Click! The switch is open, allowing current to flow through the light bulb, and the lamp is on. Click again, the current has been cut, and the lamp is off. We take switches for granted, but if you have ever remodeled a room, you know that it takes some thought to choose the right kind of switches because there are many, many variations on the standard switch.

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For example, you may want a three-way switch that will turn lights off and on from either end of a hallway or staircase. Or you may want to install dimmer switches so you can tailor light levels and energy usage according to your needs. An occupancy sensor switch that automatically turns on the lights when you enter a room and turns them off when you exit can be exceptionally convenient. Or you may want something much more sophisticated, such as a central lighting control.

In this section of HomeTips, we discuss the switch options available, how to install them, and how to do your own repairs.

How to Install and Wire Light Switches

• How to Install Light Switches
Standard Single-Pole Light Switch Wiring
How to Wire 3-Way Switches
How to Wire 4-Way Switches
How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Light Switch Buying Advice

• Light Switches Buying Guide
Timer Light Switches

Light Switch Repair and Replacement

How to Repair & Replace Light Switches


Featured Resource: Get a Pre-Screened Local Electrical Switch Wiring Pro

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort