How to Wire Multiple Lights to One Circuit Breaker
Multiple lighting fixtures can be connected on a single circuit if they are protected by a circuit breaker rated at 15 amperes and wired with 14-gauge copper wire. This is a practical way of positioning lighting in basements or attics without filling up the main electric panel with separate circuits. You can perform the work with a few tools, materials and a basic understanding of electrical circuit wiring.
Check the circuit breaker intended for the light circuit at the main electrical panel to ensure it is in the "Off" position. Tag the breaker to alert others of electrical work being done.
Test the 14-2 grounded ROMEX® power supply cable at the light switch box with a voltage tester to verify that no power exists. Touch one probe to the tip of the black hot wire and the other probe to the white neutral wire and then to the bare copper ground.
Cut four inches of the ROMEX® sheathing from the end of each of the cables using a utility knife. Strip 1/2 inch from all of the black and white insulated wires with the wire strippers.
Bend an open end loop at the stripped end of the black hot wire from the power supply using needle-nose pliers. Attach the looped end of the wire to the lower terminal on the side of the switch and tighten the terminal screw clockwise with the appropriate screwdriver.
Cut a 6-inch length of bare copper ground wire from stock with wire cutters. This length will be used as a pigtail connection. Bend an open end loop in one end of the copper wire.
Connect the looped end of the bare copper wire to the green ground post screw and tighten with a screwdriver. Connect the straight end to the end of the bare copper ground from the first light fixture box using a wire nut. Tighten the nut clockwise using your hand.
Bend a loop in the black wire from the first fixture box and connect it to the upper terminal of the switch. Tighten the terminal screw.
Connect the white neutral wire from the power supply cable to the white wire from the first fixture box with a wire nut.
Bend an open end loop in each of the black and white wires at the first fixture box. Connect the white wire from the switch box and the white wire from the second fixture box to the two silver terminal screws at the first fixture box. Tighten the screws clockwise.
Connect the black wires at the first fixture box to the gold terminal screws. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver.
Connect the bare copper ground wires at the first fixture box with a wire nut. Tighten clockwise using your hand.
Repeat Steps 9 through 11 for all additional fixtures.
Wrap electrical tape around each of the wire nuts. Wrap it clockwise and overlap it onto the wire with several turns. Also wrap tape around the switch terminals.
Secure the switch and the light fixtures into their respective boxes.
Restore the electrical power. Remove the tag from the breaker.
- Be sure that all the looped ends of the wires are facing to the right when tightening the terminal screws. This prevents the loop from opening when the screw is turned.
Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.