What is a simple part of your day that you overlook? Turning on and off your lights. There are multiple types of light switches and dimmers for your home. Today’s blog and professionals at Sanford Electric Company II, Inc. will help you decide which ones are best for your rooms.

Why light switches are important for homes:

There is more to lights than just the “on” and “off” settings. This is our guide to light switches and dimmers. We will discuss nine of them today.

Years ago, light switches were very simple. Now, every aspect of your home is an opportunity for home improvement. Updated light switches and  dimmers are no exception asa they may increase the value of your house greatly. Once you have found the perfect piece of art, chandelier, or light fixture, it is then time to choose the right light fixture along with a switch and a dimmer.

Turning on a switch completes the circuit which lets electricity flow through it. Turning off a switch breaks the circuit. The switch creates a gap that stops the flow of electricity. Switches may looks the same, but they can function differently. There are different types of styles of switches as well: toggle, rocker, slider, or push button. However, the switch style does not affect the switch function or wiring.

Single-pole switch:

light switchA single-pole switch has a labeled toggle for ON and OFF and has two terminals. Some other switches are not labeled. These switches are good for small rooms with few light sources. They are the most generic of the switches. Single-pole switches control a light, receptacle, or another device from a single location.

A single-pole switch has two brass colored screw terminals. It is wired to the hot, current-carrying, wire. This wire is usually black. One brass terminal is for the incoming hot wire. The other terminal is for outgoing hot wire to the device. You won’t need to fool with it as the Sanford Electric specialists will do the work, but most single-pole switches include a ground terminal for connecting the circuit’s ground wire as well.

Most often, the white wire is neutral and is not connected to the switch. Sometimes a white wire may be a hot wire in which case it should have a strip of black electrical tape near the switch terminal to make it obvious it is a hot wire.

Double-pole switch:

The double-pole switch is commonly found in industrial settings, but it can be found in home wiring systems too. This switch also has the ON and OFF labels. This switch controls a piece of equipment from one location. The main difference between a single-pole and double-pole switch is that there are four hot brass terminals plus a ground in a double-pole switch. This switch is rated for 30 amps, so it can control a higher-demand appliance.

Three-way switch:

Three-way switches come in pairs. There is always two switch locations to control a light or receptacle with a three-way switch. They do not have ON and OFF labels because the positions will change depending on which switch location you use.

A three-way switch is perfect for a stairway. One switch at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. This makes is safe and convenient when looking for a light switch in the dark. There is no need to go all the way up the stairs in the dark.

Four way switch:

A four-way switch is very similar to a three-way. However, it has four terminals. Four-way terminals control three lights, and are used in between two three-way switches. This provides control for an outlet or light fixture from three or more different locations. This is great for rooms with multiple entrances or larger rooms.

light switchesFor example, if you would like to control the lights from five locations, two three-way switches, one on each end of the room. And you would use three four-way switches in between those two three-way switches. Leave the complicated placements to the professionals at Sanford Electric.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this week’s basics blog about light switches. Next week we will continue the discussion and dive into the aesthetics of switches too. Consider contacting us for a dimmer to set the perfect atmosphere for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Staff Writer

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