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Home Improvement

The Different Types Of Electrical Switches In The Home

Wall switches may look the same, but they may function in different ways

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Photography: Unsplash | Kurt Alvarez (Main Photos)

One of the most important and most basic electrical components found in a house is the wall-mounted light switch, which comes in various styles.

But though wall switches generally look similar when installed, they may function in different ways depending on the kind of switch being used there. Here is what you need to know about the basic types of electrical switches commonly found in the home.

Single-pole switch

The single-pole switch is the simplest of the different types of switches. It features a toggle with markings saying “ON” and “OFF” and two terminals, and is wired to “hot” or current-carrying wires—one terminal to the incoming hot wire and the other to the outgoing hot wire connected to the device. This kind of switch is commonly used for small rooms where there are only a few light sources.


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Double-pole switch

Like a single-pole switch, the double-pole switch also has a toggle marked “ON” and “OFF” and controls a device from a single location. What is different about this type of switch is that it has four terminals and a ground, so it can be connected to two pairs of hot wires. The double-pole switch can be used to control higher-demand appliances and machines.

Three-way switch

A three-way switch can be used to control a device, such as a light fixture, from two different locations. Along with a ground terminal, it has three terminals, with the darkest screw terminal connected to the hot wire from the power source and the other two functioning as travelers. This is the type of electrical switch you can use to light a stairwell or a long hallway.


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Four-way switch

To control a device or a light fixture from three or more different locations, you need to use a four-way switch. It doesn’t have “ON” and “OFF” markings but features four terminals and a ground terminal. It functions as a switching device for traveller wires between three-way switches. The four-way switch is also a good option for large rooms that has several entrances.

Source: The Spruce

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