Light Switches Wired In Series -- Why? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 05-11-2008, 10:26 AM   #1
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light switches wired in series -- why?

I appreciate all the help I'm getting replacing the light switches in my old and non-standard house. In at least two places, there are several light switches that seem to be wired together in series.

I made a sketch to show what this looks like. The sketch shows four single-pole switches all located in the same box. All the white wires (shown with dotted lines in the picture) are twisted together and tied off with a wire nut. The switches are all jumpered together in series. Three of the switches operate lights and one operates an outlet (I haven't figured out what the third ones does yet).

What is the point of this? Why aren't they all just wired separately with a black wire and a white wire? Is this safe? When I replace the switches should I just keep everything wired the way it is now?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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What you are seeing is a hot feed connected to each switch and the switched hot going to each light group/receptacle. The whites are neutral wires that are never switched. This is the correct way to wire a group of switches when the hot feed goes to the switch box.


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Old 05-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #3
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the only thing wrong with the setup might be if switches 2 and 3 have 2 wires under 1 screw. That's not allowed.

The other option for this would be to pigtail the incoming hot with 4 leads off it (1 to each switch)

The way a setup like this works is there is 1 incoming cable (hot, neutral and ground) coming into the switchbox to power ALL lights and the receptacle that is switched) instead of running power to them and having a switch loop.

Last edited by CowboyAndy; 05-11-2008 at 11:19 AM.
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