Replacing A Single Pole Double Stack Switch

You’d think installing a switch in your house would be a simple task but with today’s homes getting larger and bigger this will not be as simple as you think. The very first thing that you must do is find out what type of switch you need to purchase. There are 3 basic kinds of switches in your home, a single pole switch, a 3 way switch, and a four way switch. Then there are odd balls like a double stack.

Single Pole Double Stack Switch

Wireless Touch Switch Black 1 Gang 1 way Light SwitchA double stack switch is a single switch that operates two lights. Watch out with this one you if you wire it backwards you will have one switch turning on both lights and one switch doing nothing. If at the top this happens scroll to the tip of this post I’ll explain what you did and the way to repair.

1) Tools.
a) Thin flat head screw driver
b) Phillips head screw driver
c) drill(optional)
d) wire strippers(maybe)
e) ac tester
f) electric tape(white and orange)
g) sharpie
h) needle nose pliers

2) Shut the ability off to the switch. If your old switch still works (yes people change switches that still work) turn it on. Go to your panel (your panel has the breakers or the fuses in it) and turn the breakers off one after the other. Changing a switch is a one man job but if you wish to avoid running back a forth another person standing there and yelling at you when the sunshine shuts off helps. Ensure you test both switches they may be on separate power supplies. Or shutting all the breakers off and the primary just to make certain is what I might recommend. This is electricity SAFETY FIRST!!!!!

6) Decide what sort of switch you’ve. You must have four screws and two switches on one device. For those who do, you will have a single pole double stack switch, if you have greater than 4 screws you most definitely have a 3 way single pole switch and i’ll explain this in a later post. If you have already got the switch skip to #8, if you don’t put the switch back in the wall for safety, never leave wires exposed for other people to play with. This is electricity SAFETY FIRST!!!!!

7) Go to the shop and buy the switch. Your ready to purchase the switch. That is the simplest and for some people essentially the most frustrating. Do yourself a favor and look on the switch before you buy it. I don’t know how many times I went out and bought a switch that was within the wrong bin. I get all the best way back after which I decide to take a look at it turn around and return to the store. Do not think because its in a box that says double stack single pole you have a double stack single pole. People take out the switches and put them within the wrong box. Believe me it has happened to me loads of times up to now, but not anymore, i check. Also your new switch is not going to say “ON” or “OFF” on it, that is a single pole.

8) Identify your wires. If you set your switch back in then take it back out like I showed you. One side has two screws with a copper bar connecting the two screws and the opposite side has two screws with no copper. Pay attention here because if you don’t you’ll be turning on both lights at the identical time and your other switch will do nothing. The side with the copper in between the two screws will get the new wire. This is only true should you only have 3 wires connected to the switch. One hot and two switch legs. The two switch legs are connected to the side without the copper in between. Mark the recent together with your electrical tape and take away all the wires from the switch. If your switch has no copper in between the 2 screws and you’ve got four wires, look closely you will note that copper has been broken in between two of the screws and if you happen to look at the back of the switch the side with the broken copper tab will say HOT. These are your hot wires. I would like you to mark the bottom hot wire and the bottom switch leg with the identical color and mark the hot with a sharpie with the letter H. Mark the top wires the identical way with a unique color. I do not care what bottom is. Take the wires off.

10) Connecting the brand new switch.
For three wires= Pick up your switch and ensure it’s a single pole double stack switch. Hold it together with your left hand so the screws with the copper in between face up and the decorative side is facing you. Take the marked wire and wrap it across the one of the screws with the copper tab between them, ensure the wire is totally under the screw and tighten. Chances are you’ll need to a little more insulation off the wire to get an excellent loop across the screw. Sometimes the loop is too long and you could have to shorten the exposed copper on your wire. If it’s essential make a brand new loop that is the way you do it. Strip about an inch of exposed copper in your wire. To make a very good loop your strippers usually have a small hole near the teeth of the tool. Place the wire half way into the opening and bend, that ought to offer you a pleasant loop. Take the remaining wires and wrap it around the remaining screws on the other side of the switch and tighten.
Four Wires= Pick up your switch and make sure it is a single pole double stack switch. Hold it together with your left hand so the screws face up and the decorative side is facing you. Take two of the identical color marked wires and put the recent wire on the hot side of the switch. That’s the side with the copper in between. If you set the new on the underside then put the identical marked switch leg on the bottom but on the other side of the switch. Repeat with the opposite two wires. IMPORTANT!!!!!!! BREAK THE COPPER TAB BETWEEN The 2 HOT SCREWS. If you don’t do that you’ll short the circuit. You possibly can do that with needle nose pliers.

12) Finishing. Put the plate back on. Please for me be sure your screws are all facing the same way on your plate(i know but its a pet peeve) If your box has multiple switches you could have to slide your switch left or right to get the plate on. Turn the power on because you just finished installing your double stack switch. Enjoy

13) Troubleshoot If by chance you have one switch turning on both lights its a simple fix. You set the switch legs on the with the copper tab between the 2 screws. Your hot wire goes on this side and the other two wires go on the opposite side.


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