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How to install a time switch


Step 1. First shut off the power to the switch. Remove the decorative coverplate from the switch by unscrewing the two screws that hold the plate to the switch box. Set the screws and the plate aside.

 

Step 2. Use a voltage sensor to make sure the circuit is dead. Hold your voltage sensor’s probe within ½” of the wires on either side of the switch. If the sensor beeps or lights up, then the switch is still live, and you’ll need to trip the correct breaker to disconnect power to the switch. If the sensor does not beep or light up, the circuit is dead and you’re safe to continue.

 

Step 3. Remove the switch from the box by unscrewing the two long screws that hold the switch to the box at the top and at the bottom. Once the screws are out, hold the top and bottom of the switch, and carefully pull the switch away from the box.

 

Step 5. The timer will have two black wires, called leads, coming out of the timer’s plastic body The leads, like the two black wires coming out of the wall, are interchangeable, so you can’t mix them up. Place the stripped end of one of the black leads and the end of one of the existing black wires into a wire connector (the dimmer will come with twist-on wire connectors). Twist the wire connector clockwise until it is tight. Hold the wires and tug gently on the connector to ensure that it is fight. Connect the other lead to the other wire from the wall in the same way.

 

Step 4. Remove the switch completely by unscrewing the screws that hold the two wires to the switch. In most cases, there will also be two white wires connected with a wire connector in the box. You won’t have to deal with these in your installation.

 

Step 6. Once the wires are firmly connected, you can attach the switch to the box. Tuck the new timer switch and wires neatly back into the box. Then drive the two long screws that are attached to the new switch into the two holes in the electrical box. These screws are typically long, so an electric screwdriver is handy Pull the dial off the timer so the coverplate will fit over it. Reattach the coverplate and push the dial back onto the timer stem. Then, turn the power back on at the main panel and test the switch.

 

WHAT IF...?

  What if there’s a light switch right next to the fan switch?

This is a common arrangement. You might even find a group of three switches together. Behind the single coverplate, you’ll find one large electrical box, called a “double-gang” box if there are two switches, that contains all the connections, This won’t affect your installation except in one way: the coverplate. The coverplate that comes with your timer will be for a single switch. You’ll need to buy a double-gang coverplate with a cutout for your timer (a small hole in the center) and one for a standard light switch.
 

 

 

 

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