two Single Pole Switch

When adding a new light fixture in your home, there may not be enough area on your wall to add an additional light switch inside its own electrical box. Installing a combination two single pole switch solves the dilemma of not enough space. The convenience of installing a combination two single pole switch is you will not have to add a larger electrical box; no cutting of the drywall, yanking out an old box and installing a new one.


Step 1

Turn off the power to the switch circuit by turning off the breaker at the main electrical panel. 


Step 2

Remove the cover to the original switch, exposing the electrical box and the wiring.  Use an electrical tester and verify that the power is disconnected.

Touch one prong of the tester to the black wire connected to the switch and the other prong to any metal on the switch or electrical box.  If the tester does not light, then the power has been disconnected correctly.


Step 3

Remove the original switch.  Release the switch from the electrical box by removing the screws from the top and the bottom of the switch.

Pull the switch from the electrical box and loosen the two screws on the right side of the switch and pull the wires from beneath the screws.  Discard the old switch.

Locate the white wires inside the electrical switch box and remove the wire connector from them.  Repeat this procedure to disconnect the bare copper wires inside the electrical box.


Step 4

Pull a length of 14/2 nonmetallic (NM) cable from the new fixture to the original electrical switch box.  Leave at least 6 inches of cable exposed at the switch box.


Step 5

Strip the 14/2 NM cable.  Use dual NM wire cutter/strippers and remove 4 inches of exterior sheath from the NM cable exposing the black, white and bare copper wires.


Step 6

Install the two single pole switch.  Locate all three white wires inside the original switch box.

Use a red wire connector and twist it onto all three wires, connecting them together.  Repeat this procedure for all three bare copper wires inside the switch box.

Push these wires to the back of the switch box.  Wrap the original black power wire onto the screw located on the right side of the two single pole switch.

Wrap the two remaining black wires from the fixtures around the two screws on the left side of the two single pole switch.  Push all wires into the electrical box and connect the two single pole switch to the switch box.

Cover the two single pole switch with a duplex receptacle cover. 


Step 7

Install the fixture according to the manufacturer's directions.  Turn the power to the switch back on at the main electrical panel.

Things You Will Need

  • Phillips or flat head screwdriver
  • Electrical tester
  • 14/2 NM cable
  • Dual NM wire cutter/strippers
  • Combination two single pole switch
  • Duplex receptacle cover

Warning

  • Test to verify that the electricity is off to the area that you are working in to avoid electrical shock.

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.