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Old 04-14-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


Is it OK to install double pole light switches to replace single pole light switches wired together? The current single pole wiring set up has an incoming red wire coming into the top left to the first switch and an incoming white wire attached to wire nut and another white wire coming out of that going into the bottom left of the first switch. There's also a white jump wire going from the bottom right of the first switch going to the bottom right of the second switch. There's a black wire going into the upper right of the second switch. The ground wire just has a wire nut attached to it as it's not connected to either switch.

Should I just buy new single pole switches and reconnect everything the same way, or can I use the double pole switches I just bought and use the same (or different?) wiring set up.

Many thanks!
Bruce
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


Whatever you do,remove that cap and connect that bare wire to the ground screw on the switch.
If you use 2 switches pig tail the ground to the second switch too.

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Old 04-14-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


You can certainly replace the two single switches with a double switch but then you will have an empty spot in the junction box. There is no neutral in that box so you can not instal a receptacle if that is what you are thinking.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


What are you trying to accomplish? This doesn't make sense. You already have two switches, and it sounds like you want to replace both of them with two double pole switches? Why? If you're intending to replace the two existing switches with a single double pole switch so one switch controls both things, that's still unnecessary. You don't need a double pole switch to do that. You can just use one of the existing switches.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


You could use a single pole switch.Connect the black and red with a tail to switch.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:06 PM   #6
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


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Should I just buy new single pole switches and reconnect everything the same way, or can I use the double pole switches I just bought and use the same (or different?) wiring set up.
Depends on what you are trying to do.
WHAT are you trying to do???
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #7
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


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You could use a single pole switch.Connect the black and red with a tail to switch.
Really can not, due to that is actually two Switch legs.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:55 PM   #8
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


Thanks for everyone's input. To be more specific as to what I'm trying to accomplish, the first goal is to simply replace the ivory colored switches and plates in the room with all-white. So far, all the switches I've replaced in the house have been double pole, so that's why I automatically bought the double pole switches. However, when I opened up the plate, I discovered the original switches there were single pole, hence my original question about using double pole switches to replace the single pole switches.

Currently, one of the two switches there controls the ovehead room and the other one controls the ceiling fan, so I do want separate switches to control them. I am also adding a wall sconce just above the light plate, so I'm actually adding a third switch which has a dimmer on it.

I can certainly return the double poles and exchange them for singles. I just need to be certain that I should continue the series wiring from the first to the second to the third switch, as shown in the photo attached.

Thanks!
Bruce
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:58 PM   #9
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


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I am also adding a wall sconce just above the light plate, so I'm actually adding a third switch which has a dimmer on it.
You will not be able to do that without getting a new feed to the switch box. Your switch box has no neutral.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:02 PM   #10
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


Bruce54, you have Three way switches, Four Way switches and Single Pole switches. What are you calling "Double Pole" Switches?
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:03 PM   #11
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


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So far, all the switches I've replaced in the house have been double pole, so that's why I automatically bought the double pole switches
Do you mean 3 WAY switches? Do the switches have 3 screws or 4?
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:05 PM   #12
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


To clarify, I'm replacing the 2 gang box with a 3 gang box to add an extra single pole combination toggler/dimmer switch. k_buz, the double pole switches have 4 screws plus a ground. Are you saying I need to add an additional feed to the box to run the third switch?

Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #13
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


Can you give me an example of how you used these double pole switches in the past? What color wires did you put to what terminals.

Better yet, take a picture of a switch you replaced before getting to this 2 gang switch box. There is something going on here, and if you have done what I think you might of, you are going to want to go back to the switches you have already replaced.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:16 PM   #14
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


k_buz, I can certainly post a photo of some of the previously replaced switches, but I can tell you that ALL of the other double pole switches (4 screws each) I have replaced from ivory to white had two separate Romex wires coming into the box, each with one white, one black and one ground wire so that each of the 4 screws on each switch had its own appropriate wire connected. This is the first switch (and the last room in the house) that I've encountered that has this wiring configuration. Does this help?

Last edited by bruce54; 04-14-2012 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:36 PM   #15
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Replacing single pole light switches with double pole


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Originally Posted by bruce54 View Post
k_buz, I can certainly post a photo of some of the previously replaced switches, but I can tell you that ALL of the other double pole switches (4 screws each) I have replaced from ivory to white had two separate Romex wires coming into the box, each with one white, one black and one ground wire so that each of the 4 screws on each switch had its own appropriate wire connected. This is the first switch (and the last room in the house) that I've encountered that has this wiring configuration. Does this help?
That is because the Red & Black are the "Switches" to turn on and off lights, with the White being the Hot. Whoever wired it originally did not color the white as either Red or Black, as it should have been done.

As for the other switches, what rooms were they in, and can you post a picture as asked of the switches you replaced?

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