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Types of Electrical Switches in the Home

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Single Pole Switch
Types of Electrical Switches in the Home

Single Pole Switch

© Cooper Wiring Devices 2007

Single Pole Switch
The single pole switch is the general purpose workhorse of switches. Single pole switches turn a light, receptacle or device on and off from a single location. A characteristic of a single pole toggle switch is that it has an on and off marking on the switch, something you will not find on a three or four way switch. Make sure the switch is wired in the correct direction so the words "on" and "off" are facing correctly.

A single pole switch has two terminals and is wired to the hot (black) wire. One brass colored terminal is for the incoming hot wire and the other is for the outgoing hot wire to the device. The switch may or may not come with a ground terminal (green screw). As a general rule, you never wire the switch to the neutral wire.

Please note, sometimes you may see a white wire attached to the single pole switch but only when it is functioning as a hot wire. In those cases the white wire should have a wrap of black tape on it near the switch terminal to let one know the wire is a hot wire and not a neutral wire.

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