How do I install a single pole switch?

The simplest switch system-the single-pole toggle switch is illustrated here.

  • The ordinary single-pole toggle switch provides a means for breaking or feeding electrical current to a light, appliance, etc.
  • The single-pole toggle switch has two brass terminal screws. One wire (usually the black) is cut, then is connected to the two brass terminals.
  • The other wire (white) is uninterrupted from the power source to the light or fixture.
  • When connecting a wire to the terminal screw of a switch, always turn the loop on the end of the wire in the same direction as the screw threads, as shown in the illustration below. If the loop is turned in the opposite direction (B), tightening the screw will loosen the loop.
  • If the wire connects to the terminal screw and then runs on, cut and strip the wire on both sides of the cut. Using a 6" piece of wire with both ends stripped-sometimes called a pigtail-and a wire nut, fasten the three wires together. Connect the pigtail to the terminal.
  • Use wire nuts or screw-on connectors to save time and effort when you must make a splice in any electrical wire.
  • Always cover any soldered connection with insulating tape. If soldered sections are rough, apply an extra layer of tape. Insulate the wire an additional inch or two beyond the soldered connection in each direction.
  • White wires should generally be attached to light-colored terminal screws such as silver. Black wires should generally be attached to dark-colored screws such as brass colored. If the terminal screws are the same color, either wire can generally be attached to either terminal. Green terminal screws are for grounding wire.


Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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