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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4283
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I purchased a GE 15071 7-day in-wall timer switch to replace

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I purchased a GE 15071 7-day in-wall timer switch to replace the switch for an outside lantern above our entry door. The existing switch has a black (hot) wire and a load wire. The new GE 15071 timer switch has a black (hot) wire, then a white wire, and a red wire.

QUESTION: Do I simply cap the red wire, connect hot to the black and load wire to the white?
HiCustomer Can you tell me how many wires are in the wall switch box, and their colors?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

In the wall switch box the wires are both black, but one is load-side and one is hot-side. This is supposed to be a single-pole GE 15071 switch, and it would be replacing a single-pole manual wall switch.


I could understand the need for 3 wires + ground if this were a three-way switch application, but the box even says "Single Pole (Controls lights from one location)".

Thank you for the additional information. Your timer has 4 wires because one is the hot wire that feeds power to the timer (black), one is the switched wire that feeds power from the timer to the light (red), the white wire is a neutral wire, which the timer requires in order to function properly. The green wire is the ground wire.

If you do not have at least 2 white wires connected to each other only in the back of the box, then there is no neutral at that location, and you will need to either route a new feed to that box and abandon the old feed, or exchange the timer for a model that does not require a connection to a neutral wire.

Customer: replied 7 years ago. I would be looking for white neutrals elsewhere in the box, correct? This is a 3-gang box with a few wires behind the switches wire-nutted together and I'll check whether there's a combined white/neutral if that's the direction you tell me.


I took the timer switch back out and replaced with the previous switch so I could restore power (unfortunately my PC is on the same circuit as this light/switch). So once I hear back from you I'll complete the transaction/payment, shut down my PC, and look for white wires behind the switches. Thanks Jason.

If you have a set of 2 or more white wires that are connected to each other in the back of the box, that would be a neutral connection. Simply add the white wire from the timer to that set of wires, and you should be all set. If not, let me know and we'll keep working at it until we get it done.

Please note:

It would be a good idea to turn off all breakers that send power to that box BEFORE interrupting the neutral connection. When live neutrals are disconnected, it creates the possibility of severe equipment damage.

Please reply if necessary, I'll be here.

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