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Electrical light switch advice needed (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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Hopefully, I can do this without calling an electrician.

I need to change from a dimmer to a two pole light switch

First question: After I turn off the power, how do I disconnect the two black wires from this box on the back of the dimmer? Do they just pull out? Is there a release anywhere?

16111C11-FECF-47E7-9322-67A350B073C1.jpeg

Next, I am hoping I only need those two black wires to connect to the light switch (all the other wires are tucked away inside the wall

This is where it gets tricky...

Do I only need those two black wires and do they get attached to the switch as indicated by the blue arrows? Does there need to be a grounding wire on the other side? There was none attached to the dimmer

4B7461D4-D9E0-4C94-B5DB-97C4101E0161.jpeg
 

JohnRice

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Ron, there's only one pole on a standard (not three-way) light switch. So, if you can't pop open that dimmer and release the wires, then you just cut them off as close to the housing as you can and strip about 1/2" to expose enough wire. If you don't see a bare metal ground wire, then there's nothing needed on that front. Also, look at the back of the new switch. Better ones will also have a way to insert the wire into the housing with either a spring loaded way to hold it, or by clamping down on the wire, instead of using the screws on the side. I always prefer inserting the wire into the housing, if it has that option, than clamping down with a screw.
 

JohnRice

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BTW, your graphic appears to be a three-way switch. You can't use a three way switch on a two way connection. the new switch should only have two connections (plus a ground) as opposed to the three shown in the graphic.
 

Ronald Epstein

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John,

Really, really, really appreciate the help.

This is the actual switch I ordered from Amazon. It is arriving today...

5EEAB9DA-B1CF-46BF-94DD-C18812473C8E.jpeg

So, I just take the two black wires and connect them as indicated?

Is it that easy?
 

Ronald Epstein

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Yes.

It is genuinely THAT easy.

And that box on the back of the dimmer should pry open?

Wow. Can't believe all I have to do is turn off the power, release those two black wires, and screw them into the new switch.

Easy Peasy!

John, THANK YOU!
 

JohnRice

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I would expect it to open, but it might not. You're replacing it, so it doesn't matter if you destroy it.
 

JohnRice

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It occurs to me, the wires from the dimmer might go to wire nuts in the wall that need to be pulled out. If you end up cutting those black wires you see, that should be just fine, but if you (gently) try pulling the wires out of the wall, you'll probably find they are connected to the house romex wire in the wall.

Definitely don't force it, just give a look.
 

Ronald Epstein

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It occurs to me, the wires from the dimmer might go to wire nuts in the wall that need to be pulled out. If you end up cutting those black wires you see, that should be just fine, but if you (gently) try pulling the wires out of the wall, you'll probably find they are connected to the house romex wire in the wall.

Definitely don't force it, just give a look.

Okay. There's a first time for everything.

Just waiting for the switch to arrive. If all goes well, it should take under 5 minutes.

I will let you know how it turns out.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Ron,

John is correct. Two pole switches are pretty simple. I am no electrician, but replaced a couple with Kasa smart switches that can be controlled remotely and by Alexa -- lets me have the lights turn on/off while we are away, making it look like someone is at home. The only other thing I needed was the white neutral wire, but you do not need that in your case.
 

Ronald Epstein

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John and Scott,

Just want to update you both.

I am still here. Did not get electrocuted though I was quite nervous changing out that dimmer for a light switch.

However, in the end, it was extremely easy. Just pulled out the two black wires from the dimmer switch and screwed them into the new light switch. I turned the power back on and it worked!

Thank you both for your help. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. This was a bit of a scary experience for me as I generally don't try this kind of thing and I am working with electricity.
 

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