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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4278
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I have a wall switch for my garbage disposal Id like to replace.

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I have a wall switch for my garbage disposal I'd like to replace. I took out the old box and removed the wires. However, the wires are too big for my new wall switch so I can't shove them in the holes on the back. There are 3 wires coming out of the wall, all black. The new switch box has only 2 side screw terminals. Can I safely ( and according to code) put 2 black wires on one screw terminal and one on the other? If no, do I need different switch boxes to fit the old wires? Thanks! Kate

Jason :

Hi Kate. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

The push-in holes aren't really the way to go anyway, so I would definitely use the side screw terminals.

Jason :

However, it is a Code violation to put two wires around one screw.

Jason :

That being the case, you can pigtail those two wires. I would be happy to explain how that works, and make a quick sketch for you, if necessary.

Customer: Ok that's what I was afraid of. So what do I need to do to put a new wall switch in?
Jason :

Do you have any extra wire laying around?

Customer: No
Jason :

OK, there is another way, though it's not my favorite.

Jason :

How long are the two wires that need to be connected to the same point on the switch?

Customer: I can get new wire from a store tonight if that's the bettor/safer thing to do!
Customer: About 5 inches long
Jason :

It's not an absolute must that you pick up some new wire. Safety wise, there is no difference.

Jason :

Do you have wire strippers and a sharp knife?

Customer: Yes to both
Jason :

Great. How about wire nuts?

Customer: I have wire nuts but am not sure if they are the right size. How do I know?
Jason :

You only need one. A yellow would work, if you have one.

Customer: Yes I have a yellow one
Jason :

OK, let me make you a quick sketch. Will you be standing by?

Customer: Yep!
Jason :

Very good. Starting on it now...

Customer: This will all be ok with code, right? Am I going to create a problem down the line if I put a 12 gauge wire (I think that's what it is) in a box that says 14 gauge on it?
Jason :

It will meet Code, no problems. I'm not sure I understand the second part of your last question. I don't think I've ever seen a box that's limited to #14 wire. Here's the drawing...

Customer: To clarify, I am taking 1 of the wires and stripping it bare to put around the screw terminal a little bit before the end of it and then hooking the end of that wire up via wire but to the second wire?
Jason :

Yes. Sorry the drawing is a bit rough looking.

Customer: Ok will try that. Thanks for your help!
Jason :

You are most welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer: Nope, except wish me luck!
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