Adding a neutral wire to a light switch

Adding a neutral wire to a light switch. A neutral wire is used to carry the electrical current back to the power source; the reason is to control the voltage coming to the switch. In every electrical circuit, we have hot wires and neutral wires.

It provides a return path to the earth’s ground. Some circuits are incomplete without a neutral wire; some are not.

The neutral wire is not directly connected to the electrical switch; it is connected to the earth’s ground within an electrical system through a panel.  It is connected using a cable known as a hot or black wire. 

You can either add a new neutral wire to the switch box or extend the old wire to the new box. However, it is a little frightening when using a light switch that has not been replaced for years.

Among other options, it is preferable to take a neutral wire from an electrical switch box and use it in the switch that you want to install.

Adding a neutral wire to a light switchadding a neutral wire to a light switch

This process requires strictly following the guidelines to avoid any kind of electrical hazard:

  1. Identify the neutral wire in the switch box by looking into the electrical board, breaker panel, breaker box, panel board, or main electrical panel. 
  2. To check if you have a neutral wire, you can open the electrical switch box and look for a white wire. If your switch box doesn’t have a neutral wire, you can either get it installed by an electrician or use smart switches that mainly do not require neutral wires.
  3. The neutral wire in the circuit connects to the silver screen or is placed in the back wire hole. It is essential to know that the black (hot) wire in the electrical circuit goes to the brass screw or in the hole at the back of the device.
  4. If there is no neutral wire in the switch, it means that the circuit is completed when it is turned ON and incomplete when it is turned OFF. 
  5. Once you have identified the neutral wire in your light circuit, you will then need to route that neutral wire back down to your light switch. Turn off the power and unscrew and connect one wire at a time.
  6. Connect the first wire you have unscrewed to the same colored screw on the electrical switch.
  7. Now push the newly installed wire switch back into the electrical box and screw it back into its place.
  8. If you have multiple light fixtures connected, you will need to find the last light fixture in the chain to determine which one has the neutral wire that returns to the electrical panel or the neutral wire in the circuit.
  9. There is usually an outlet for neutral wire on the electric circuit, but it does not always run to the light switch. This is where the neutral wire will be installed.

Although smart switches do not require a neutral wire for the timing of light purposes, if you have an old house (constructed in the 80s), you can convert it to an intelligent home electrical system that would not require neutral wiring.

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