Installing Specialty Switches

If you thought dimmers were about as fancy as switches could get, think again. There's a whole world of specialty switches out there just waiting to make your life more convenient, and they're every bit as easy to install as an ordinary dimmer.

Timer switches and solid-state programmable switches can turn fixtures on and off when you're not around. And motion-sensor switches will turn on the lights when they sense your presence so you're never in the dark. Be aware, though, that some of these switches require a neutral wire connection so they can't be installed at the very end of a circuit. Don't worry-we'll show you how to tell what will and won't work in your installation.



Timer switches have three preattached wire leads. The black lead connects to the hot wire, and the red lead connects to the wire that carries power to the light fixture. The remaining neutral lead is connected to the neutral circuit wires. After a power failure, be sure to reset the switch to the proper time. (If the circuit you're working on doesn't have a neutral lead, an analog timer switch won't work. Use a solid-state programmable model instead.)


Solid-state programmable switches require no neutral wire connections. That means they can be installed in switch boxes containing either one or two cables -- at the end of a circuit run or somewhere in the middle. Both wire leads on the switch connect to hot circuit wires with wire connectors.





Installing a Three-Way Switch

Installing a Dimmer Switch

Replacing a Wall Switch

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