How to Wire an In-Line Switch


Why It’s Important to Connect Hot and Neutral Wires Correctly


You can attach the wires to a plug without paying attention to hot and neutral, and your plug will operate without anything seeming wrong. However, if your plug is on the other end of a wire from a socket or other electrical item, in order for the hot and neutral wiring to operate in a way that protects you, you must wire the plug correctly with regard to hot and neutral. For example, if your plug is on the other end of the wire from a socket, the chance of getting a shock when handling the socket – especially while changing the bulb -- is higher if you don’t connect the hot and neutral wires correctly on both ends.

Electricity creates a circuit through the bulb by running through the metal tab at the bottom of the socket, where the bulb sits, through the bulb, and through the metal threads where the bulb is screwed in.

When wired properly, the metal threads will never be “hot” or give you a shock, whether the switch is on or off. When wired incorrectly, the threads – and any metal touching the threads, including the outside of the socket, if it is conductive metal, or the threads of a light bulb – can give you a shock whether the switch is on or off. Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions for the hot and neutral wires carefully for both the plug and the socket.

However, some plugs are non-polarized. A polarized plug will have one prong wider than the other, which is the neutral, and usually silver-colored prong. The hot prong will be narrower and usually gold-colored. With a non-polarized plug, you can wire either wire to either prong.


Wiring the Switch

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