If you are having trouble wondering the different types of home light switches you can install in your home then you came to the right place. This article will tell you the latest and greatest and if you have the correct wiring to install them.
There are many different types of home light switches. From toggle switches to wireless light switches let the opinion of certified electricians give you advise. We install many different kinds and we know switches.
A list a different types of home light switches
- Single location toggle switch (single pole)
- Single location decora switch (single pole)
- 2 location toggle switch (3way)
- 2 location decora switch (3way)
- Multiple location toggle switch (4 Way)
- Multiple location decora switch (4 way)
- Space saver over under switch
- Timer wall switch
- Double Pole Switch
- Dimmer switch
- Fan Control Switch
- Smart Switch
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Different Types Of Home Light Switches
Single Location Toggle Switch
The single location toggle switch is a standard up down switch. The switch has a marking position located top and bottom. The terminal screws are on the right hand side.
These types of switches are the most basic light switch you will see in any home . The switch will supply a load up to 1800 Watts. The switches are wired with your standard nmd wire.
Be single pole a light switch is one of the many different types of home light switches. The light switch can be used for a variety of different kinds of lighting. You’ll also see outlets switch with this kind of switch. This is for switching lamps. Christmas tree lights or anything else you can think of.
Single Location Decora Switch
The single location decora switch is virtually identical to the single pole toggle switch however it is much larger and rectangular in size.
These switches are often referred to as rocker switches and you’ll see them in many higher end homes. Although there is a marking inside the switch cover plate for the top and bottom there’s no indicator on the switch itself to tell you which is off and on. They give a nice clean look and appeal to the home.
Two Location Toggle Switch
The two location toggle switch often referred to as the three way switch is similar to the single pole switch only allowed you to switch an outlet or a light fixture from two locations.
These switches are commonly used on staircases. You will also see them located in hallways in areas that are too large to have one switch. This form of toggle switch has no markings on the switch itself for up and down however it does have markings on the inside of the switch.
This switch has three screw terminals one which is a common and two which referred to as travelers . The travelers do what we call flip flop the power between the two locations of the switch.
Two Location Decora Switch
The switch is literally identical do the way toggle switch. The only difference is it has the rocker switch appearance. These types of switches again are used for a more aesthetically pleasing look.
These types of switches come in variety of colors and a variety of functions.
Space Saver Over Under Switches
Space saver over under switches or another different type of home light switches. The over under switch is used in tight locations. You can have a single pole switch on the top and a single pole switch on the bottom.
Switch can also have a three way switch on the top and a three way switch on the bottom . It actually allows the switch position to be installed in one device box . They are often used in bathrooms .
Some people don’t like these kinds of switches because they’re confusing to use. However they can be cheaper for your electrician to install.
Timer Wall Switch
The timer wall switch is another type of switch which can be used for a variety of applications. The timer can be used for appliances, lighting loads, motor loads or anything else you may want to control automatically up to 1 horse power.
They have a number of programs which you can apply to the timer. Coming with a small digital wall display it makes it very easy to see which mode the timer it is in and what it is running. They have a time clock built in as well as an override button.
Timer wall switches only come in the decora style switch. They have a large back on them two allow for the operating electronics it must be installed in a single device box with lots of space.
Double Pole Switch
Double pole switch is used for switching items like hot water tanks motor loads anything else heavy duty. The switches are for 240 Volt loads. It is they have four screw terminals on the back two for the line and two for the load.
How many people and even some electricians mistake the switches for 4 way switches. You have to have a closer look at the back of the switch to read the line and load to make sure that it is a double pole switch.
The design type also comes in a timer version and a decora version. In some applications you will see these used to switch off and on pool pumps. They are also used to switch off your water pump for your home. This is substituted for a service disconnect so that the plumber can work on your pump if there is a problem.
Dimmer switches nowadays have come a long way. There are a variety of different kinds of dimmer switches. You’re basic dimmer switch controls lightning. Be certain to checkout the rating on the dimmer switch for you make your purchase.
We see time and time again customers change their light bulbs 2 LED and then the dimmer switch does not work board makes the light bulbs flash. this is because the dimmer is not rating for LED lighting. When you purchase a dimmer make sure that it is rated for LED lighting.
Another thing to look for when making a purchase on an LED dimmer is that the dimmer is single pole or 3 way and rated for the location that you were trying to install it in. Some dimmers have a dual rating of single pole and 3 way with LED these dimmers costing around thirty dollars.
To look more at the type of dimmers that we are talking about click here.
In addition to the dimmers mentioned above you can also purchase what is called a wireless dimmer. The dimmer communicates over the neutral wire in your house.
Let’s say you have a set of outside pot lights that you want to control for multiple locations in your home. You can have a wireless dimmer by your basement door, your front door, your patio door in your bedroom all controlling the same set up pot lights. This is a very nice idea.
Another great idea is to use the switch to control lighting or plugs in another building. If you have a shed or garage that you would like to control a set of lights on. You can use a wireless dimmer to tell the lights to shut off and on.
Fan Control Wall Switch
Contrary to popular belief a dimmer switch will not control a ceiling fan. It will simply just burnout overtime including the fan. You will hear a large buzzing noise coming from the fan and possibly the dimmer.
You need to actually install a ceiling fan control . These controls com in both single pole and 3 way. The electronics inside of the fan control are rated for a motor load.
Fan controls also coming wireless. You can purchase these right with the fan. They have a wall control which takes batteries and a module that goes inside the fan.
Smart Switches Wifi
Smart switches are the latest and greatest in technology. They communicate with your home Wi-Fi. The wall switch replaces a regular switch and has the Wi-Fi indicator light on it.
You can control a variety of different kinds of loads. They also have built in Dimmer functions. Be careful though not to add too many of these to your home. You will find it slows down your Wi-Fi signal quite quickly.
To eliminate this problem you may want to look at installing a separate Wi-Fi router so the rotor can act as a hub for the smart switch is to communicate with .
A stand alone Wi-Fi router solely for the purpose up the smart switch is is it good idea. You can also buy a separate hub with your smart home switches.
Will these switches work with my phone?
Yes these switches will work with your phone. You can download a smart phone app to control all of your smart home devices. It can communicate with wall switches, doorbells, cameras heating and much more.
So if you are away and you forgot to lock the doors you can do that from your phone. If you need to turn the heat up for when you get home then yes you can do that too.
Are All Light Switches The Same
The simple answer is no all light switches are not the same . New code states that all wired switches must have a neutral present. This is so you can add things like smart switch is which require a neutral.
A lot of times old school wiring allowed power the light edit switch like down to the light switch. You can identify this by removing the light switch and seeing white and black wire attached to the switch.
This method of wiring is no longer permitted in the 2020 electrical code .
Types Of Light Switch Wiring
There are many different kinds of light switch wiring . You can power through the switch or through the light. Three ways switches often carry a three wire through each of the switches up to the light.
The standard 2 wire light switch has simply two wires coming in for power and 2 wires going out to the light.
More on light switch wiring in another article to see that article click here.
Can I Use a Single Pole Light Switch As A 3 Way
Technically no you should not use a 3 way as a single pole to wire light switch . However if you use the to screw terminals on the right hand side of the 3 way. It will function the same way as a single pole switch.
Make sure that the 3 way switch is properly facing up. This will ensure that the 3 way will be off when it isn’t it down position.
How Many Watts Will A Light Switch Handle?
A standard single pole 15 amp light switch is rated for 1800 Watts of power . You can also get a 20 amp light switch allow for more wattage. It is not recommended surpassing 1500 watts of lightning on a single pole light switch.
This works out to 80% of the circuit load. If you require a larger letting load or multiple circus then you can use a lighting relay. A lighting relay allows multiple circuits to be powered straight from your power source with a signal from the light switch.
This kind of light switch is used in large commercial buildings or factories where they need to turn on many lights at the same time.
How many commercial buildings will have row lighting or fluorescent lighting that they need to turn on all at once.