Need Help on Replacing Dual Single Pole Light Switch

zxttfanFebruary 15, 2011

I need to replace a dual single pole light switch (two switches stacked) in a single box. My issue is the old switch has terminals for all the existing wires (3 neutral and 2 hot wires), but the new switch only has 4 terminals (2 hot, 2 neutral). The old switch has completely separate switches, the top a standard switch and the bottom switch labled "A.C. only". The "A.C. only" switch has 1 hot terminal and 2 neutral terminals, while the standard switch has the traditional one hot and neutral terminals. This standard switch operates the room ceiling fan and light-I don't know what the "A.C. only" switch is for and haven't been able to track these wires down. They do not operate the outlets in the room. Additionally, both black wires are independently hot. So when I wire the new switches, the top switch will contain the celing fan and light hot and neutral. Can I combine the 2 remaining neutrals together with a feeder wire so they will fit the open neutral post on the bottom switch? Is it safe and code correct to do so, even though I don't know where these wires go and what they are for? Also, since the black wires are independently hot, should I assume they operate on separate circuits and therefore remove the break-off tab? The house was built in 1935 with full lathe and plaster, so I'm not inclined to get into the walls to find out where these unknown wires run.

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Ron Natalie

You really need to figure out what is going on before you touch *ANYTHING*.
There's no NEUTRAL on this switch PERIOD. If you actually managed to put HOT and NEUTRAL across the switch, the breaker/fuse will blow as soon as you turn it on.

The first thing you have to determine is if you have a switch loop or an incoming feed going through the switches to the light and fan. I suspect the prior.

Hopefully you've not disconnected the wires from the old switch yet.
If you haven't we can help you diagnose things. If you have, you'll need an electrician to unscramble the mess you've made.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 6:44AM
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Toggle switches do NOT have neutrals.

Your lack of this basic understanding calls into question your ability to safely perform this task.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 9:35AM
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The switch with 3 terminals may be a 3-way switch, but the nomenclature you're using doesn't make sense. There are no neutral connections on a switch.

I suggest that you pick up a copy of Wiring Simplified at your local bookstore or Home Depot store, or check it out of the library, and do some reading on basic electrical circuits before proceeding.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:27PM
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