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I have an existing single pole switch that works a basement…

Customer Question
I have an existing...

I have an existing single pole switch that works a basement light. I’d like ya add another single pole switch to a light at the top of the steps. I have the existing black, white, and ground, and ran new black, white, ground to the new fixture. In the switch box I have two single pole switches. Help... How do I wire this?

Contractor's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?

Been working on it all day. Connected it once and when I turned the power back on, the new stair light came on and the basement was off. Flipping the switches made the basement on and the stair off

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

Yes

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

Everything is run , it’s just the wiring of the single pole switches

Contractor's Assistant: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?

House was built in ‘84, not contacted an electrician. I’ve done wiring before and am confident, I’ve just done some wrong

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
11/18/2017
Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago
Sam I
Sam I, Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience: Maintenance Electrician, Electrical Contractor, Locomotive Electrician
Verified

Hello, it sounds like your existing switch got it's power from the existing light fixture box. So, if you're trying to tap power from the switch box to the new light it won't work for you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The existing switch had black on the bottom and white on top. Any way to make it work?
Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

Not in your current set up. You would need to run a new wire from your old light to the switch box. Right now the white from the old light is a power switch leg and won't work to provide a complete circuit for your new light

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
need to run new power to the new switch from somewhere?
Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

Yes you could do that too

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
What if I pigtail splice the wires before the existing switch and run the pigtails to the existing and new switch?
Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

no, pig-tailing your existing wires won't do anything to get you a neutral wire from the power supply to the new light

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Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

You would need a 12/3 cable from the existing light fixture to the switch box

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I have some 12/3, black, white, red and ground, how would I connect this
Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

Take down the old light. Remove old 12/2 from light to switch. Run 12/3 and connect all white together (including light fixture white). Connect Black from house wiring to black in new 12/3. Connect red from new 12/3 to light fixture black

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Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

Then at switch box, connect black to a terminal on both switches. The red will go to the remaining terminal on the old switch. The whites will be wire nutted together and the black to the new light goes on the remaining switch terminal of the new switch. Connect all grounds together and to each switch - and the box if it is metal.

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Electrician: Sam I, Electrician replied 8 months ago

If that answers your question, please don't forget to give me a rating from 3 to 5 stars so I can get credit for answering. Let me know if you need any more help. Thanks and good luck!

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