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Old 06-20-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


This really has been a pet peeve of mine in my house where the switch on the left controls the light upstairs to the right, and the switch on the right controls the light downstairs to the left. The middle controls the outside light which is fine.

Also at work theres a few large rooms where the left switch controls the lights on the right and the right switch controls the lights on the left.

I asked someone about this one time and they said that they read it was code to do it that way. They did not know the reason behind it. I'm curious if it is really code to wire switches this way and WHY is it code to cross the lines like that? I would like to rewire my switches at home personally so the left switch controls the left light and vice versa, but if there is a particular safety reason why its the way it is, I will leave it be and continue to "think backwards" when flipping switches. I just think it would make sense for the switch on a multi-switch plate to control the light it is closest to.



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Old 06-20-2012, 02:24 PM   #2
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


What is the most common direction you go when you enter that door? If it is upstairs then it makes sense to me to have the upstairs light switch be the first and easiest to hit when you enter the door.

There is no code on this and you can switch the locations if you prefer them in a different order.

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Old 06-20-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


I think this is one of those "taste's great vs. less filling" arguments (or prong on three prong up vs. down) (or toilet flange flush vs. toilet flange above).

While I value joed's input, I am an anal CPA and agree with the OP that the switches should be direction oriented to the fixtures.

OP, if you are handy, then you can orient the switches to however you want to.

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Old 06-20-2012, 03:29 PM   #4
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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This really has been a pet peeve of mine in my house where the switch on the left controls the light upstairs to the right, and the switch on the right controls the light downstairs to the left.

If this is a pet peeve then your life is very good! Go buy a lottery ticket.
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


I usually enter through the garage door which for my house means I am coming up from those downstairs.

Its a bi-level and while that door on the landing is the front entrance, it's easier for me to go through the garage.

Yeah there's no big issue with me doing simple wiring... I can swap it but I was just curious if there was a particular reason or code stating why it was originally wired this way.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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... I can swap it but I was just curious if there was a particular reason or code stating why it was originally wired this way.
No code at all on this, but I do consider it poor practice.

I always try to arrange multi-gang switches in a logical order as to placement of the lights.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:07 PM   #7
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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No code at all on this, but I do consider it poor practice.

I always try to arrange multi-gang switches in a logical order as to placement of the lights.
You will never please everyone... I used to install the OS light switch closest to the door and half the people would complain that they would rather the interior light be in that location... go figure.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


Even easier, just get some remote controlled lighting, and that way, when you pull in, you can just hit the remote on your keychain to turn them on. What is really worst, is when you have the mystery switch in the mix, and even the builder can never tell you what it does.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:22 PM   #9
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


I used to get service calls for one receptacle in each bedroom didn't work. And one switch didn't do anything. Or my favorite service call to reset the GFI. Duh. Here's your sign.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
No code at all on this, but I do consider it poor practice.

I always try to arrange multi-gang switches in a logical order as to placement of the lights.
Same here
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #11
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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I used to get service calls for one receptacle in each bedroom didn't work. And one switch didn't do anything. Or my favorite service call to reset the GFI. Duh. Here's your sign.
agree, my favorite is lights are not working... me: "did you change the lamp?" customer: "Yes, and it still doesn't work" Show up and change the lamp... why do people lie about that stuff?
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:10 PM   #12
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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agree, my favorite is lights are not working... me: "did you change the lamp?" customer: "Yes, and it still doesn't work" Show up and change the lamp... why do people lie about that stuff?
Simple answer....they say the did because if they admit it you would think they are stupid.....but they are OK knowing themselves that they are stupid for not checking the lamp first.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:15 PM   #13
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


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Simple answer....they say the did because if they admit it you would think they are stupid.....but they are OK knowing themselves that they are stupid for not checking the lamp first.
I always suggest over the phone that they check the lamp first, and they still insist it's not that lamp... must be some really lonely people in this world, at least to pay to see me.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:22 PM   #14
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


Put the switches where the customer wants them. He asked for a reason why they would be where they are. I gave one possible reason.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:21 PM   #15
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Why are switches placed furthest from light?


Heh,

Well one good thing is I have been changing out all the brown backstabbed outlets and switches for new white ones and I hook them back up with the screw terminals. All the back stabbed ones seem pretty tight here, but I heard some pretty bad stories with them coming loose for some people.

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