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Residential Wiring Diagrams
©Copyright Dave Rongey - Summary:
Residential wiring diagrams are an important tool for completing your electrical projects. An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home.
Wiring diagrams can be helpful in many ways, including illustrating wire colors, showing where different elements of your project go using electrical symbols, and showing what wire goes where.This is why a good wiring diagram is important for wiring your home safely.
Keep your wiring diagrams nearby. You’ll want to refer to them often as you work on your project.
|Electrical wiring diagrams that are in color have an advantage over ones that are black and white only.
*The individual wires on the diagram should be colored the same as the actual wires you will be using.
Green or bare wire is the ground wire.
White or off-white is neutral. The neutral wire carries power back to the service panel.
Black indicates the hot wire. The hot wire carries power from the panel to the device you are wiring.
Red blue, or other colors also indicate hot wires.
See more about the types of wire and what they are used for. More about wire
*Important Note: When wires or cables such as Romex are used with switching applications and as Switch Legs, the function of a colored wire may be different from what is noted here. The only way to positively identify wires used for any application is to purchase a good volt tester and understand how to use it .
Electrical Wiring Symbols
When looking at any wiring diagram, start by familiarizing yourself with the symbols that are being used. The electrical symbols will not only show where something is to be installed, but what type of device is being installed. Make sure you understand the symbols on your diagram before beginning your project. There should be a chart on your diagram showing what the different symbols being used represent, much like a legend on a map.
|For example a surface ceiling light will be shown by one symbol, a recessed ceiling light will have a different symbol, and a surface fluorescent light will have another symbol. Each type of switch will have a different symbol and so will the various outlets. You’ll even find symbols showing the location of smoke detectors, your doorbell chime, and the thermostat.Click on the link to find out more about the different electrical wiring diagram symbols|
When it comes to household electricity, there’s a lot more to consider than simply turning a switch On or Off. Some of the most common questions electricians receive involve switches. Once you understand the different types of switches and follow a good wiring diagram, you should be able to install a new switch in your home or repair existing problems with the ones you have.
Here are some of the more common switching configurations.
After absorbing the following information, you will be able to wire switches just as well as the pros:
|Single-Pole SwitchesA Single-Pole Switch provides switching from one location only. Single-Pole may sound simple, but there are different ways to wire a Single-Pole Switch. The power can come from either the switch box or the fixture box and a set of electrical wiring diagrams will explain each of these scenarios to you clearly.|
3-Way Switches are used to control one or more fixtures from two different locations. This is a common configuration in hallways and staircases. There are many ways to wire a 3-Way Switch. The power can start at a fixture or either of the two switches. Without a wiring diagram it can be very easy to make a serious mistake that will cause the circuit to malfunction and possibly become a hazard.
|A wiring diagram will even take the mystery out of wiring a
3-Way Dimmer Switch A dimmer switch can be either a rotary or a sliding switch that lets you adjust the intensity of a light. Both are wired the same way. What a great way to enjoy softer light and a reduced energy bill!
|4-Way SwitchesOne of the most complicated wiring configurations is a 4-Way Switch.
These switches enable you to control one or more fixtures from three or more locations. It would be almost impossible to write the instructions in a way that you could simply read them and complete your project. However, a good wiring diagram will make it possible for you to successfully and safely tackle wiring 4-Way Switches.
|As important as electrical wiring diagrams are to the successful completion of your wiring project, safety and respect for electricity are essential. Never work on live circuits. Before you begin your project, identify the circuit you’re working on and then turn off power to that circuit at the main panel. Then confirm that the power is off with a voltage testerIf at any time you feel unsure about what you’re doing, please call a licensed electrical contractor|
Single Pole Switches
Wiring diagrams that explain the basic wiring for lighting control from a single switch location.
Once you see these wiring diagrams you will understand how to wire 3-way switches.
3-Way Dimmer Switches
Take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch and enjoy softer light and a reduced energy bill when you use one of these wiring diagrams.
Did you know – you can have any number of these switches installed on one control circuit? Once you see how these switches are wired you’ll be amazed, its just one more step up from the 3-way design – you have to see these wiring-diagrams!
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.