Hello I have a light switch box with 2 switches. Now there are 3 14-2 wires and 1 14-3 wire. I am replacing the switches and the old ones are still attached to wires however I have one white wire not attached to anything and has only a cap on it and one white wire was attached to the ground wires. I don't think that is right but I am unsure as I am new to electrical. I need help on how to wire these switches properly. Thank you
Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.
Is this an older home?
Are you able to post a photo here, with all wires shown?
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That's okay. We may be able to do this without a photo anyway.
Do you have bare copper wires in the wall box?
OK, that's good. Now, the only wire that's really in question is the white that's tied in with the grounds. The other white, which is capped off by itself, is evidently not needed. So, I would just leave it that way. However, the white that is in with the bares... if you disconnect that, does anything stop working?
OK, great. If it does, I would not connect the white wire that was in with the bare wires.
I would cap them seperately.
Often, when a white wire is tied in with bare ground wires, it's because there's a problem with the neutral wire on that circuit. But if that's not the case at your house, that's very fortunate. That type of issue can often be very difficult to track down.
They aren't supposed to be grounds, it's actually a Code violation.
You are most welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you at this time?
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Great question. Would you like me to explain the very best method for attaching multiple wires to the same terminal?
Absolutely. First, it would be a Code violation to put two wires on one terminal screw. So, I recommend pigtailing the wires. To do that, bring the two wire ends together, along with a third short (6" or so) piece of wire. Splice all three to each other in one wire nut. Then, take the other end of the short piece to the terminal screw.
I would strip and curl the lone end of the pigtail, and connect it to the screw on the side of the switch.
Can you clarify which other two wires you are asking about? How many total wires were connected to the original switch?
It's okay to use the push-in connection on the back, but they're not know as high integrity connection points. They are actually prone to failure. So, whatever the total number of wires you need connected to one point on a device, splice all of those to each other, along with a pigtail, in one wire nut. Then take the other end of the pigtail the the desired terminal. That references all wires connected to the pigtail to that terminal, and to each other.
Yes, that's fine. Not uncommon at all.
My pleasure. I enjoyed our chat. Thank you for the opportunity to help.
Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.