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I have a 4 light switch set up that I need to replace 1 switch.

The switch needs a neutral...
I have a 4 light switch set up that I need to replace 1 switch. The switch needs a neutral cable but all the other switches do not use a neutral, so that are all stuffed inside the box. Can I use any neutral or does it need to be the one for the switch im changing?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
8/16/2013
Rick
Rick, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience: 10 yrs as a electrician. Have my own company.
Verified

Sparky :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm here to answer any of your electrical questions.

Customer:

thanks

Sparky :

I would be careful. You Just because a wire is white does not mean it is a neutral. Normally all of the neutrals are connected together in the box. Can you upload a pic?

Customer:

yes.... need a min

Sparky :

No problem. I'll be here.

Customer:

Full Size Image

Customer:

it's the switch on the right i need to change

Sparky :

Be right with you

Customer:

ok

Sparky :

Looks like a bowl of spaghetti. I can't even tell which wires are white. Are the wires in the green wire nut the white wires?

Customer:

the wirenuts are red. the only green wire is going into a fan switch that was added and not the original switches. all the other switches have a ground and a black wire. the mess behind the black look to be white wires

Sparky :

What kind of switch is it and what kind of bulb are you controlling?

Customer:

I am changing out an exterior light switch with a new web controlled switch that is wireless. The instructions say I must use the neutral

Customer:

it's a belkin wemo wall switch

Sparky :

If I was in your shoes what I would do is make sure the power is off to everything in that box, pull all the switches and wires out. Add a pig tail to the bunch of whites that are bundled together and use that as your neutral. This way you can organize the wires in the box better at the same time

Customer:

ok. pig tail?

Sparky :

Sorry, a pig tail is when you take a piece of wire (in your case a white wire) about 8" long and connect it to the rest of the wires under 1 wire nut.

Customer:

it's a new home so I would think they are white neutral cables. So I am guessing that each switch should have it's own white cable

Sparky :

Yes each should have it's own whire cable, but they all get connected together. If you take the one going to the switch off of the rest of them, you will not get the voltage that you need going to the light it controls.

Sparky :

This is why I was suggesting a pig tail a pig tail is when you take a piece of wire (in your case a white wire) about 8" long and connect it to the rest of the wires under 1 wire nut.

Customer:

ok... ill try that

Customer:

thanks

Sparky :

No problem. Please rate my service

Rick
Rick, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience: 10 yrs as a electrician. Have my own company.
Verified
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